Heading into the final stretch of the indoor track and field season, sophomore thrower and school record holder in the shot put ChiChi Akanegbu sat down with Regis Athletics to discuss her life as a nursing student for the Pride.
Why did you choose to come to Regis?
Originally I wanted to go to a big university, but once I started actually visiting the schools, like UMass Amherst and UMass Amherst, I realized I wanted to go to a school that was more tight-knit, where you knew the people that were on campus and they knew you - a school where you could leave an impact and would leave an impact on you. That was a big deal for me. And also, of course the nursing program is really good here. I was accepted into the fast track master's program so that was also a big deal. My parents and I really wanted that opportunity to better my education.
So far, what has been your most memorable Regis experience at or away from the track?
For me, it was the first meet of this year, which was at the Reggie Lewis Center, because it was my first time being able to break over 40 (feet), which I've been trying to do since my junior year of high school. It was really nice because my family was there, one of my best friends, who also throws track - her team was there and she was throwing, and her parents were there. So it was nice to have my teammates and family and friends around when I had that big achievement.
When Coach Bonsey gives you the day off, what are you doing instead?
I want to say that I do homework all day, but a majority of it is me just trying to relax. Usually the days we have off are Sundays, the day after a meet, so I just spend the day napping or watching Netflix, and spend the rest of the day doing homework if I get the energy to.
What do you enjoy most about throwing for Regis and in general?
I like that it's taken a lot more seriously (at Regis). With high school, it's like yes, you're doing a sport and you want to take it seriously, but at the same time it's also for fun. Here, it's collegiate and you take it more seriously and you put more effort into it and I like that. Yes, you're here to have fun, get to know each other, make memories, but at the same time to better our athletic abilities.
What are you most looking forward to about the spring semester?
I'm really looking forward to starting clinicals this semester. I was lucky enough to be put at Mass General Hospital, so that's something I'm really looking forward to this semester.
How does it feel to be the shot put school record holder in both indoor and outdoor track?
I like it. A lot of people on the team like to make a joke like I have all these records, but it's also just really amazing, like I never thought my freshman year of high school I would be this collegiate thrower that would have all the school records, so it's really exciting to see how far I've come and I'm excited to see where I can go with it - if I can break more or beat my own records.
What's the best advice you've ever been given and by whom?
Easily my mom. My parents weren't born here, they came from Nigeria when they were in their 20s and my mom has always talked about how the life that you have isn't easily given to you, you have to work for it. With her being a nurse too, she had to work hard to get to where she is, and she's always taught my siblings and I that the effort that you put out is going to help you better yourself and the life that you live.
What is the last picture you took on your phone?
The last one I have is a screenshot from our throwers Snapchat group of our senior Kate Cowden, and there's this running joke where she says "Are we kidding?" and it's just like her being confused. It's just a random funny picture.
If you could sit down to dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I think President Barack Obama. He's someone who has had a big impact on American history and I feel like he really connects well with our generation. He understands the culture, he understands what we listen to, he understands what we watch and go through. I feel like with him it would be a nice, natural conversation. I wouldn't feel pressured, I feel like I could just have a normal conversation and get something out of it.
If you could have a special power, what would it be?
Telekinesis, like the ability to control everything. I would like that.
What's the best class you've taken at Regis so far?
My First Year Seminar with Professor Mary Scanlon. What I liked about it is that we were all nervous nursing students together, and she helped calm us down and told us it was alright to be nervous, and that we'd have to go through this, this and this, but that we'd all be there for each other. It kind of made it seem like we weren't alone in the sense that, yes, we all were freshman and we were all experiencing different things at the same time.
If you could live in a TV show or movie, what would it be?
Friends. It's one of my favorite shows, I feel like it's everyone's favorite shows. I think it's because everyone seems so relaxed, they're never at work, they're always at the coffeehouse just chilling so I feel like that would be nice to have once in a while.
What is one thing about you that most people at Regis probably don't know?
I'm really big on awards shows, like movies, television and music. All my closest friends know that I live for the Grammys and the Oscars especially, so I feel like most people don't know that I'm a movie buff.
If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?
Easily put it towards my college debt. I have a few other siblings so I'd probably help them with theirs too. With the leftover I would help my parents with retirement or whatever they want to do post-working.
All abilities aside, if you could play a sport at Regis other than track and field, which would you choose?
Volleyball. I did it for four years in high school and I miss it so much. If I had the ability to, I would easily play it here.
If you could be any animal what would you be?
A giraffe. They're slow and they're calm, but when they need to be fast they can be.