“The greatest thing any person could do is to help another person. So if you can aid the people around you – that’s enough; there is nothing greater than that.” Jacob lives by these values and they guide him in his academic pursuits. Aspirations to study pharmaceutical chemistry lie at the forefront of his mind. The reason for this specific area of interest is his ambition to later improve the public health system back home in South Sudan.

Jacob’s faith has prepared him and inspired his goodwill. His favorite book is the Bible and particularly important words for him come from Ecclesiastes 1: 9: “There is nothing under the sun that hasn’t been done so you should live your life to the fullest”. The book speaks to him about work and life in general. Living at RCN, Jacob‘s Christian values haven’t changed despite the secular environment. In his family back home he would attend church every Sunday and participate in other activities during the week as well. The church is a uniting factor in his community and when he reached a certain age, he himself became a Bible studies leader.

The academic drive that he possesses cannot however, be credited to anyone but Jacob himself. He was always eager to learn as a young child. Growing up with his grandmother, he didn’t attend school until he was seven. He would see his friends go to school and he wanted to take part as well. When his brother graduated and started working he put Jacob in school. There was never any need for external discipline due to Jacob’s self-sufficiency. Experiencing poverty in his early life made Jacob appreciate the privilege that education is and a wish to help others motivated him in his academics. Jakob has just returned to start the term in which he is going to graduate. He is aiming for further studies at University, most likely in the US, and later he wants to return home to apply the knowledge he has acquired.

Rose Esfandyari (RCN ’16 – ’18)