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Zahir Sharifi

Sea Devil Zahir Sharifi is graduating from CFCC this upcoming May with an Associate in Science. Zahir, a C-STEP student, will be attending UNC-Chapel Hill in the Fall of 2022 with big plans to become a doctor. We sat down with Zahir to discuss his involvement in extracurricular activities at CFCC, his plans after graduation, his advice to future Sea Devils, and more!

Where are you originally from?

I’m from Pennsylvania.

Why did you decide to enroll at CFCC? Why did it make sense for you?

My dad’s job moved here, so I decided to come stay with him, finish my two years at CFCC, commute, and save lots of money. It just made sense.

Can you tell us about your experience at CFCC including your major, any achievements, participation in student activities, etc.?

I am getting my Associate in Science. When I came to CFCC, I wanted to see what I could do to be more involved and try to get more scholarships. That’s when I found Phi Theta Kappa. I really enjoy being part of this club. It’s nice to have a sense of community. We’ve been doing a lot of community service. It offers great scholarships. I am also in the C-STEP program and have been on the President’s and Dean’s list.

Can you talk more about the C-STEP program?
C-STEP is a program that allows students to transfer to UNC-Chapel Hill as juniors after completing their Associate in Arts/Science program at one of the partnering community colleges. There are a few requirements you have to meet and maintain a certain GPA. It’s a smooth transition and a really great program. You get to meet new people. I always wanted to go to Chapel Hill and I knew this program would help me get there. Since I wanted to get my two-year degree anyway, I saw this program as the perfect opportunity.

What are your plans after graduating from CFCC?

I want to get my bachelor’s in chemistry or biochemistry and hopefully study for the MCATS my junior year and get into medical school. My goal is to become a general practitioner.

What made you want to pursue that career path/attend that four-year university?

Everybody can boast about their achievements; that’s encouraged nowadays, but a lot of people don’t show how they got there. I did a semester of college in Pennsylvania before moving down here. During that time, I was really depressed. My mom and I were taking care of my grandparents who were very ill, so it was hard to focus on school. Then COVID hit. It all built like pressure in a pot. It was a low moment in my life. I remember it was the summer of 2020 when I was at my grandparents grave and I told myself I’m going to live the best life I can, and that’s what my grandparents wanted for me. I knew I wanted to be a doctor so I could help save lives the way I wish I could have for them.

How has CFCC helped prepare you for your next step?

My teachers are very friendly and well-organized and I’m not afraid to reach out to them. I am an introvert and I have a bad tendency of trying to figure out everything myself, but my teachers and the staff here have helped me with that. If I reach out to them, they don’t ignore me. They usually reply within a day, which is great. It just gives me reassurance that everything will go well.

What advice would you give someone considering studying at CFCC?

I can give two pieces of advice. There’s the logistical advice where you will save a lot of money. You don’t have to spend your first two years at a four-year school. The second piece of advice is work hard in your twenties, so you can relax in your thirties. Don’t let up, and keep your grades in check. If you have a goal, eliminate any distractions you have. You’ll be glad you did.

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