Greetings Mrs. Turnipseed & Mr. Cooper,

I was emailing to let you all know how my first semester of college was going. As a freshman Biology/Pre-Med major with a double minor in Chemistry and Public Health Sciences, my first semester at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) has been an “adventurous” one to say the least with lots of “twists and turns” for lack of better terms.

After the first week of classes, I decided to hunker down for Hurricane Ida at my grandmother’s house in suburban New Orleans rather than evacuate to Maryland. It turned out to be a huge mistake in retrospect because we endured sustained Category 3 hurricane force winds for several hours after it made landfall. It was by far the most frightening experience of my life. Consequently, I will never ride out another hurricane in my life.

Fortunately, my grandmother’s house was not physically damaged, but we lost power and subsequently evacuated to Houston, Texas to stay by my uncle’s house. Moreover, XULA’s campus was forced to close after the hurricane, so we pivoted to remote/virtual learning for nearly a month. During this time, I eventually came back to Maryland for remote learning, but it clearly was not the college experience I had envisioned. However, I still made time to volunteer with the I Support The Girls Organization as a warehouse clerk.

Once XULA’s campus re-opened in late September, I was delighted to be back with my peers in the classroom. I also became actively involved in extracurricular activities like the Biomedical Honor Corps and ACS Chemistry Club. Moreover, I maintained very good grades despite disruptions caused by Hurricane Ida (refer to attached Mid-Term grade report). My most challenging course by a landslide has been General Chemistry lecture. After making straight A’s in my senior year of high school, I have had to work extra hard for a “B” grade in this course. If I had known in advance how hard this class would be, I would have devoted more time in the summer preparing for it. Truly, this has been a “rude awakening” for me. Furthermore, seeing a course that started with 70 students dwindle down to 30 students drove home the meaning of “weed out class” for me. Clearly, the pathway to medicine has obstacles like General Chemistry, so you have to be persistent and fight through it.  For this reason, I will continue to plan ahead and stay organized so that I am not overwhelmed by the course’s rigor. With final exams on the horizon, I will do my best to finish strong with straight A’s and continue to perform at an optimal level in my academics moving forward.

In closing, I am extremely grateful to be a 2021 Metro Kappa Youth Foundation (MKYF) Scholar. It is truly a blessing for me and my family. In the meantime, have a safe and joyous Thanksgiving as well as holiday season with your family and friends.


Laila A. Flores