FSC Senior Loves Life on the Run
Kenyan native Carolyne Kwambai is a girl on the run.
The senior nursing major at Florida Southern takes a full load of classes, works in the campus cybercafé, tutors other students in chemistry, and is a star on the College's cross country and track teams. Even over the summer "break," she took summer classes, ran 8 to 12 miles before breakfast every day, and began studying for her graduate school entrance exams.
Carolyne says she just wants to make every minute count. "I see America as the land of opportunity," she says. "A lot of people don't take advantage of the opportunity they have. You can get an education here – and for free, if you work at it. In Kenya, there are so few schools where you can study medicine, and there are no scholarships."
Carolyne – who notes that she would much rather run than walk because walking takes too long – is too modest. She runs fast – placing second, third, and second in her three Sunshine State Conference cross country championship appearances.
Her involvement in cross country helped her make the transition to life in the United States. She found many good friends on the team, and her coach introduced her to some of the College's support systems, such as the International Student Association and "tutor tables." Carolyne said the biggest adjustment she had to make was listening to and speaking in English. In Kenya, she had studied written English, but she and her classmates did not speak it. "It took me about three weeks to understand what people were saying," she says, laughing.
Now she speaks impeccable English and has gotten to know professors who challenge her to develop critical thinking skills and cheer her on when she has a problem.
"In Kenya, they test you to fail, because there are so few spots available in the universities. Here, the teachers want you to succeed. They want to see you graduate."