Nursing student treasures college life
LCC nursing student Leonce Ndayisaba is shown one of his six sisters, Gizelle Niyogushima, in an LCC classroom. Photo by Mallory Stiles
By Mallory Stiles
Editor in Chief
There is nothing more inspiring than someone who can smile in any situation. There is no finer example of such an inspiration than LCC student Leonce Ndayisaba, who offers warmth to everyone he meets.
Ndayisaba, 20, is a nursing major who is currently taking Human Anatomy and Patient Centered Care for a total of eight credits as he pursues his associate degree from LCC.
“I am considering transferring after the next two semesters,” Ndayisaba said. “I can only take two classes during each of the coming semesters because I only have a few classes left to take. After that, I am considering transferring to Michigan State University or University of Michigan.”
He has recently departed from a full-time job to give all the time he has to his education. He said his end goal is to be a traveling nurse. He speaks four languages and seems uniquely qualified for the position.
“I like helping people,” Ndayisaba said. “I can do things for other people that I would never do for myself. I was taught to be selfless. I also love traveling and it’s a good income. Why not be a traveling nurse for a couple of years?”
He said LCC provides him with the perfect atmosphere to really focus on what is in front of him.
“Yesterday I was upstairs in the library and I booked a room,” he said. “I pretty much spent the whole day there because it was quiet and nice.”
Ndayisaba knows that education is a privilege and said that is a lesson he learned in his first years of his life in his home country.
“I was born in East Africa in a country called Tanzania and lived there for 13 years, but my parents are originally from Burundi,” he said.
Ndayisaba also said he is stunned at the way American students dress and behave. He said the disrespect shown by kids to teachers would never fly in Tanzania.
“Where I am from you get whooped,” he said. “Teachers have sticks with them so either you get whooped in your hands or your butt. They choose how many times you were hit.”
Though there seems to be a harsh disciplinary system in his home country that would terrify some American children, he did nothing but smile every time he talked about home.
“I grew up in a camp and it was just a lot of fun,” Ndayisaba said. “I was just a kid. It was just about having fun, going to school, getting done with that, having more fun and going to sleep. We had chores to do at home, but, ay, other than that, life was good.”
He is one of seven children and the only boy. He describes his parents as kind, laid back people who are very slow to anger and whom he loves deeply. He attributes his smiley side to his mother and his easy-going nature to his father.
Ndayisaba said his sisters are a bubbly bunch who he would do anything for because, after all, he is their big brother. Sometimes, however, they do not help in creating a quiet atmosphere needed for studying.
“My sisters are always loud, having fun, dancing,” he said. “I am around the house but they always do their own thing. I was always strict on them growing up, so I feel like they have more fun with me not around.”
However, his sister, Gizelle Niyogushima, said that he toes the line perfectly and that she wouldn’t trade her brother for the world.
“He’s not TOO strict; he lets you do your own thing but he wants to know what’s going on,” Niyogushima said. “I am the sister that was born right after him. We are only two years apart so we are not that close, but we are close.
“It’s not like we hang out all the time, but we communicate and joke around and argue. Sibling stuff, but, honestly, he means everything to me.”
When Ndayisaba came to America at 13, his family did not come directly to Michigan. They settled in New Jersey where he said he remembers a very harsh winter that left him with a preference for spring or fall.
He “eats everything” but has recently stumbled across a love for mac n’ cheese. His favorite animal is a mountain lion and his favorite color is yellow. He listens to a lot of Afro or “Afrobeat,” which is a Nigerian music genre, to relax after a stressful day.
Ndayisaba said he learned how to hang on to his smile in his home country as a child.
“We didn’t have a lot but we were happy with what we had, which is what I would call happiness, “he said. “Just being happy that even if you have little, you have that.”