I decided to be a nurse so that I can be or do for someone else what wasn't made available to me. I want to be a nurse because as someone who grew up in a poverty-stricken community I know what it’s like to struggle to receive care. I know that medical visits can be exhausting, confusing and terrifying. It was through my battle with pyelonephritis and experience as a patient that I wasmotivated to become a nurse. I was not inspired by a warm and kind encounter between the medical staff and myself. Instead, I was inspired by the lack of those qualities. I watched as patients were belittled, neglected, and in some extreme cases left to die. And although I have a great appreciation for all medical professionals, it was under these poor circumstances that I realized I wanted to be a nurse, better yet I needed to be a nurse. Like with most things in life, when you can’t find the thing you seek, you create it, so I became the good I wish to see. I decided I wanted to take up space in these environments and be that compassionate, dedicated and understanding health care professional I wish to see. I understand that I may not be able to revolutionize the entire medical industry but I’m one person fighting for a more just and caring system that's just as good.
When I graduated from Erie Community College, I decided to continue my education at the University at Buffalo. I chose UB because I knew it was a well-recognized and funded university. I learned UB’s school of nursing is ranked one of the top 35 schools in all of New York state. This fact was important to me because I wanted an education that would challenge me and optimize my skills as a helping professional. UB is also a research university, meaning a lot of ourteaching is evidence-based, so I can rest assured that my education is not only proven but up-to-date. One of the things I love the most about UB is the bounteous amount of resources they make available to their students, including counseling, career training, online learning and tutoring. Overall, I think the University at Buffalo is an amazing school, and I'm excited to be a part of their legacy.
I’m currently open to all experiences nursing has to offer, but I think if I had to choose one I would say critical care. Critical care excites me because it’s fast-paced and ever-changing. Some of my most beloved jobs have been those that are fast-paced, challenging and require critical thinking. I think critical care units fall nothing short of that and provide a versatile platform that strengthens and saturates one’s understanding of comprehensive care.
At 31 years of age, I am extremely proud of all that I have accomplished. Afte rhigh school, I took the non-traditional path and pursued a career in cosmetology. Although my decision was met with some resistance from those who did not agree, I pushed on. After two years of training at the Empire Beauty School in New York City, I received my license to practice. I am proud of this achievement because it was the first in my adult life, and because it signified my success in carving out my path. A few years after that I started working at Starbucks, whereafter three years I became a supervisor. This was an incredible achievement because it placed me in an authoritative role that challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and take on new responsibility. I think this experience has been one of the most profound because it’s provided me with tools on how to be a good leader, manage my time, and work under pressure. Another accomplishment worth mentioning is my acceptance into college. As a first-generation student, I feel especially blessed to have had the opportunity to gain a higher education, an experience that has enriched all areas of my life. It has helped me understand humanity, trauma, oppression and other disparities that exist in the world. My college experience has also equipped me with the skills needed to help others in ameaningful and impactful way. I look forward to adding my Bachelor's degree this summer to my list of triumphs.
Most of my hobbies are focused on the arts because that is where I find the most healing. All the pastimes I’ve mentioned help me feel more ground and in tune with myself. Drawing creates a mental escape for me, where I can get lost in my creation and connect with my inner child. Dance and cooking help me celebrate my afro-Dominican heritage. Through dance, I uplift my spirit and use movement as a form of self-expression, while cooking helps me explore, experiment and carry on traditional flavors. As for reading, there are not enough words to describe the bliss that books bring me, but I think Mariama Ba explained it nicely when she wrote, “Books saved you. Having become your refuge they sustained you." Booksare limitless tools that provide clarity, understanding, acceptance and inspiration. I love that in every book you have the potential to learn a new truth about yourself and the world. My favorite genres are nonfiction and include feminist theory, critical race theory and cultural history.
After graduation, I look forward to working at a hospital. As mentioned previously, I would prefer to work in a critical care unit, but I'm also open to other possibilities. In addition to caring for my patients at the hospital, I would love to participate in some type of advocacy and educational work, particularly, projects involving reforms for nutritional education, mental health education and race/diversity training. I want to volunteer and lend my skills to underserved communities, whether that's in the form of providing education or health care treatment at an agency.
As of May 17, I will no longer qualify for any student aid, which means that any other academic pursuits be paid for completely out of pocket. In December 2019, I learned that I was granted entry into UB's Accelerated Nursing Program. Despite my elation, my greatest concern has been my financial circumstance. My nursing education runs a cost of about $30,000, not including textbooks, uniforms and other medical equipment. I am currently not working due to COVID-19, and when I return to work I’ll only be working one day a week. My earnings are barely enough to pay for rent and food. Because the accelerated nursing program is extremely demanding, I will eventually need to leave my employer. This issue puts me at risk of food insecurity and homelessness. I also don't have any relatives in Buffalo nor does my family have the means to help me out; my pursuits are solely dependent on me. This scholarship will help pay for some of my tuition and lessen my financial burden so that I can actualize my dream of becoming a nurse.