Computer science major puts God first - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Computer science major puts God first

Computer science major

LCC student Kirabo Kanyama loves playing chess and fishing in his spare time.  Photo by Mallory Stiles

Mallory Stiles

By Mallory Stiles
Associate Editor

Chess originated from the two-player Indian war game, Chatarung, which dates back to 600 A.D. It has evolved, but has always been a game of strategy.

For LCC student Kirabo Kanyama, chess is a coping mechanism.

“I fish and I play chess; a lot of chess,” Kanyama said. “I played 20 chess games yesterday.”

Kanyama, 19, is a computer science major in his second semester. He is currently enrolled in three classes for a total of 12 credits: Computer Science 101, Pre-Calc and Intro to Sociology.

“I chose computer science because I have always had a love for technology and math,” he said. “Putting the two together made it a clear choice.”

As a Lansing native and an avid fisherman, he said he feels no need to travel. Kanyama remains ecstatic about the great number of beaches and describes Michigan as the perfect place to cast a line after class.

“My dad taught me how to fish when I was 5,” Kanyama said. “I have ADHD so it taught me patience and, in a way, it helped me build character by realizing that sometimes you don’t catch, you just fish.”

He is at LCC on behalf of the Lansing Promise Scholarship. He said he aims for a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, but is currently door dashing and working on getting his Google IT Certificate to make ends meet.

Kanyama said LCC has been the glue that keeps it all together, praising the seemingly endless resources that LCC offers.

“The student support is amazing,” Kanyama said. “If I have trouble with anything, I can go to the TLC building and get assistance. The tutors here all genuinely care. They write down your name and say hi to you. It feels like they do this because they want you to succeed.”

Kanyama described his parents as very intelligent, hard-working people. His father is employed at Sparrow Hospital and his mother at Michigan State University. Though they are incredibly influential in his life, he said God still comes first.

Kanyama is a member of “Cru at LCC,” which is a student-led community passionate about connecting people to Jesus Christ. He attends on-campus Bible studies or “Life Groups” as often as possible.

“My relationship with God is all I have; what do I have if I don’t have God?” he said. “I always thought it was very important to connect my relationship with God to school because my relationship with God is all I have. So if I want God to fully use me in every aspect of my life, school is a part of that.

“I feel like to combine the two, to be a Christian student, is almost required of me. I want Him to use the lessons I learn in school to continue to build my character.”

Kanyama’s mother, Nicole Proctor-Kanyama, described her role as his mom as fun and full of joy.

“Kirabo is really determined and has a big heart,” Nicole said. “He is very humble and has a lot of different talents, so I am really excited to just see how his life unfolds.

“I look forward to cheering him on and enjoying the journey with him. I believe that life is a gift. We get reminders a lot to not take life for granted and I am just happy to be a part of his, for the wins and losses.”

Although Kanyama shows an aptitude for all things numerical, he has many inclinations in the athletic world. However he has suffered with injury in almost every stage of his life; he had to have major surgery on his shoulders in his freshman year in high school.

He said it was the most significant event of his life. He maintains that a great deal of life lessons came from the pain of having to let go of being a football player, wrestler and swimmer on a competitive level all at once.

“I cannot blame it on the sports,” he said. “It was 100 percent how I was born. I was born with loose shoulders. I have little to no cartilage in my shoulders because every time it dislocates the bone grinds against it.”

Kanyama explained that it was the loss of his former identity that allowed him the space to cultivate a new one. He said he felt a stronger sense of faith and a taste of life when something bad happens that is out of one’s control.

He learned how to accept and move on, putting his favorite quote to use every chance he can get. Kanyama is adamant that it is the quality of words, not the quantity.

“Tough times do not last, tough people do,” he said.

“At times, it encourages to go the extra mile when things are not in your favor or not going your way. It provides a sense of responsibility in the midst of all this to be like ‘alright, what I was going through is tough, but so am I.’”

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