"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."
Evelyn Uba migrated to the United States from Nigeria in 1983 with a dream of one day finishing law school and becoming a lawyer. Now, almost 40 later, the determined mother-of-four has finally realized that dream. The Californian's joy and pride at having passed her state's bar exam after nearly a decade of hard work and dedication recently went viral on social media when her daughter posted a video of her celebrating the long-awaited achievement. The video — which has been viewed over 396k times on Twitter alone — shows an elated Uba dancing with joy at finally having completed her long and winding journey to this milestone.
my mom finished law school in 2011 and has been studying for the california BAR exam while raising 4 kids & working full time for the past 10 years. today? SHE PASSED THE BAR!!!!! 🥺🥺🥺— naeche (@srrytothisman) January 9, 2021
THAT’S ESQUIRE NOW! pic.twitter.com/GHj8SiqkOP
Uba's story of perseverance began at the age of 18 when she left her home of Igboland, Nigeria, to start her college journey in America. Having always known that she wanted to become an attorney, she was determined not to let anything get in her way. However, upon reaching the US, her family was faced with several financial difficulties when her father suffered a stroke soon after their arrival. Then came marriage and four children. But Uba's dream was still alive and after a two-decade pause, she resumed studying law at California Southern Law School in 2005.
my little sister made the cutest tik tok so i’m sharing that too 🥺 pic.twitter.com/FfA0MD9wQI— naeche (@srrytothisman) January 9, 2021
"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." After graduating in 2011, Uba began her mission to fulfill the promise she made to her father years before he passed away: to pass the bar exam. However, between working full time and raising four children, it took her several tries to clear the exam. She would take the test time after time — sometimes coming close to the passing score — only to find herself disappointed after reviewing the online results.
my year is really MADE. anyone who’s met my mom knows what a powerhouse she is. she deserves everything and more. i’m so proud 😭— naeche (@srrytothisman) January 9, 2021
"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." Whereas others would've lost hope and pursued a different dream, with each disappointing result, Uba became even more determined to study harder for the next time. Almost every night, she would come home from work as a welfare professional, open up her textbooks, and study straight into the late-night hours. Even though she had to miss out on several events in her family's lives, her loved ones continued to motivate her along the way.
"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. She took the exam again in October last year and on January 8, 2021, opened her results as she did countless times before. Then came the news she'd been waiting for all these years: She passed.
"I started jumping up and down," Uba said. "I had so many reasons to give up but I knew I just had to keep pushing. I felt so relieved." Her daughter, Naeche Vincent, joined the celebration via FaceTime all the way from New York City. "I felt a huge weight lifted off all of our shoulders," said Vincent. "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 as a licensed attorney, Uba plans to work within criminal defense to help give a voice to low-income individuals in marginalized communities. "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."