For many students, going to college means packing up belongings and moving to a new city. For Hagir Abdelrahim, it meant leaving her family and home country, Sudan, and moving to a place where she barely spoke the language.
Abdelrahim spent her first year in the United States homesick and depressed, calling her family every day. But one day, she realized a whole new future awaited her, and that getting an education would help her achieve her dreams.
The path forward was not always easy. Abdelrahim had to take two years of intensive English language courses before she could enroll in a medical laboratory technician (MLT) program. She found a job immediately after finishing her two-year degree but knew she still wanted more.
“I can’t see myself doing anything else, and that’s why I decided to go back for more education and get my four-year degree through Winona University,” said Abdelrahim. “It was very hard for me to go back to school, but I told myself there is no other way to make my dream comes true.”
Abdelrahim enrolled in WSU’s clinical laboratory science (CLS) program. She worked nine-hour days as an MLT and was up till midnight or later most evenings, attending online classes and doing homeworking.
“WSU’s online courses allowed for a more flexible schedule. This makes life so much easier, especially for people who have to work fulltime and a family to take care of,” Abdelrahim said. “When I am feeling tired I usually start dreaming about graduation day and how my family will be very happy and proud of me.”
Abdelrahim said WSU’s CLS program director Judith Loewen played a major role in her path to a degree, encouraging her to keep going and complete her degree.
“Dr. Loewen is the most kind teacher ever,” said Abdelrahim. “She makes me feel comfortable in class and answers all the questions I have. I learned a lot from her.”
Abdelrahim believes that nothing is impossible and that hard work will be rewarded.
“Every successful person should have two beliefs: the future can and will be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so,” Abdelrahim said. “After all, I will say it was worth it. I keep getting a lot of A+ from the patients I draw every day, and this is good enough to me.”