For Sheriff Mansaray, ’22, the injustices he witnessed within the healthcare system in his home country of Sierra Leone in West Africa, inspired his dream to become a nurse.
“I wanted to become the change I sought; I wanted to be the solution to the healthcare issues that my community faced,” he said.
Mansaray initially began his academic journey pursuing a certificate in accounting and finance at a community college in his home country. However, his desire to be with his family in the U.S. cut this journey short and he never finished the program.
In 2013, he moved to the U.S. and enrolled in general education classes at Wake Technical Community College before transitioning into the nursing degree program at North Carolina Central University. Mansaray was now one step closer to fulfilling his dream.
His journey through the nursing program was not without its challenges, however. Mansaray continuously experienced mental blocks and doubts, especially after failing his core Foundations of Nursing class, following which he stopped the program shortly after.
“I felt that my life was falling apart, both mentally and physically,” he said. “However, it was my passion for nursing and knowledge that a lot of people were counting on me, people who would benefit from my expertise, that forced me to return to NCCU’s nursing program.”
He returned a year later, with a new perspective on life and a persistent drive that helped him soar to the top of his class and among his peers.
“The nursing field is a team effort; you can’t do this alone, so I started study groups, and sent notes and YouTube links to fellow students who I saw struggling. I didn’t want them to go through the same experiences I did early on in my academic journey,” said Mansaray.
On May 6, 2022, he will finally achieve his dream as a recipient of the Bachelor of Nursing degree from NCCU while already having passed the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s NCLEX exam prior to graduation. He plans to continue his studies by pursuing a Doctor in Nursing Practice degree with the goal of one day opening a clinic in his home country.
“My NCCU experience was awesome. I discovered myself and had great relationships with both faculty and students. The faculty were always helpful,” he said. “I am thankful for Nursing Department Chair Dr. Yolanda VanRiel for her caring nature and open-door policy. She always fought for her students and found a way to fix issues.”
Mansaray’s advice for future Eagles?
“Find something that motivates you to obtain your goal; don’t be quiet, speak up when you see something wrong; and work together with you colleagues.”