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Astronaut Michael Massimino recounts his story of perseverance

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Columbia University Alumnus Michael Massimino visited White Station on Wednesday, Sept. 12 to discuss his former career and achievements as a NASA astronaut, explorer and author.
“By the time I was eight I thought it would be impossible to be an astronaut,” Massimino said. He was certain becoming an astronaut was simply an impossible childhood fantasy.
Throughout school, he excelled in math and science, so he thought he was destined to become an engineer. Little did he know there was something else in store for him. While attending Columbia University, the opportunity to become an astronaut arose: NASA was recruiting. After turning in an application and waiting six months, he was rejected. After this first flop, he tried once again.
“They rejected me a second time,” Massimino said. “I thought my new application was much better, but they were still unimpressed.”
Two times was not enough for him though, so he reapplied. After being rejected twice, he reapplied, determined to get in.
“On the third time, they asked for an interview—it lasted a week,” Massimino said.
NASA then gave him the opportunity to prove that he would be a good fit.. Massimo lived with the NASA astronauts and staff for seven days to see if he meshed well with them and to see if he would work well in their environment.
“After this process they got to know me very well—so, they rejected me.”
Although people like to say the third time’s the charm, this was not true for Massimino. Still, he was still not ready to quit, and after submitting a fourth application, he was finally accepted.
His job as an astronaut was a space walker. One of his most memorable times was when one of the screws on the handle bar outside the spacecraft came loose, he tore it off. Massimino was a spacewalker while he worked at NASA. Studying at Columbia University truly inspired and enabled him to pursue his dreams, but without his ambition, drive and good attitude, he would not have made it this far.
“Is that high tech NASA stuff?” his commander asked him in response to what he did. “No that’s me in my garage,” Massimino said.
He concluded his visit with a final piece of advice for all to heed.
“You have opportunities, make the most of them,” Massimino said. “You can have an extraordinary life.”

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Astronaut Michael Massimino recounts his story of perseverance