"I had so many reasons to give up but I knew I just had to keep pushing. I felt so relieved," she said after she passed her exam.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on February 11, 2022. It has since been updated.
The quote by Maya Angelou, "All great achievements require time," rings true in many life situations, especially when long pending dreams come true.
When Evelyn Uba first migrated to the United States from Nigeria in 1983, she came with a big dream; one day she wanted to finish law school and become a lawyer. After she became one, a video of her celebrating her results shared by her daughter went viral on Twitter because she failed several times but still didn’t give up on her dream.
Uba moved to America with her dream when she was 18. Soon after her father suffered a stroke forcing her to give up on her dream due to financial difficulties. Before his demise, she promised him that one day she would become a lawyer.
She then got married, started a family and became a mom of four. But she continued to dream about becoming a lawyer. Finally, in 2005, she resumed studying law at California Southern Law School. "I never stopped wanting to go to law school," she told Good Morning America. "After my last child turned 2, I went to a school that I could afford that was conducive to being a mom, going to work and making payments."
Uba eventually graduated from school in 2011, and her next mission was to clear the bar exam. Keeping up the promise made to her dying father, she took the test time after time coming close to passing a few times, but not making it. "I took the exam more than ten times," she said. "I stopped counting after a while but giving up certainly wasn't in my dictionary."
With every result, she was determined to study harder for the next time. After returning from work—she was a welfare professional—almost every night she would open her textbooks and go straight to studying into the late-night hours.
Well done to Evelyn Uba for passing her bar exam after studying for 9 years. Just goes to show you should always keep going no matter what. Her children and family will be proud. Go Evelyn! ❤https://t.co/xWzxQV0KBZ— Rupinder K Gill (@RupinderKGill) February 6, 2022
Despite being busy with work and studying with no time to spare, her family constantly encouraged her to not give up.
"My daughter, Naeche, once said to me, 'Mom, if you give up now, you can't get your time back. Then what would you have gained out of all the missed time you could've spent with us?' So that always stuck in my head and I knew the only time I'd give up is when I'm dead," Uba said.
On January 8, 2021, when results for October 2020 were announced, she did not have much hope. But she’d passed! "I started jumping up and down," she said. "I had so many reasons to give up but I knew I just had to keep pushing. I felt so relieved."
In this heartwarming moment, which was captured on video, she was also seen kissing the photo of her late father, whom she promised to make proud. Uba's daughter, Naeche Vincent, who never stopped believing in her, also joined the celebration via FaceTime all the way from New York City.
When Evelyn Uba first migrated to the United States from Nigeria in 1983, she dreamed of one day finishing law school and becoming a lawyer. Working mother of 4 passes bar exam after studying for 9 years #atrueinspiration pic.twitter.com/NqVm9UjccM— Godwin Agaba (@Godwin6Agaba) December 28, 2021
"I felt a huge weight lifted off all of our shoulders," Vincent said. "It was so surreal and I finally feel like my mom can live out her dream and do whatever she wants with this license."
Now a licensed attorney, Uba plans to get started by working within criminal defense to help give a voice to low-income individuals in marginalized communities. She hopes to inspire others to keep pushing even when times get hard and all hope seems to be lost.
"Eventually it's going to happen when God says it'll happen," she said. "It might not be easy but you just have to keep going and never feel sorry for yourself."
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Good Morning America (Working mom of four passes bar exam after years of trying l GMA)