A day in the Life of Chioma Onyekere

‘I try to do that for myself to achieve the results I want’

The eldest of six children, Nigerian born Chioma Onyekere began her college career at Midwestern State in the fall of 2014. She is a third semester senior pursuing a degree in physical therapy after changing her major from biology last year.

She normally starts her days off early and prefers the comfort of a consistent schedule during the semester.

“This semester, most of my mornings begin at 8 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays they end at 5 p.m., and the other days go until 1 p.m. then I have the rest of the day to do my assignments or read my books because I don’t have a job so it’s just school that I have to [focus on],” she said.

Amongst her peers, Onyekere is revered for her warm personality and superb culinary skills. Her roommate Adanna Okoye, geology senior, had this to say about her long time friend.

“Chioma gives good advice; in fact, she has the mind of an owl. Her perspective of both the world and her personal environment are very interesting. I just love the way her brain works.”

As a seasoned mustang, she has experienced the trial and error process of figuring out which study habits work best for her. She had this to say about the process.

“One thing that didn’t work [for me] was saying I will wake up at 4 a.m. to study because apparently, according to some studies, it is better for you to wake up in the morning to study. I would end up sleeping until it’s right before my classes and then I hadn’t studied for that day! That’s what I did for an entire semester, trying to do the whole morning thing, and that semester was just bad.”

Instead, she focused on what works for her.

“I try to pay more attention in class because I understand more when I am in class and then I just need like an hour or two to study each subject depending on the topic that was covered that day. So lets say it’s a 50 minute class, I would have to take another hour or two to cover that page or the two pages I had taken notes on. Sometimes I combine [it] with textbooks but I mostly read my notes because I try to take really good notes or just record the lecture and listen to it three or four times and that’s it.”

Having spent the past four years at Midwestern, Onyekere found that participating in campus life is another valuable part of the college experience. She has done so by being an active member of the African Students Organization as well as making time to volunteer within her community.

“When I was a freshman,” Onyekere said, “I just thought that going to college was just going to class, coming back home, studying and making sure you bring [home] good grades for your parents but with time, I realized the accuracy of the statement, ‘pass through the school, don’t let it pass through you.’ So I decided to become more involved. I do some volunteer work with the Catholic Campus Center, I try to attend some events put on by the college, and attend different seminars [hosted] by my department. So [It has] been better than my first year when I only went to class. I try to attend more college based events that are not really school related.”

She also values time for self care and can say it has played a big part in her academic success from the start.

“The most important part of my week is Sunday because honestly, I get to go to church and it’s my chill day. I don’t have to do anything [because] that’s a day I set aside for myself, its when I kind of recover from all the stress of the week so I take Sunday to be very important,” Onyekere said.

Like most students, Onyekere also had to learn to stay motivated as the semester and the years moseyed along. She says her family and stories of others making it through their own trials help her remain focused.

“I have to remember that I am the first born… and that my dad is basically the sole provider or the family. It [would] be stupid if I [came] all this way to remain the same person that I was when I left. So everyday I try to remind myself that no matter what, I have five people and [others] who are probably looking up to me and I have to do better.” Onyekere said, “I have a bunch of books in my room and if the words in my head are not enough, I pick up one of them and read to see how other people may have struggled but still put things into perspective for themselves and I try to do that for myself to achieve the results that I want.

Moving forward, Onyekere foresees her time at Midwestern being a launching pad for a successful career in physical therapy.

“After here, I will be applying to physical therapy school. I am looking at one in Nebraska and one in Houston. Basically, that will be to start next year because they do not do spring admissions. So when I go there, I will be done in three years and I hope to get a job here in the states but if not I will probably be going back home. But basically the job entails helping people rehabilitate from accidents and help them come back to their normal old selves, or help them make the transition from being bed-ridden to using [their bodies].”

Onyekere has one notable key to success that she believes all her peers would not regret putting into practice. You’ve heard it before and will hear it time and time again.

Onyekere said, “Do not procrastinate. If you can do something now, just do it. Do not wait until tomorrow.”