Andrew reflects on how his journey was not always smooth sailing, but how it was necessary in transforming him into the person he is today.
May 9, 2023
San Diego, CA - San Diego Mesa College student, Jason Compy, is expected to graduate Pre-med this spring majoring in Bio Chemistry. Jason hopes to attend USC, but has already been accepted to UCLA. So, he plans to become a Bruin or a Trojan this fall. With graduation around the corner, Jason reflects on the many obstacles he has overcome on his journey through life.
Jason was born and raised on a small farm in New York, Pennsylvania. As Jason got older, he grew interest in seeing what the world was like outside of his farm. Jason was eager to take a path different from his family, with or without their support. Jason considers this when he says, “I chose to leave when I turned eighteen, and with that decision, I was cut off completely from the group. They sent me out on my own with no help financially or otherwise. I decided, - with little planning, no travel experience and no clear support system, to book a one way flight to Zimbabwe, a country in the southern part of Africa.”
Jason’s courage and optimism traveled with him across the world, and continued to positively shape his perspective through more life changing moments he experienced in Africa.
“I worked in an emergency medical clinic and in a school with homeless street kids. I even joined a group of armed park rangers that followed the rhinos and protected them from poachers. While with them, I almost died from drinking unclean water. Later, I was jumped and beaten so badly I felt like I was going to die”, states Jason.
Although Jason was going through a lot on his own, he didn’t dismiss the fact that there were also many people around him that were going through even harder times. It was in those hard moments that he realized what he wanted to do with his life. Jason explains this when he mentions, “It all really hit me one day when I was the passenger in a car accident. The car we hit had a father and two children. Having some basic first aid training, I ran over to help, but it was already too late. The father died in my arms in front of his children. He looked up at me with fear as he left this earth. I had never felt so helpless, but in that moment my dream to one day be a surgeon was born.”
Jason decided to move to back to the U.S, determined to get by any more obstacles in his way. “Still on my own, I started again with no phone, bank account, no friends, no family to lean on. I had seventy-three dollars and a few changes of clothes. Eventually landing some jobs in Buffalo NY, I worked 100 hour weeks, and I would walk five miles to and from work through the snow because I had no car”, says Jason.
It wasn’t until he enrolled into Mesa College when he realized that his overall journey reflected beauty and humankind instead of hardships. Jason talks about this when he says, “Despite what it has sounded like, this is not the story of one man's triumph over hardship. No. It is the story of the beauty and love and community that can be found in all humankind, all over the world. At every step of my journey, whenever I felt at my lowest, whenever the darkness of life and the restricting walls of uncertainty closed in on me, every time there was a set of helping hands reaching out to support me. This is a story about how the love of strangers has carried a boy born on a small farm to stand on the stage in front of you today.”
Jason works in Student Outreach and was a member of Star Trio. He has visions of attending medical school. During his time at Mesa, he connected with so many different professors and faculty as they made an impact on his time at Mesa. “... I was so nervous my first semester on the oral part of my Spanish final that I started speaking in German, but it all worked out. Also for Ken Kuniyuki’s precalculus class he was honest about how many of us would drop and not get an A etc... So I went home and tried to drop the class right away but couldn't do it for some reason. I had a hold on my portal or something and he turned out to be a favorite professor. Professor Ken Kuniyuki for precalculus, professor/dean Jennifer Carmichael for Bio 210 A and Professor Levy at City for Physics 195 all were so incredible and kind and really tried to inspire students and work with them. President Ashanti Hands always took time to get to know me and have lunch and encourage me in my goals,” mentions Jason. Jason’s journey has in no way linear, but his past has shaped him into a resilient and brilliant young man who is ready for what lies ahead in LA.
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Jennifer Nichols Kearns
Director of Communications