My name is James Udo, I am from Nigeria, I have lived in Oklahoma for 8 years, and I now call SNU home.

When I first transferred to SNU, I was shocked with how often the faculty would go out of their way to get to know me. When I walk into the coffee shop, I know someone will ask me how I am doing. One of my first memories on campus was Katy Bradley approaching me and immediately diving into genuine conversation. I’ve experienced people welcoming me with open arms. That is the culture here.

I chose SNU because I knew I was missing the opportunity to be apart of something more than just going to class and coming home. I thought attending a smaller college would be a good fit for me and I immediately noticed Christ-like attitudes shining through everyone I met. I was excited to play basketball and was surprised when I realized how far I had come. I played soccer my whole life until I heard about the sport of basketball. At home, in Nigeria, all we had was a rim with chains. I didn’t fully grasp what the sport was until my sophomore year of High School when I moved to Oklahoma. My favorite part of participating in sports is the aspect of teamwork. On a team, if you try to do something that just benefits you as an individual, it doesn’t work. Moving towards a common goal is rewarding whether or not the scoreboard agrees.

Not only has my injury been a set back, but there have been other obstacles. Although I have already experienced many growing pains this semester, the people I’m surrounded with have opened my eyes to see how the Lord is working in this season of trial and error.

Before SNU, I would go to class, leave, and not talk to anyone. I thought it was normal to go to a college and be somewhat on your own. The friends I have made here push me to be a better person and serve as a source of constant encouragement. I value this trait of humility and authenticity. When taking this posture of humility, I think it is really important to ask: “How can I help you” rather than “I need this.” The truth is that we all need someone to hold us accountable to do what is right and I believe here we are emboldened to live centered around the principles of living like Christ.

Seeing through the lens of all these different complications has really shifted my perspective on life in general.
If I would’ve experienced my injury a year ago, without having this stable support system, or being as solid in my faith….my journey could’ve easily turned into giving up the things most important to me.

Who I was prior to my time at SNU and who I am now, there’s a complete difference in my character. This place cultivates growth, more than I could ever fathom.
Character, Culture, Christ isn’t just a motto at SNU, it has become my lifestyle.”