When I graduated from UMass I originally thought I would go into Clinical Geropsychology. I took a gap year because I was moving to a new city, Buffalo, and wanted to get to know the area. During that year, as I looked back on my time volunteering and working at the nursing home in Massachusetts, I realized how much I missed that experience -- seeing the residents every day, making their life as comfortable as possible, stimulating them mentally and just keeping them happy! I knew then that I wanted to go into nursing so I could impact the lives of older adults and their families every day.
I knew UB was a great school as I had hometown friends who went there. When I fmally decided nursing was for me I looked into UB 's program first. I was hooked from the start and went to one of the open houses where instantly I knew this was the place for me.
I've always been interested in many populations. In college I worked with older adults, people suffering from psychiatric disorders, veterans, children and inmates. I found each experience rewarding in its own way; ultimately, I decided that I loved working with the geriatric population the most.
My mother has been a CNA for at least 25 years now and has worked in nursing homes my entire life. She was a single mother and could barely afford childcare so she would take me to work with her. I was a volunteer helping out with games, events, and playing my violin for the residents. I definitely spent more time with older adults than with children my own age which is why I love working with the older population the most.
I graduated Magna cum Laude from UMass and was accepted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. In Massachusetts, I involved myself in the community by volunteering in a jail, a VA center and a nursing home. I absolutely love volunteering and found some of my best memories came from the work I did. I was also heavily involved in the UMass Minuteman Marching Band. With close to 400 students, we were one of the largest marching bands in the northeast. The marching band traveled all around spreading the love of music and happiness to all. My freshman year we even had the honor to march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!
In Buffalo, I got a job at the Lexington Cooperative Markets which helped me engage with a community I was completely new to. The Co-op cares so much about its customers which is a quality I value in an employer and is what made this store special. I was able to meet the locals, various farmers, and experience what a great city Buffalo is. I even met my best friends and my boyfriend through the co-op!
I train Tae Kwon Do in Amherst and will hopefully be testing for my black belt in June! Tae Kwon Do challenges me physically and mentally everyday which helped me grow stronger as a person. I've also enjoyed learning how to cook. Growing up, I wasn't a very good or patient cook. However, when I became vegan, almost two years ago, I began trying to cook healthy meals. I used to only be able to cook a couple dishes with tofu scramble being my top choice. I've ventured and have now learned to make vegan shepherd's pie, homemade rosemary focaccia and MORE!
Post-graduation has two main routes that I'm looking forward to exploring more when the time comes. I would enjoy continuing my education to be a nurse practitioner. Education is extremely important to me and if I could learn more about helping others I would definitely jump at the opportunity. Going straight into the workforce working with people suffering from dementia is another option as well. There are people out there now that need care and there's a shortage of nurses. I want to be able to give back to the community as soon as I can. I value both options and am looking forward to what this program has to teach me!
I come from low-income immigrant parents who love me dearly but aren't able to make monetary contributions to my education. This means I have to provide for myself in every way. Student loans are inevitable; they cause anxiety and stress. No one wants to be spending the rest of their lives trying to pay back a massive debt.
This scholarship is going to help me be able to dedicate all of my attention to my academics. I am stressing out about paying for rent, food, car insurance, etc. during the summer months because I'll be without a job. Now I can relax a bit as I'll have help covering tuition, which means I can use the small savings I have to sustain myself. In the future, when I'm all settled in a job, I hope to be able to help others who have struggled as I have. To help other students succeed academically and professionally would be fulfilling.