Marvette Richardson is on Fire
This girl is on fire
This girl is on fire
She's walking on fire
This girl is on fire
Looks like a girl, but she's a flame
So bright, she can burn your eyes
Better look the other way
You can try but you'll never forget her name
She's on top of the world
- Alicia Keys
Marvette Richardson brings to mind these lyrics by Alicia Keys. She is a woman with a passion, one she’s been stoking her whole life. And she is on fire. “I’ve always loved helping people. When I was young I used to take care of my mother. I just loved it," Marvette said. "You have to do what you love, and love what you do.” Only love could explain how anyone could put in Marvette’s hours and still have fire and passion.
Marvette grew up on Richmond’s Church Hill and went to John F. Kennedy High School. Immediately after graduation, at age 17, she took a nursing assistant class and started working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). In 2001 she came back to school to earn her Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN), and kept working. “My passion had always been to become a registered nurse,” said Marvette. “I knew it would be there for me eventually. My daddy used to tell me: ‘You wake up with nursing on your mind, go to bed with nursing on your mind, and you’ll be a nurse.’ He was right.” It’s taken Marvette a while, but she’s on her way now.
To understand what makes Marvette tick, consider this: She lives five minutes away from another community college, but when she was able to finally come back to school in the fall of 2018 to pursue her RN, she chose Reynolds. Reynolds is a full hour away from her home. Why Reynolds? “Well, my aunt, my mom’s sister, Lily Waddy, went to Reynolds a long, long time ago. She was smart, really smart. She worked and went to school and I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to follow in her footsteps. She’s tickled pink now that I am going to Reynolds.” That’s Marvette.
And she has followed in her aunt’s footsteps. Marvette works full time at Central State Hospital and is now in her second semester as a full time student at Reynolds taking the prerequisite courses to enter the nursing program. She will be eligible to apply in August of 2019.
“In my first semester I didn’t have a clue,” Marvette confessed, “I loaded up my classes – psychology, English, and three math classes. I did way too much. For my next semester I realized I had to scale back a bit. At first I didn’t know anything about research or how to use the library. Those librarians saved me. Ms. Jocelyn [Tichenor] signed me up for a research class. They taught me how to use the library to get my work done. I would spend hours there studying until I understood something. Each time I made a good grade I would run back there to tell them what I had done.”
Marvette is an awesome cook. She also loves to bake, to decorate, and to do things with her granddaughter, but right now she tells her, “We’ll play later.” Marvette says her spare time is taken up with watching videos on subjects pertaining to her studies. Biology is her current focus and, she says, “I listen and listen until I can retain the information. I take the quizzes and play games, too.” Her granddaughter might have a few years to wait to get on Marvette’s schedule again. Marvette’s ultimate goal is to become an emergency room nurse and continue her studies at Virginia Commonwealth University to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Marvette's advice to others: “I’m just happy to be part of the Reynolds community. At first I was scared, but I’ve had a real good learning experience so far. What I would say to anyone else thinking about coming back to school is: use your time wisely. Study. The only thing you have to fear is fear itself. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. Use your resources. There’s lots of them. Use them all.”
Marvette is a woman on fire. She wakes up with nursing on her mind, and she goes to bed with nursing on her mind, and there is little doubt, like her daddy told her, she’ll become a registered nurse.