I graduated from Tallwood High School in 2016. Now I’m a junior at Liberty University and I’m studying nursing. One thing that I think is really cool about this [leadership] program…I think I’ve just been learning the value of education and how it’s more than a teacher trying to get something across – it’s more than instruction. It’s about empowering students. It’s believing in and supporting students beyond your curriculum – like, their personalities and supporting differences. For example, we just had our middle school workshop and I’ve seen that if these kids get one person to believe in them, that makes all the difference. That’s just so powerful. We have some goals that we really wanted to get across to them, like the importance of inclusion and reaching out, and we saw a quick turnaround. We teach it in one of the first sessions and by the end of the day we saw middle schoolers being active and already trying to include people. We need to give them a little bit more credit. They’re in this weird, kind of awkward stage in their life, but I think that they have a lot to say.
You must have had people believe in you along the way in school.
For sure. I got involved kind of later in my high school career, but teachers who really love their students, like I’ve been saying, beyond curriculum – it’s just so important to have people older than you, because you just value their opinion tenfold, when they look you in the eye and say, “I really would love for you to be involved in something I’m in charge of,” that means so much. Like, my SCA adviser from Tallwood, Mrs. Johnson, she’s awesome. I just remember vividly her telling me I should definitely get involved in SCA. Something small like that had this ripple effect [on me] of first, being an SCA officer; then, attending Virginia Beach Leadership Workshop; then, being on staff; then, having this cool opportunity to fall in love again with education and interacting with students. It’s even caused me to shift my focus in college a little bit to nursing education, and I hold a couple tutoring jobs at school. It’s really been a life-changing experience in the true sense.
And what interests you about a career in nursing?
I didn’t want to be a nurse until pretty much November of senior year at Tallwood. I wanted to be an engineer for the longest time. I kind of felt like, one, there was a lot of math and I don’t love math, but also I feel like engineering is, kind of, you focus on your project and then share – it’s more of a personal kind of thing. I was thinking about what else could I do, and I know I have a love for science and how things work, and the insides and outsides of things, and I have a love for people and just service in general. I think that nursing is the perfect blend of serving people but still having science. You’re meeting people and serving them when they’re at their lowest physically, but a lot of time they’re going through something serious that they haven’t dealt with before so they also are at their lowest spiritually and mentally. We call it holistic care, so we’re catering to their physical needs, which is understood when you’re a nursing major, but you’re catering to their spiritual needs and their emotional needs as well. It’s been difficult, but I’ve had more and more clinicals recently. Talking to them is just as impactful as treating them, and I see those kinds of values paralleled in the school system as well.