Nicole Nation - Immaculately wearing her robe of honour
Quite often, we've heard elders say, "One's attitude will determine his or her altitude". This is indisputable. Your place in society is not always determined by where you come from, the wealth you have or don't have, or what others can do for you. In fact, these factors may act as hindrances in your quest for victory. Instead, your unrelenting will power, fierce courage, and unwavering belief in yourself, will take you across the plains, over the mountains, and through the deepest water.
This is what Dr Nicole Nation has proven, as she triumphantly rose out of Norwood to wear her robe of honour, at the University of the West Indies and the Spanish Town Hospital in St Catherine.
Nation grew up in Norwood, in Montego Bay, an area known for its high crime rate and violence. Many might find this a deterrent for success, but for Nation, it was what pushed her to succeed and accomplish her dreams.
"The violence was always there, but that is just one aspect, and every so often, you would see where the gun had taken the life of another member of the community. But, in the lane where I grew up, everybody knew each other and so there was always a family feeling to it. I mean my family would share fruits with another family," Nation recalls.
Her life was characterised by numerous challenges, including financial insecurity. Her parents were not wealthy, however, this did not hinder Nation's victories. She attended Mount Alvernia High School, where she was successful in nine subjects, all in grade ones in the Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (CSEC). Nation was also placed first in the island for religious education and third for mathematics.
Her next motive was to ace her Caribbean advanced Proficiency Examinations, which she did at the Montego Bay Community College. She sat eight units, and gained them all in grade ones. After college, she went on to the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, where she spent five years completing a bachelor's degree in medicine and surgery. She graduated with honours in 2016.
Vibing Medical Doctor
Encouraged and nurtured by her high school science teacher to enter the medical field arena, Dr Nation now adores every moment she spends impacting the lives of her patients.
"The best part about being a medical doctor, is being able to interact with people. Whether the patient is a baby, pregnant, or elderly, it's the face-to-face interactions that I like. Sometimes when I 'vibe' with my patients, it creates an environment where they can be completely honest and that puts me in a better position to help them," Dr Nation told Flair.
The 25-year-old is also an author. She has written three books, One Year later and My Head is Still Above Water, Grit, A Graduate's Guide to Surviving The Real World Past Graduation, and You is for University. The latter is the most famous of all three. Through her writing, she aims to inspire youths to approach tertiary education with enthusiasm, and ultimately excel in ways they have never imagined.
Nation the Influencer
"In another life, I would be a teacher. I like to impact lives, especially young people. When you are a teenager, your life is able to be moulded, and I like when people can turn their lives around and make a total 180. No matter what, I want to be able to influence people," she explained.
She is a PATH youth ambassador working to eliminate the stigma and discrimination that surrounds the programme and its beneficiaries. Nation is also Jamaica's only female Queen's Young Leader. In 2015, she journeyed to the Buckingham Palace to receive this award from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Singing her own praises, she prides herself on being one who has experienced the transformational power of education. As such, she has this advice for every youth.
"Now is the best time to be young, because you have so many resources at your disposal. Be open to the endless possibilities that are out there. Education will definitely play an integral role to ensure that you are prepared to grasp the opportunities which come your way," Nation adjures.