Surviving leukemia helps Higino find his passion

MINOT, N.D. – Cristiano Higino was only going to attend Minot State University for a semester. 

He traveled to the U.S. from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais in Brazil after studying at Broward College and is currently in his third year, studying for a double major in nursing and biology while also obtaining a minor in music.

The first school in the U.S. that Higino studied at was Nova Southeastern in Florida, but due to COVID-19, Higino had to find a new university.

“Nova Southeastern University was not offering in-person classes due to the novel pandemic, and as an international student, I couldn't take more than one online class,” he said. “As a result, I had to find a school offering in-person classes during the pandemic. That’s how I ended up in Minot.

“My original plan was to go to Minot State for a semester and then go back to Florida. I was petrified to live in a small city, and I thought small towns were more conservative and traditional. However, I’ve found so much love for MSU — I have met wonderful professors and staff who are always willing to help and provide all the necessary resources in order for students to thrive.”

Higino admits that he has been surprised with his experience at MSU and is excited to continue studying at the University.

“The small classes and the welcoming community make me want to stay on campus all the time,” he said. “I feel that I have learned so much more here than any other university. The size of the classes and the relationships that I have with my professors make me really think that I am not just a number at Minot State but actually a student.”

Before Higino began his undergraduate studies, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 17. He spent four years of his life in a hospital battling cancer with his parents by his side.

“Whenever I think about that time in my life, I am reminded of the hardships my loved ones and I went through while never giving up hope,” he said. “They supported me every step of the way.

“I also think about one of my realizations, one of the recipes to reach the light at the end of the tunnel and a peaceful life, which is to see the good in every situation. I am glad all those years helped me find myself and taught me that I don't need to save my love for people or waste my time not being happy.”

Being dealt that hand, Higino was able to learn and gain a perspective that ultimately helped him get to where he is now and realize his purpose, which he can do as a nurse.

“I realized how I love to be around people and help them, especially in difficult moments as I had,” he said. “I genuinely believe that everything happens for a greater purpose, and I am looking forward to utilizing the four long years of constant knowledge to bring love and help to others.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 07/20/21   

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