Kasim Alsalman doesn’t like to wait.
When faced with an obstacle, his first instinct is to run head-long into it, knocking out one stumbling block after another until his goal is achieved. So two years ago when a severe ankle sprain playing soccer led to a frustratingly long ER wait, the then-freshman at Spalding University quickly changed his major from health science to healthcare administration and business.
“I want to find a way to impact the hospital system and make it as efficient as possible,” he said.
Now 20 and finishing his junior year at Spalding, Alsalman says that his vision for his own future hasn’t always been so clear. He’s the second-oldest of five sons, born to a pair of Iraqi immigrants who worked tirelessly to ensure their children had more opportunities than they had.
“They gave us everything they could,” he said. “It gives you that motivation that you don’t want to go through what they went through.”
Still, Alsalman said that his high school experience didn’t properly prepare him for college, and that Spalding was able to meet him where he was to ensure success. He credits the block schedule, which allows students to focus on a limited number of classes for six-week periods, to helping him get acclimated to a more rigorous academic setting, and the support of both faculty and classmates for cheering him on.
“Coming from the school I came from—my first semester was rough,” said Alsalman. “Spalding gave me a chance to improve my study skills first.”
Now thriving academically, Alsalman also maintains a full-time job and plays soccer for Spalding—last year he was named Spring Captain.
Alsalman knows he’s changing the world for his family: He, along with two of his brothers—his oldest brother is currently pursuing his law degree at Northern Kentucky University, and his younger brother is a sophomore at University of Louisville—are the first in his generation to attend college, and he’s intent that his two youngest brothers, aged 14 and 15, will follow in their big brothers’ footsteps as well.
“We’re setting a better standard for my family,” he said. “My little brothers all know now that there’s a standard for them. We want to push them to be better.”
He also knows he’s destined to change the world beyond his family—he’s just not sure how it’s going to happen yet. Alsalman knows he wants to continue his education beyond his bachelor’s degree and dreams of living and working abroad one day. The rest of the details, he knows, will work themselves out.
“I haven’t really figured everything out yet,” he said. “But I feel like Spalding can help you find that opportunity (to change the world). I feel fully prepared and ready to take on whatever life throws my way.”