For Kinte Nance, South University is a family affair. His sister started an associate’s degree program in 2011 and he followed suit in 2012, pursuing his Associate of Science in Allied Health Science degree from South University, Online Programs.
When life got in the way, Kinte took a brief break from school, but, he says, when his sister graduated in 2014, “I promised her that I would jump back in. I called my counselor and said, I’m going all in and I’m not going to stop.” Since then, Kinte has stayed true to his word.
Formerly a combat medic in the US Military, Kinte stayed in the medical field after he left the military, growing and expanding his knowledge until he’d held a number of different positions and felt that he’d reached a plateau. The desire to continue advancing and providing more for his family prompted him to decide that it was time to go back to school, first to pursue an associate’s degree and eventually a nursing degree. “I have always wanted to help individuals in need, to save and change lives,” he explains.
Right now, between his full-time job, schoolwork, and four children, Kinte stays more than busy. “It is exhilarating,” he says, laughing as he proceeds to describe his typical day, which starts at 5:30am with going to the gym. After working a full day that starts at 8am, he picks up his kids, takes them to the YMCA and then home, perhaps having a tea party with his daughter before putting the kids to bed. All this leaves him with about two to three hours at night to devote to his classes.
“That’s when I focus on my schoolwork--getting it all turned in and making sure everything’s right so that I keep my grades up,” he says. “It’s hard, but my father always said ‘Hard work brings success.’”
Asked about his time at South University, Kinte simply replies, “It’s phenomenal.” For Kinte, a lot of his satisfaction comes down to the strong backbone of support provided by his graduation team. “When they answer the phone and I say ‘Hey!’, they know my voice, they know who I am and it feels like I am a friend,” he says. “They are always checking up on me and keeping me in the loop. I’ve been through a lot this year and they were there to support me, talk me through it, and to give me the courage to keep going and keep applying myself.”
In 2015, Kinte’s hard work helped him to earn a South University Path to Graduation Scholarship from the Education Foundation. “I’m not always good at putting my thoughts into words, but when I had the opportunity to apply, I said, what’s it going to hurt? I wrote my essay, applied, and then I heard that I got it,” he recalls. “I was ecstatic, not even about the money, but just knowing that I put the work in and then got the acknowledgment from the scholarship panel.“
Offering a combination of support and flexibility, South University has been the perfect fit for Kinte. “Any other school I probably would have had to quit or stop working” he says. “ South University has given me a stepping stone. It’s a very strong vehicle moving me forward to where I want to be.”
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