Mwiriwe! (Or “Hello!” in Kinyarwanda). My name is Marie-Chantal Niwenshuti.


I am Rwandese. Currently, I work part-time and I am a full-time student at Utah Valley University (UVU) majoring in psychology. I am also a UVU Ambassador and project lead for their diversity team. I came to the United States in 2009 with my family, totally unaccustomed to the way of life to which I needed to adapt. During my free time, I enjoy writing, reading, hiking and spending time with my family and friends. I want to share my advice about college based on what I have experienced so far with the hope that you will be encouraged and inspired on your own educational journey.


Be Confident and Open-minded

Attending college can challenge you and expand your vision. To get the most out of the experience you must accept and welcome new ideas. When I first started college I wanted to become a nurse, but after taking a few prerequisites, I realized I was not really passionate nor interested in nursing. So, I explored other options by taking courses while working on my associate degree. Attending an Introduction to Psychology class awakened an interest in psychology. I realized that working with people and helping them achieve good mental health is important to me. I am certain about this major and I feel the field of psychology will open doors for and let me work with people the way I want.


Attend Classes, Study Consistently and Don’t be Afraid of Hard Work

College is hard, but that does not mean that it’s not doable. All good things require work and consistent effort, and they take time. I can’t emphasize enough that part of my success in college has been regular attendance in my classes, paying attention and taking good notes. I can honestly report that these three things have been the best assets in my college journey. I remember when I was in my senior year in high school I had a class where the teacher asked her past high school seniors who were now in college to write a note to her current senior students telling what they had learned about college so far. And I remember the response from the anonymous college student that wrote to me: “Show up to class!” I have been in college for three years now, and this continues to be true. A big part of my success has been because I prepare before class and go to class prepared to ask questions.


Be the Source of What You Hope to Attract to Your Life

One thing that completes me as a human being is giving back to my community and to society as a whole. I give back to my community by working with my team at Future Scholars of Africa, a non-profit program that the members themselves operate. We fundraise for college funds and give them out as scholarships to African students. We try in every way to encourage them to dream of college and beyond. I also give back to society by actively serving my university in many ways. I am not a bystander and I work for change. So get involved, go out, and serve. Like Neale Donald Walsch once said “Be the source. Whatever you want to experience in yourself, be the source of it in the lives of others. This is the great secret. This is sacred wisdom. Do unto others as you would have it done unto you.”