Studying film production for every woman and every African to keep on dreaming

In the little rural town in Lagos, Nigeria where I grew up, children had to create their own entertainment. After school, they would gather together to play sing-a-long games and create frenzied contests. I was the child who preferred to sit alone in a corner, engrossed in a storybook. The fables about Mr. Tortoise and his near fatal fall from heaven or how he challenged the hare to a marathon; these were the tales that whetted my imagination. I would make up my own stories: about an old woman’s lonely tooth, or Okon’s bicycle tires that quarreled and refused to move in the same direction.

I was drawn to the western sitcom reruns on our tiny black and white TV. I was intrigued by the unusual people I saw, and the strange things they talked about. To me, they belonged in a far, far away reality, one that felt utterly inaccessible. And then one day, a new program came on: Tales by Moonlight. It dramatized my favorite folktales; this time, however, the people looked and spoke like me. Suddenly, the stories that were confined to the pages of my book came magically alive. I knew, instinctively, that this was what I would do for the rest of my life.

Holding tightly to this dream, I worked hard enough to eventually receive a full scholarship to an American university. It was one of the happiest days of my life. It was proof that there was nothing I couldn’t achieve. Being a female child from a community like mine, however, meant that such a golden opportunity came with hefty expectations. My father said to me, “Now it is time to do something useful with your life, and forget all that childish daydreaming”.

I soon realized that every international student in my school was reading about Medicine or Engineering. Careers in the Arts were considered irresponsible. But, against the wishes of my family, I became the first international student I knew to choose a major in film. Staying true to this dream has been intensely challenging. There have been times—when looking for another couch to spend the night on or struggling to raise the money to survive—I have wondered if it was worth it. Were the naysayers right, after all?

The answer to that question came about a month ago when I received admission into the best film program in the country. I am in complete disbelief that a little girl from an unknown town in Africa gets the chance to study in the same institution that produced filmmaking giants like Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas. It is more than a dream come true; it is a story for every woman, every African: truly, if you can dream it, you can achieve it. Receiving this scholarship will bring me closer to fulfilling this dream, this unfolding tale that has the potential to ignite a fire in the heart of every dreamer; it is a fire that no obstacle or adversity can quench.

We are proud to announce Tracy Egbas is one of the current JustJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘heart’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process

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  • Lawumi Funlola

    I remember not knowing what to think when you were in our apt and sharing your dream. And then I saw your short film and thought WOW!, she is committed. I see you Shining brighter than a diamond. Stay true because #youarelikealightthatcantbehid.

  • Mis Omasan Onwaeze

    Tracy is a hard worker and a trail blazer. She’s creating a pathway for African women so our children don’t have to be confined to just Medicine, Law, & Engineering… Personally I’ve had the opportunity to see her produce short filns from start to finish. Her passion, focus, creativity… It’s undeniable she was born to do this. Tracy Egbas, you have my full support!!!!!!!

  • disqus_gySdkUTQC0

    Tracy deserves this and more !!!

  • Flo’Rence Awolaja

    I don’t know you but I support an African sister . WaY to go!!!

  • Sammy Mudede

    Your passion, courage and tenacity are admirable and you will undoubtably be rewarded for it Tracy! Go get em, we’re all rooting for you 🙂

  • Faya

    Great Story Tracy. Proud of your Achievements thus far. I see you producing Billion $ Box Office Hits. Your dreams are close to being reality dear.

  • Mosun Oduwole

    Way to go Tracy! This was a great read, best of luck with your future endeavors!

  • Ibiba chidi

    Tracy is a passionate dreamer who works hard to make her dreams realities. I am sure she will make not only her family and friends proud but also justjobs proud. I unreservedly support her scholarship application.

  • Furay Unukpo

    What an Amazing story Tracy. I can’t wait to see you dominate the film industry; I know you will someday! Keep dreaming it, and you’ll definitely achieve it!

  • Anycia Grady

    I’m am praying for your success fellow Fiskite❤ keep pursuing that dream which is now a life goal because it is in fact attainable!

  • Ravin Holcombe

    I remember it was just you and I sitting in your room in Jub talking about whether you should keep taking computer science or pursue your interest in film. You were so torn! I told you to do what you loved and it would all work out. And here you are. Girl I’m so doggone proud of you you got this

  • Madam YHP

    We are with you.
    We hope you get this.

  • arit oku

    Mmmm…Tracy you are so very special and a role model in many ways and it gives me the utmost pleasure to write this recommendation. You are one of the most hardworking, focused and disciplined persons I know and I have watched your journey over the years and the passion and energy with which you have approached writing, story-telling and filmmaking and indeed I marvel at how far you’ve gone. Like I always tell you, you are that threshing instrument that the Bible cites in Isaiah; mowing down and levelling obstacles and mountains and walking over challenges. Frankly, nobody deserves this prize more than you do. Keep going strong, girl…determinedly…reaching for your dreams…your are getting pretty close.

  • Ruke Asagba

    Tracy deserves this!!! I’m so proud of how far she has come. The hurdles mentioned in her essay are only a snippet of what she has had to deal with to get this far. Go girl!! You are going to make history!!!

  • Sabrina Catlett

    Yeeeeeeeees Tracy! I know you will be amazing! Love you girl!

  • Taiwo Bibi

    I can’t wait to see Tracy’s stories told imaginatively.

  • Ashli-Ann Douglas

    “This unfolding tale that has the potential to ignite a fire in the heart of every dreamer; it is a fire that no obstacle or adversity can quench.” Love it!!

  • Vera Faluade

    Tracy’s level of determination is one that I wish more people had. It is very rare! I am super proud of you Tracy. Despite the odds and the challenges, you never gave up. I am very confident that the sponsors will always be glad they chose you as the winner! Rooting for you all the way.

  • Lanre Obadina

    Tracy deserves this! Her courage is encouraging!

  • AnneB

    Tracy and I met in school last year, we liked to hang out before classes and talk about storytelling, American culture, philosophy… there isn’t a topic this woman can’t talk about! Tracy is smart, hard working and always in a good mood! She’s one of the most talented person I’ve met. If the world needs more people with an original voice, it certainly does need some one like Tracy !

  • LaTanya Braxton

    This young woman is a rockstar. She has followed her dream. Jumping over many hurdles. This scholarship can be a significant step in her journey. #teamtracy

  • Cindy Quartier

    Tracy can do anything she puts her mind to, and she never lets go of her dreams… She is a hard-working, persevering, focused person who sees challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.

  • Peace

    I’ve known Tracy since 2001 and I can assuredly say that when she puts her heart to something, she doesn’t give up till she succeeds.

    I don’t doubt that she deserves this.
    Go girl

  • AutumnicBomb_ (2681-0975-6634)

    I don’t know anyone who deserves this more than Tracy! She is one of the most hardworking humans I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and she is so excellent at everything she does!

  • Desayo Ajisegiri

    Completely unstoppable! Oscar Material, most determined film maker I know!

    You have my relentless support!