I was raised by parents who valued education. My father was a pharmacist and very supportive of education, and both of my parents made sure that we had the resources and supplies to be successful in school. Whether it was supplies for a science fair experiment or a social studies project, we had what we needed. My parents talked to me and my five siblings about “going to college”; it was never about “if” we planned to go but rather the options of different colleges. As a teenager I learned about BYU from my teachers at church, so when the time came, I applied to the colleges in my home town of San Diego, California, as well as BYU.
Sometime during my teen years I decided I would study medical laboratory science so I could work as a technologist in a hospital setting. I didn’t know anyone who was a medical technologist but with my father working as a pharmacist, there was a medical profession influence in my home. I was accepted to BYU and started the courses required for the medical science laboratory major in the fall of 1971. Several semesters of chemistry were required and I soon learned that I did not really love chemistry as much as a medical laboratory science major should. I realized that I wanted to change my major.
Just like many freshman, I was at a loss as to what major I should pursue. I visited many colleges on campus and explored a variety of majors. I was interested in many degrees and had a hard time settling on a major that first year. I finished my freshman year and returned home to San Diego without a major. Near the end of the summer I received a letter with a BYU return address…it was an acceptance letter from the College of Nursing for the fall semester. In my search for a major I had visited the College of Nursing but I didn’t realize I had applied. In today’s world, I can assure you this would not happen, but what an opportunity. That letter had life-altering effects for me for the past 40 years.
I began the nursing program in the fall of 1972 and completed an associate degree in April of 1974. I married soon after graduation, studied for the national licensing exam, and soon began working part time as a registered nurse. I continued my education and completed a bachelor’s degree in December of 1975. At that time I had a goal to return to school for a master’s degree in the future.
For many years I worked as a Registered Nurse, much of the time as the sole provider for my family. I realized that I would always need to provide for my family. I was blessed by my education because I was able to provide for my family. I enjoyed my work and was able to hold a variety of nursing positions. Years later, when I had five children, I began the nursing administration master’s program at BYU. I knew that with a master’s degree, my options would be even greater. I took one class a semester and after five years finished this degree.
A few years later (25 years after beginning my college education at BYU), I again returned to school…this time at the University of Utah to earn a doctoral degree. About the same time I was offered a faculty position at BYU in the College of Nursing. I was able to be a BYU faculty member as well as a University of Utah student! Although this was a busy and difficult time, it was rewarding and I am grateful for my education. My plan has been different than that of many others, but with persistence, patience, and faith I have enjoyed the journey—the hard times and especially the easy and rewarding times. My education has been a great blessing to me and my family. I enjoyed the process of earning these degrees. I love my profession. I am able to provide for my loved ones. When asked about when is the “best time” to return to school, I always say there is never a best time, only the time that you take to be successful…it may take you several years, but if you keep working at it, you eventually graduate.
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