Nursing: A new passion and a new pursuit

After all the great care that I received, I knew in my heart I wanted to serve the world as a nurse! I jumped in the classes and I loved them! My initial training as an EMT gave me a jump start in pursuing a nursing degree.

Before the amputation, I’d worked as an assistant bookkeeper for a woman named Marie who became a very good friend. Marie and Dave took me in and gave me safety, security, community, relationship, guidance, and unconditional love. I would spend nights in their kitchen cooking meals together, talking about life, and laughing so hard and so much. I could talk to them for hours about anything. We would spend evenings watching the sunset on the front porch as we talked about life, what made us happy, what was going well, what wasn’t going well. Their two daughters accepted me as their own, too. They are my family and I’m proud to be their adopted daughter.

Meanwhile, back in my classes, my competitive streak was strong and helped me to maintain a solid 4.0 GPA throughout my schooling. But here’s where I think my definition of “competition” is different from others. I constantly challenge myself and work hard to be my best, but it’s not just about me. The best kind of competition is about doing your best while also helping others excel too.

During nursing school, you make a lot of close connections because you’re all going through the same courses together. All through my prerequisite classes I was a straight “A” student, always at the top of my class. I had my own struggles, but I also noticed that other people in the program were struggling much more, often not able to advance to the next course. This was new to me – I had never really been a straight-A student before. I remember thinking, “If I'm getting an A, and the person next to me is getting an F or a D, am I really an A student? Maybe there’s something I can do to help them with their journey, advance to the next class, and get into nursing school.” So I started helping my peers in my prerequisite courses.

I convinced the school to let me use an empty room, and for the next two years I offered free tutoring every Tuesday afternoon for six hours to help my classmates make it to graduation.

I graduated nursing school in 2016, at the top of my class and was voted class president. As life-changing as that was, what meant even more to me – and was a big surprise – was when I was presented with a Graduate Recognition Award for my work tutoring my fellow students and inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success.