K.P. - Representation in Health Care

L.A. African: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? 

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K.P. : My name is Kwaku, and I am from Ghana, West Africa. My hometown is Franklin, New Jersey.

It was not until my college years that I started to view my African roots as something significant or remarkable. Throughout my younger years, I was often on the receiving end of many jokes that revolved around my nationality. Although some of these years were tough and slightly discouraging, I must say that the experiences I faced molded me into a stronger person with tougher skin.

I have noticed that over the years, there has been a contrast in the way Africans are looked at. In general, we are glorified for our lifestyles, culture, and uniqueness. Transitioning into high school and then into college, I was no longer the pit of jokes; but rather the confident individual that I was made to be.

I'm currently in the medical field studying to be a nurse practitioner. No one necessarily fostered my dreams, but the underrepresentation amongst African-Americans in the healthcare industry is a big part of what made me want to pursue it. I also take pride in the idea of standing for something rather than assimilating and doing something I would end up dreading.

L.A. African: What have been some challenges you've faced on your journey towards becoming a Nurse Practitioner? What did you do to overcome them?

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K.P.: On this journey, the biggest challenge has been to stay clear of distractions. When you're alone with no supervision or guidance, it is easy to fall into traps that can remove you off of your purpose. I practice self discipline and make sure that I am constantly surrounded by powerful and focused friends. I've had the same clique since middle school! Prayer has also been a big part in keeping me focused.

L.A. African: What currently keeps you motivated? 

K.P.: My close friends who are pretty much my brothers— Dakari and Huascar are their names. They're probably the most focused people I know. I have watched them take the time to study themselves and our lifestyles align with each other. God and my family also keep me motivated. I have a fear of not being satisfied with my life. Self improvement keeps me going. What is the point of living if you're not trying to be the best version of yourself? There are many things I want to achieve in life, and being complacent won't get me there!

L.A. African: Is there any advice that you would like to lend to individuals looking to get into the health care industry?

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K.P.: If you're looking to go into the medical field, don't start if you're not serious. There are many sleepless nights and times where you contemplate if you even want to do it anymore. Be honest with yourself, do you have genuine reasons for wanting to go in or are you doing it for the money?

L.A. African: If we gave you $50,000 and said you had to do something with it in the next 24 hours, what is the first thing you would buy/do and why? (CANNOT INVEST)

K.P.: I'd pay the rest of my tuition off and get myself out of debt. Being free isn't necessarily free until you're financially free.


Keep up with K.P. on social media at @afrricano