Find yourself and find your people.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Sylvester, GS, Neuroscience and Behavior, Accra, Ghana & Chicago, Illinois 

Claim to fame: Verified badge, featured in Columbia and GS news, IIE Guest Speaker, undergrad researcher at Columbia Neurosurgery, Founder and Chapter Head of Letters to Strangers at Columbia, President of Columbia BOLD, Senior Editor of Columbia’s undergraduate neuroscience journal, student council member, winner of numerous awards, member of several honor societies, a model for the gram, an all-rounder, and lover of all things enjoyment. Always ready to lend an ear, share a laugh, or engage in a spirited debate about the Oxford comma. 

Where are you going? First stop: a much-needed hiatus from academia. I’m hitting the snooze button and then hitting the gym to recharge and reset. Next up: embarking on the globe-trotting adventures I daydreamed about while toiling away in the lab, hunting for a cure for brain tumors. Once my wanderlust is satiated, I’ll dive back into the world of research, this time at MIT/Harvard Medical School. Rested and reinvigorated, I’ll be ready to tackle new challenges and continue making a difference.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2027?

Find yourself, define your own path with room for adjustments, and be the author of your own story: Don’t allow anyone else to define who you are or dictate your story. People will inevitably have their own perspectives, but the only story that truly matters is the one you create for yourself. Columbia offers a wealth of opportunities, but it’s up to you to seize them and forge your unique journey. Don’t be afraid to seek help or guidance when you need it. Embrace your passions and interests, and don’t hesitate to venture beyond the well-trodden path.

Find your people and be genuine: Research shows that happiness in college is closely tied to social fitness and the feeling of being surrounded by people who value you. Seek out friends who share your values and interests, and be your authentic self in every interaction. Don’t resort to superficial connections just to avoid being labeled in a certain way. True friendships are built on genuine connections and mutual respect, so focus on forming deep, meaningful relationships with those around you 

Prioritize self-care, read beyond the core curriculum, and continue doing good: These three lessons are essential to living a fulfilling life. Firstly, remember to prioritize self-care, including getting adequate sleep, exercising, and taking breaks when needed. Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally is crucial to your overall well-being and success. Secondly, don’t limit your intellectual growth to the required coursework. Challenge yourself to explore diverse fields and viewpoints by reading beyond the core curriculum. Intellectual curiosity will not only expand your knowledge but also help you to become a well-rounded person. Lastly, continue doing good in the world, whether through volunteering, activism or simply being kind to others. Even when it goes unnoticed, the positive impact you create will ripple through society and inspire others to do good as well. The fulfillment that comes from making a meaningful difference in the world is its own reward. 

“Back in my day…” Back in my day, Covid paid us an unwelcome visit and forced us into virtual classes and online learning. We had to master the art of Zoom calls, which meant perfecting our camera angles to hide the pile of laundry in the background and figuring out how to look presentable from the waist up while wearing pajama pants and fuzzy slippers. We learned to rely on our laptops as our lifelines. People also became experts in muting themselves just in time to take a bite of snacks without the entire class hearing. This phase is titled: The Art of Zoom University. 

Favorite Columbia controversy? Equality for GS 

What was your favorite class at Columbia? Contemporary Arts of Africa by Professor Zoe Strother is an inspiring course that offers a window into the diversity and richness of artistic expressions in different regions of Africa. Students explore the work of contemporary artists, photographers, filmmakers, and writers, and examine their art within the context of social, political, and economic issues in African societies. Through readings, discussions, and hands-on projects, students gain a deeper understanding of African cultures and their impact on global artistic movements. I was also able to interview renowned artists in Africa for my projects. The Contemporary Arts of Africa class is a wonderful example of interdisciplinary and global education. It’s a chance to broaden your perspective and gain a deeper appreciation for the power of art in shaping our understanding of the world. 

The Readings in Medical Humanities section of University Writing with Professor Christopher Williams is also unforgettable. We learned about the intersection of medicine and the humanities, including the ways in which stories and storytelling can inform health care and the patient experience. As someone with a passion for writing and storytelling, I was excited to carve out a project focused on narrative medicine. Through my project, I explored the power of stories in health care and learned about the importance of empathy, communication, and cultural competence in providing effective care. By combining the principles of the humanities with the practices of health care, we gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of illness and the role of healthcare providers in addressing them. 

Health Economics with Prof. Rena Rosenberg is another fascinating class that examines the intersection of economics and health care. The course explores the challenges and opportunities facing healthcare systems, both domestically and internationally, and provides students with the tools to analyze and evaluate health policies and programs. Through case studies, debates, and data analysis, students gain a deeper understanding of the economic factors that shape healthcare decisions and the impact of health policies on individuals and communities. 

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? As a certified cheese enthusiast, a life without brie and camembert is simply unimaginable. 

Whom would you like to thank? My wonderful family for their unwavering support, my incredible friends for the unforgettable memories, and the inspiring professors who fueled my passion for literature. 

One thing to do before graduating: One thing I plan to do before graduating is to reach out to my loved ones and remind them of how much they mean to me. I also want to write to my favorite professors to thank them for their guidance and mentorship during my time at Columbia. By expressing gratitude and appreciation, I hope to strengthen my relationships and create meaningful connections that will last beyond graduation. I want to acknowledge everyone who has been a part of my journey at Columbia, from the administrative staff to the friends who supported me through the ups and downs of college life. 

Any regrets? When I write my memoir in the future, the chapter on my college experience will be titled: “I wish I could go back to college just to sleep a little bit longer.”

Campus via Bwog Archives