Five years ago, Abel Paladines Parrales spent ten months of his life living inside of a hospital room in his native Ecuador, being treated for leukemia and completely prevented from going outdoors. Going through that ordeal, he says, completely changed his mindset, and he is grateful to God for a second chance at life.
Gone was the teenager who didn't take things seriously. When he went into remission, he vowed to work hard, study hard, and do good things in the future. The love and support of his whole family have pushed him to follow his dreams and to keep doing everything better. Now two years into his time at NCC, he's on the right path.
"The classes are no worry. I'm actually really excited to study, and you learn something new every day," says Paladines Parrales. "For me, nothing has a backside. Everything is good. I don't like negative mentalities. If you think it, you can do it. People say the sky is the limit. No. You make your own limits."
Paladines Parrales has had the great example of hard-working and supportive parents to guide him to this mentality. His father runs a tuna fish company in the coastal town that Paladines Parrales was raised in, and this environment and background also inspired him to want to pursue biology at NCC. Eventually, he plans to transfer and continue his studies, making a career in food science.
"I thought I need to do something that not everyone else in my country is doing. For me, it's really amazing how little bacteria it takes to make people sick. My dad is going to open a new canned tuna factory, and he gave me the idea because he's really excited that I would continue in this business," says Paladines Parrales. "I want to learn how to create food, and how to preserve it. Food is something that people are always going to need. I want to learn with my dad for a couple of years after I earn a degree, and then open my own business. I want to start from scratch and make something of myself with just my own name."
His father was also the reason that Paladines Parrales ended up attending college in the United States. Paladines Parrales had a friend in Ecuador who came to NCC , and their parents talked about the benefits before his father encouraged him to make the trip to the U.S. in 2012. Since then, Paladines Parrales has taken advantage of every spare moment in this country, visiting Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Niagara Falls, Arizona, Wisconsin, Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis, San Diego, and other major cities.
"My dad liked this place because long ago, he lived in New York. For me to study in the USA, and to speak English well, and to follow his idea of working hard to get what you want…that's why I came to the U.S.," says Paladines Parrales. "My first impression of NCC is that it was huge. The location is so nice. I've spent time and have formed friendships with a lot of the other international students, and I enjoy exchanging cultural ideas with my friends."
More than anything, Paladines Parrales just wants to give back.
"I have this idea," he says, "that if you have something to share with someone else who has nothing, everything is about helping people. I am going to create my own company and help people, because it's important to me."
Name: Abel Paladines Parrales
Major: Biological Science
Projected Graduation Date: 2015