Last spring, I graduated from Trident Technical College, packed up my Chevy Cruze and drove to Minneapolis, where I was eager to start a new job as a registered nurse at the Mayo Clinic.
It was a long journey – about 1,300 miles - but my personal journey started years ago, and there were many twists in the road.
When I was a young child, I was often scolded by my parents for being disobedient and not listening. But what they did not realize at the time was that I lived in a very quiet world of my own and it turned out that I could not even hear them.
I was eventually diagnosed with moderate sensorineural hearing loss in both ears, which meant much of what I heard was muted, if I heard anything at all. When my parents realized what was going on, they took me to an audiologist and, at the age of five, I received hearing aids.
Even though the hearing aids were helpful, I still struggled. I was insecure and thought that my hearing loss would limit me. When I got older and started thinking about college, I felt a strong pull towards nursing. But I assumed that was not a possibility for me, so I pursued a career as a veterinary technician instead.
During the 10 years I worked as a vet tech, many of my family members were fighting their own battles, with cancer. I lost two of my grandparents and both my father and my aunt beat cancer more than once. But what ultimately drew me to nursing was my sister’s battle with ovarian cancer, which she sadly lost in January 2007.
During the many months she was hospitalized, and later in hospice care, I watched in awe of the care she received from the nurses that were by her bedside. They cared for her so wonderfully in her last days, it sparked a renewed interest in joining the field myself.
So In 2014 I went to speak to a career counselor at Trident Technical College, and that is when things began to shift. The counselor told not to view hearing loss as something that would hinder me, but use it to inspire others. She motivated me to finally realize that I could do anything I wanted in life. So once I did some research of my own and found out that TTC had a great pass rate for the nursing licensure exams, I applied to TTC.
I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for Trident Technical College. The nursing program was rigorous, but my instructors seemed to genuinely care about my future. At graduation, I was humbled to receive The Merit Award as the top student in nursing and The President’s Award/Kurtzman Prize, which is the highest honor of all the student awards and is given on the basis of academic achievement, contributions to the college and community service.
I absolutely love working as a nurse at one of the most respected health institutions in the world, caring for people the same way my family members were cared for. The path may have taken me a bit longer, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And when my colleagues ask me where I went to nursing school, I proudly tell them Trident Technical College!