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Heart, hope, and hard work help immigrant beat the odds at Stark State College

'Sleeping comes after you die,' he says.
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Posted at 6:51 PM, Jan 12, 2022

AKRON, Ohio — In life, there are those moments where you feel like the cards are stacked against you and the hill to overcome challenges is just too steep to climb.

A 47-year-old Akron man is sharing his story of finding the strength and courage to follow his dreams, and it may just inspire you to keep moving forward.

When Francis Otu decided to follow his heart and passion to help people, there were a number of things that could have easily derailed his plans to become a nurse.

"Not going to be easy, but hey, I'll fight a good fight," said Otu.

The father of three hadn't been in a classroom since high school, he is an immigrant from Africa, and faced a huge financial undertaking.

“That did not discourage me from going to school," said Otu.

While at times the pressure came close to breaking him, Otu found a way.

"I've always strived myself to be the kind of person I want to be," he said.

For the last two years, Otu has worked two full-time jobs — one job after classes during the day, the other overnights.

"Sleeping comes after you die," said Otu. "I don't sleep. My sleeping is only on the weekends. That was my cycle every day for two years."

While studying, Otu would often stick his feet in buckets of ice water to stay awake.

"A long, long journey for me. Painful journey," said Otu.

All that hard work and dedication recently paid off.

Otu just graduated from Stark State with his Associate of Science Degree.

He is now headed to Kent State to get his bachelor’s in nursing.

"So, after my bachelor's, I'm going back to school for my master's," said Otu.

In those moments where Otu was both physically and mentally pushed to his breaking point, he clutched the cross that's always around his neck.

"That is my faith. I know Christ, with Christ, all things are possible. I made it," said Otu.