Abdukadir Magezi Shuraim had a challenging introduction to life in the United States. He arrived from Uganda in January 2020 with limited English skills, and immediately became a student at Syracuse's Nottingham High School. Two months later, school doors closed and classes became virtual due to decisions made related to COVID-19. He would receive his high school diploma in 2021 and enroll at Onondaga Community College that fall. "Coming to college for the first year was really my first time reacting with people in-person. I kept quiet the whole time. I didn't know how I would sound to someone."
Shuraim attended OCC for one year as a Computer Science major, then decided to take a year off. He knew he needed to improve his English and figured out a unique way to do so. "A friend of mine was working retail and said she didn't like the job because people talked too much. I thought retail could help me with my English so I got a job at Macy's. Manager's put me in places where I would speak with customers and it helped!"
During his year away from school he also realized he had tried to do too much on his own. He was surrounded by people willing to help him, but didn't know it. He also admitted to himself he wanted to pursue a health-related career, but a bad experience with a biology class in Uganda had soured him on the idea.
When he decided to return for the fall 2023 semester, he did so in the Health Studies Certificate program where he would work on his Nursing prerequisites. He built relationships with his professors and took advantage of free tutoring offered on campus at the Learning Center. "I realized if I didn't know something, there would be someone who did. And if they were willing to teach me, that was a plus for me."
College is going much better for Shuraim the second time around. He's taking classes full-time, working part-time at Amazon, is on the path to becoming an American citizen, and is proud of what he has learned about himself. "If you love your personal history, you will understand your future. My first year here was part of my history and shaped where I am right now. I'm glad I went through it and learned from it."