By Sampson Davis, author of Living and Dying in Brick City (Spiegel & Grau, February 2013). He will be speaking at the First-Year Experience® 2014 Conference in San Diego, California from February 14-18.
College—the beginning of a new frontier, at least it was for me. Growing up in Newark, New Jersey, a school system with dropout rate at more than fifty percent, I knew the odds were stacked against me. Not only did I beat those odds and graduate college, but I also went on to complete a medical degree. While I certainly worked hard for my success, I could not have achieved what I did without the help of many educators along the way.
One of those individuals was Dr. Linda Hsu, my college genetics professor. I will never forget and will always be grateful to Dr. Hsu for her kind acts, but one stands out in particular. It was the eve before my first day of medical school, and I had yet to receive my loan funds to purchase books. The weather outside was horrible with downpours and flood warnings. The hazardous weather might have impeded the mail delivery, but it didn’t stop Dr. Hsu, who stood all of 4’11” with a powerful voice. She jumped into her two-door hatchback and drove to the dorm to deliver funds so that I could purchase my books the next morning. That act of kindness, and her belief in me, touched me deeply and cemented my view in paying it forward—“to whom much is given, much is required.” Continue reading