People of Central – Jordan Zampa


Story and photo by Janna Salimovic

Life can throw many obstacles at you especially as a college student. Whether it’s exams, learning to live on your own or even figuring out the balance between school and friends.

Central Michigan University senior Jordan Zampa shared one of her not so common obstacles she faced on her journey through college.

Shortly into spring semester of her junior year, Zampa got diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to have emergency brain surgery to remove it.

“I was embarrassed because I had showed up to classes and I wasn’t gonna be able to go back to those classes that semester,” she said.

Zampa talked about how she wasn’t comfortable telling people at first because she didn’t want their sympathy. After the surgery, she felt the need to tell people aside from just her family since she had many close peers at school.

“I know that I was loved for and cared for here at CMU,” Zampa said.

Zampa is a member of the Alternative Breaks Program at the university. Not only is she a board member, but also a site leader and a participant.

The board of people in the program are one of the first people she told about her setback.

“I had to tell them I wouldn’t be returning for that semester which was hard because that was a program I’m very committed to,” Zampa said.

The program was very supportive and helpful to Zampa during that time which is what opened her eyes to the type of community she has here at CMU.

“It was nice to feel the love from the people I’ve met at my time here.”

She received a lot of support from not only new friends, but friends she’s had since her freshman year.

Her road to recovery was not simple. Zampa attended physical therapy for 8 weeks to regain all of her motor skills since her balance was thrown off from the surgery. She stated that missing a semester of school set her back, but that didn’t stop her from trying to catch up.

“I spent my summer taking classes to kind of get back on the track I was because I wanted to be able to walk at commencements in May,” Zampa said.

Despite the hardships she went through, her experience helped her learn her career path. Learning about social justice through alternative breaks, as well as seeing health care from a different view, Zampa decided to go into public health.

“I want to focus more on preventative care so people don’t have to go through what I went through,” Zampa said.

Although she will graduate in August 2020, Zampa will still be able to walk at graduation with her peers in May.