Chisom’s Story

Chisom Nnadi
Class of 2015
Major: Biology

My father’s death from pancreatic cancer motivated me to study biology.. He died when I was a very young boy. My father’s death crippled my family, but it also unleashed my passion for science and medicine as immeasurable in me as the universe itself. The emotional pain was unbearable, so at a young age I wanted to make a difference. I reasoned that since I could not bring dad back to life, I must prevent other children from losing their loved ones and feeling the pain that I felt. I decided that I would be a doctor and enlist myself in the war against diseases. I aspire to join the many, who quest to find better treatments or cures for illnesses that are difficult to treat and cure. Because of this I became focused and persistent on my goal.

achievement-703442_640In high school, my admission process into the University at Albany tested my ambition. I was so determined that after applying and getting wait-listed by Albany, I organized countless meetings in which my coach, teacher, and principal attended. After briefing them on my circumstances, I asked them to continuously contact Mr. Andrea, the dean of undergraduate admissions. Finally, after copious emails and voicemails I got an interview. It seems as if many forces were against me the morning of my interview as the bus to Albany left early, so I missed my initial interview. Not deterred, I hitched a ride with a friend. During the interview, I revealed how I managed many responsibilities in high school such as playing caretaker for my kindergarten-age sister after school, I worked full time to save for college, I excelled in classes, and I played basketball. Mr. Andrea said “You have potential. Here is your letter of acceptance.” These experiences demonstrate that I overcame adversity and remained committed and determined, because I have such an eternal desire to study biology and practice medicine, and compliment that desire with multiple relentless efforts.

As a biology major many of my classes are held in large lecture centers that have close to one hundred students or more. Some students have difficulty learning in large class sizes. When I struggled with concepts, I first reflected on these questions:

  1. Have I been going to class and taking good notes?Lecture Centers
  2. Have I critically read the textbooks?
  3. Have I looked up the subject matter on google or youtube?
  4. Have I been to office hours?
  5. Have I tried studying with a fellow diligent student?
  6. Have I tried tutoring? (CSTEP, EOP, review sessions, etc)

 Once I addressed these questions and took action on any deficiencies, I found myself succeeding. I encourage anybody who is struggling academically to do the same.

When I was a freshman, I wanted to get involved at the university. I applied to be a Resident Assistant. Once I got the position, I became a walking resource for my fellow students. I felt more complete as a well-rounded student because I loved helping people.  I would give advice to fellow students; direct them to appropriate resources when needed, host effective programs (large scale events with a specific learning outcome) and much more. Five Quad ambulance service also furthered my comfort at the university as I refined my interest in helping people medically by joining the organization as an EMS provider. Overall my involvement in organizations that had people with similar interest as me was beneficial and made me feel more comfortable. I believe all students should know that there are numerous ways to get involved on campus as well as succeed academically. If they are looking for these pathways then they should talk to their Resident assistant or academic advisor for advice and directions on where and how to find these pathways.

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