Wednesday, May 27, 2020

“I was happy every day I was at school . . . .”

We all start out with dreams. Of necessity, many of us set those dreams aside, “put them on the back burner” as the saying goes. Life gets in the way. Time goes by. The back burner gets turned down low. Then lower.

But for some of us, like Maureen O’Donnell, dreams are still dreams. For a time they might be lukewarm, but the hope of reigniting them is always there, just waiting for the spark of opportunity. 

“I always knew I wanted to be a nurse,” Maureen said, “and I knew I wanted to work in Hospice back when I was 20. But I got married. I had children. Then I made a home for ten foster children. Then came a divorce. Life really did get in the way. My dream was always there, but the opportunity wasn’t.”

“Six or seven years ago my dream turned up again when my father went into hospice,” Maureen explained. “My experience during that time prompted me to volunteer, and I knew then, that’s what I wanted to pursue. I wanted to become a hospice nurse.”

Two years ago Maureen finally got her spark of opportunity, and started pre-nursing classes at Reynolds. At the time she still didn’t know how she would pay for the classes, or if she was up to the task after so many years. “I was very nervous going back to school at my age. I didn’t know if I could get my brain working again. I didn’t know if I would be able to study. I didn’t know what was going to happen. All I knew was I was taking the first step.” 

“I was happy every day I was at school,” Maureen recalls, “the support I got from Reynolds faculty was amazing. They didn’t just teach the material. They taught me how to get the work done, and how to be successful. All the professors went above and beyond. They always helped me to get past the roadblocks, they always stepped in and worked things out if I had a problem with a class or a requirement. And, it’s not just me saying this. My classmates said the same thing. Reynolds is a wonderful, and inspiring learning environment.”

Two years have passed and Maureen has just finished her pre-nursing studies at Reynolds. She has been accepted into a nursing program with a faith-based approach that will give her the opportunity to do mission work. She currently volunteers each week in their hospice unit and will begin pursuing her BSN in August. “For me nursing is more than a job, it is a mission.”

“My experience at Reynolds was incredible! After returning to college at a much older age, I was nervous about whether I’d be able to, not only complete the required courses, but do well. I was able to maintain a great GPA. I can honestly say the support I received from my professors and the curriculum offered at Reynolds was exceptional, and set me up perfectly for a successful start to accomplishing my career goals. I couldn’t be happier! This dream, my dream, has been a long time coming.”