SUSSANA MACHINGA: Living Father’s Advice: ‘Never Forget Where You Came From’

BEST Board photo of Sussana Machinga with her accompanying quote that reads: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you're young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Never forget where you come from and who you are and HAVE FUN.
Sussana Machinga, a native of Zimbabwe, has made the most of the college experience by involvement in numerous opportunities ranging from rugby to being a Res Life community advisor. Her love for her heritage and her homeland play a strong role in her college education and career aspirations.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Boasting Exceptional Student Talent, the BEST Board in the Centennial Student Union Hearth Lounge is a 55-foot-long display sponsored by the CSU to recognize eight students each semester for campus student leadership and CSU student staff excellence. This is the fourth in a series of profiles of the Spring 2020 student leaders.

Using your own experience, what advice for personal fulfillment and college enrichment would you offer to fellow students?

SUSSANA: “There are three simple things I would give as advice to students which helped me get where I am today:

  1. Get involved. This campus offers a wide range of opportunities for you to dig into and be a part of. Getting involved helps you create memories, friends, connections you can use for life, and skills that will help you in your everyday living. This I learned by inserting myself into community council in the dorms, Health PROs, Student Ambassadors, African American Affairs, African Student Association, Fashion Commercial and Photography, Newspaper Board, Kearney International Center, Student Events Team, Academic Affairs, Encounter youth group, Res Life CA and, best of all, Mankato Women’s Rugby. Now you don’t have to go all out and extra like I did but at least have one. 
  2. Stay true to yourself. Know who you are and be unapologetic for it. College comes with a lot of peer pressure and wanting to fit in, but you don’t have to fit in to be cool or awesome. If they don’t accept you for who you are then they don’t deserve you. 
  3. The last thing for me is to have fun. Whilst we are here to learn and graduate, you also need to loosen up and have some fun or else college will be miserable. It’s okay to take study breaks, to hang out with friends, to go to football, hockey or rugby games, to do the things that you love to do. If you’re having fun college will go by great.

We often get asked, “How do I get on the BEST Board?” What do you think helped earn you your BEST Board distinction?

SUSSANA: “I think being sociable, friendly and very involved helped me get on the board especially all the voluntary work that I do in my spare time.”

Why did you pick the quote used on the BEST Board? Please provide some background.

SUSSANA: “Growing up my father constantly repeated the words ‘ziva kwawakabva’ meaning know where you came from or never forget where you came from in my language shona. Those two words got me through college. I was blessed enough to be raised in a family that values morals, discipline, love, fun among more and these are the values I carried with me throughout college. I never forgot where I came from and who I was, especially since it could have been so easy to forget after coming to a completely different country far away from parents with little to no supervision. Then the verse I have on my quote is also one that I have carried through the years and has helped me overcome great obstacles.”

What involvement or leadership experience at Minnesota State Mankato best defines you, your interests, or your proudest moment? 

SUSSANA: “Being a community adviser in the dorms is definitely my greatest leadership experience and most favorite. It had me doing what I like to call, ‘be a big sister’ to all my residents. Being that resource, or a friend to talk to and hang out with, or that person to tell you and put you in place when you’ve done something wrong, or to help solve a problem. I was doing everything that I loved to do in one. My proudest moment I would have to say was being put up on that BEST Board. It meant that all I did was being noticed and appreciated.”

Where do you hope to take your college education earned at Minnesota State Mankato?

SUSSANA: “After graduating from Minnesota State Mankato, I would like to get a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology and specialize in Forensic Psychology. I have a dream of eventually going back to my homeland Zimbabwe and getting rid of as much corruption as possible and providing psycho-education and mental health awareness in Zimbabwe and hopefully other African countries.”


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