Ujuonu Nwizu: ' Be willing and able to forgive yourself when necessary.'

April 19, 2017

Ujuonu Nwizu

Africana Studies

Manhattan, NY

What accomplishments/activities are you most proud of while at Cornell?

Last year, I started an organization with one of my best friends called the Pre-Med Minority Mentorship program. We came in through the Pre-freshman Summer Program as pre-med students, but as the years passed, our cohort began to decrease. A lot of students found other passions and interests or realized what a career in medicine really looked like. However, I believe some students left the track because of negative experiences within rigorous science classes accompanied by the lack of a supportive network. Reflecting on our experiences as pre-meds, we decided to create the program to assist future Cornell minority pre-meds by providing peer mentorship, informative programs and resources. It's been an amazing experience and our team has done a tremendous job in making what started as an idea between two friends into a fully functioning program.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?

Being an Africana studies major has challenged me to engage with my racial and ethnic identity in a way that I had never done before. The beauty of the major is its interdisciplinary nature. I've taken classes in sociology, gender studies, literature, history, and government within one major. I've engaged with the many facets of blackness from a local, national and global level. Additionally, the program has taught me how to critically read, think and write when analyzing issues. It pushed me to speak despite any present fear or shyness. I found my voice in this program.

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?

Love yourself unconditionally. Be willing and able to forgive yourself when neccesary. You may have encountered some roadblocks or made some mistakes. It happens. You still deserve a full and rewarding thereafter. We can be so hard on ourselves sometimes that we forget that life is not a destination but a journey. It does not stop with a single mishap, rejection or failure. Just try your best, learn as you go and take care of yourself.

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