Chibuokem “Buo” Ikwuazom
Class of 2017
Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Growing up, I have always had a profound love for science that slowly blossomed into Ideaan aspiration of going into the medical field and becoming a neurosurgeon. My origin of interest in sciences dates back to my childhood when I began watching an all-time favorite show of mine, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, about a boy genius who used his intelligence to create many inventions and innovate many ideas that comes up in his head. He would create something so magnificent that seems like a good idea but ends up putting him in a quagmire only to use his gifted intellect to rectify his problems. As I watched this young boy use science to such an extent for fun and to help people, I became inspired. At that moment, I knew I wanted to be great – I still do. It’s a childish aspiration, but it’s my ambition.

As I grew older, I became more aware of the different areas of science. While taking different science courses through junior high and high school, my love for science expounded and grew. I realized how everything tied together from biology to chemistry to physics – everything just seemed to coexist in perfect unison and it made sense for the most part.


As a sophomore in North Babylon High School, I volunteered at the Brain Injury Unit (BIU) at the Southside Hospital in Bayshore, NY. Volunteering at BIU exposed me to a wild variety of neurological disorders and syndromes and evoked in me a vision, a new ambition, to become a neurosurgeon. As I volunteered at the BIU, I experience many things that may shock some people but only gave me drive to go into the medical field. I wanted to know why some patients are not able to respond to certain brain stimuli or how to stimulate certain parts of the central or peripheral nervous system to ascertain the solutions to what is occurring with the patient. Studying and ascertaining what the conundrums are, is one thing but operating is another. Growing up, I have always be very fond of using my hands to fix many things around the house. I envisioned my future to be something that is very hands-on and engaging to me. My love for science as a young child and the different experiences I have had volunteering at the Brain Injury Unit at Southside Hospital has definitely cultivated an innate ambition inside me to purse the field of medicinal as I aspire to become a neurosurgeon.

DSC_0008I wanted better for myself, for my future. I did not want to fail and be defeated. So I had two options. Let myself be beat down or get up and work even harder than ever to become successful. I have always abhorred when people referred to me as smart or intellectual albeit a compliment. I rather be proclaimed hard worker because I know that has gotten me where I am today. I also knew of my rigorous work ethic. I have composed and developed a work ethic that is difficult to rival. The late nights, the early mornings and the sleepless days have molded me into what I am today. I wanted to be successful that badly. I refused to allow my weakness to overcome me but instead worked harder to overcome them.


When someone is struggling in their effort to reach their goals, I usually offer two suggestions:  Re-organize your life and  assess how much you want it. I am a strong believer in organization and it has surely helped me towards being successful. You need to organize every aspect of your life, not just cleaning your room or making sure you take good notes. No. I am speaking of a stricter re-organization. You need to make sure your life is in order. There are too many distractions, too many problems college students face day by day that limits your ability to succeed. You need to make sure your personal life is in order or at least have some control over it to ensure that it does not interfere with your future successes. Order is very important. With maintenance of your personal and academic order can everything flow the way you want it to and success can be achieved.

Another important advice is that you have to want it – you have to want it BAD! One of my favorite quotes or statements about success says it all “to succeed, you need to couple an indefatigable work ethic with a voracious ambition.” I believe this quote embodies who I am today and I must share it with the rest of you to come. So hold on to your dreams, goals, aspirations and work towards it as bad as you want it with a work ethic second to none and an ambition close to no other!

“A very important resource and individual that have been part of my success has to be my first year academic advisor, Michael Geroux from the Advisement Services Center.”

A very important resource and individual that have been part of my success has to be my first year academic advisor, Michael Geroux from the Advisement Services Center. To say the man is a great mentor and advisor is an understatement. During my freshman year, I would visit Mike at least 2-3 times a week just to get his thoughts on certain ideas or things that I am planning on doing. He would always give me his thought on it and provide me a bigger picture into everything I do. Some of those days would just be me popping in just to say hello. But, that is the kind of environment Mike and I cultivated among each other that surpasses the role of advisor and student. He is extremely welcoming to students around him and gives you the best advisor for you. Even now, as an upperclassmen, I still go to see Mike for his thoughts and opinions. I believe there are more Mikes in the Advisement Services Center. It is imperative that each student try to cultivate some form of relationship between their advisors because it truly benefits you. They have been there and seen most of the things you may or are going and will provide you with the best advisor possible.

learn-528391_640Another resource I would say are the study lounges around each quads, specifically, State Quad. Those study lounges were designed to allow efficient studying and classwork for students. It is very important that you find a place that allows you to maximize and optimize your time in studying and doing any kind of work. The libraries around campus, the Dewey Library, the Science Library and the University Library, are other great resources that allows you to escape the hectic environment around campus and focus your mind on accomplishing your school work. But, I, especially, found those study lounges to be a very efficient place to work.

If you are a New Dane, I would encourage you to remember your future! I believe all undergraduate students should know and take this with them throughout their college experience. You should remember and hold tight to your future. I am sure everyone has been told to live for the present which is very important as well. But, not enough people are being reminded of their future as though it may not happen. As important as the present is, so is our undetermined future. So remember your future as you live through your present, taking solace that the future will be bright because you thought about and remembered it.

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Established in March 2015, Project MyStory is a community building effort to help students better acclimate to UAlbany and to work more effectively toward their goals. We began in UAlbany’s Academic Support Center (ASC), where you will see many of the posters featured above. We are now co-housed in ASC and in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy (CIEGS).

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