There is a fact in human nature, which is familiar to many: the more goals you achieve, the more success you have in the field of your activity, the more often the idea “What if I try to become even better on my path? ” comes.
Since my childhood I got used to struggle to attain my goals. I was born in Puerto Rico. I was the first female in my family that graduated from high school. I graduated with a GPA of 3.93 and I was in the 10th percentile of a class of 300 students. I was selected to join a group of a hundred students for accelerated Premed program at the University of Puerto Rico.
Then I set out to go to Medical School and to work in Microbiology. I had to pass through many difficulties and trials to obtain it. On July, 1985 I moved from Puerto Rico to Massachusetts after my father lost his job. When I was seventeen I was accepted at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. UMASS enrollment was 20,000 students. I enrolled in the Premed program. But circumstances were against me: having arrived from Puerto Rico I was learning a new educational system, where you have to choose the classes pertaining to your degree at the proper time in order to graduate. When I started taking classes related to my chosen degree, Microbiology, I realized the difficult time ahead. English was not my first language, so I was unable to take good notes from lectures. I was a very slow reader, and writer, and I was unable to memorize the material in a quick manner. To make the matter worst, I had to work through college.
After, struggling for 5 years, and I was unable to pass some subjects, I quit college. I started to work in a Clinical Microbiology Laboratory in Massachusetts as a lab assistant. After couple of years enjoying my job, I realized that I needed to go back to school, and finish my degree. I was very worried about going again to school. I remembered my previous unsuccessful experience at the University of Massachusetts. However, I transferred to a smaller school, Westfield State College, with an enrollment of 5,000 students. I enjoyed every class in this school. I knew the English language, and was not struggling anymore. I graduated with a BS in Biology on May, 1995, ten years after I came to the USA. I earned an Academic Excellence Award in Biology, and was accepted in the Phi Kappa Honorary Society.
Finally I may say that my activity in the Laboratory carried me away, but at the same time I felt the necessity to back my practical skills with theoretical knowledge and with the degree. Now I’m going through the similar situation. Since June 2006, I’m working as an Infection Control Nurse. I enjoy my present job, I enjoy the work I’m doing, but recently I started thinking about the possibility of pursuing a Master in Public Health, and I’m thinking about going back to school. Any graduate degree, and the very fact of being educated, appears to give you additional advantage. You get the experience of analytical work, of writing scientific reports, of preparing research publications. By the way, the very process of education itself is a great deal: communication with highly educated people is worth a lot! There is never too much knowledge!
We can not acquire special knowledge by self-taught. Trying to follow the development of the chosen area through reading professional literature can not replace education at the university. That is why I consider important and even necessary to go back to school.
Getting my degree is important to me. We get knowledge for the purpose of applying it in our daily work. But there are also some other reasons for getting degree. My husband lost his job. Now, I am the only person working in my household. If I have my degree, I may get a raise, that is very important to me and to my family. Degree gives you self-reliance and confidence that positively influence the efficiency of your work. This efficiency best illustrates your qualification level. To see the positive results of my work is the realization of my career goals.
None of the attained career goals can ever be sufficiently satisfying to me. Since I had been working in the Laboratory in Massachusetts and later in Florida as a Medical Technologist, I enjoyed my work, but I was not completely satisfied. I wanted more than just identifying the microorganism causing disease to a patient, and advising the physician with the correct antibiotic to prescribe for this patient. I wanted to know and see the outcome of this patient. Therefore, I decided to become a Registered Nurse. This new challenge was not going to be easy. I was married, with two young children, and I had to work full time.
Now, again, going to go back to school to pursue a Master in Public Health, I understand that I will have to go through the years of learning ands study. The fact, that this education will require big efforts from me, is evident. However the reasons, that determined my choice, are serious. I’m working as an Infection Control Nurse. This is the most rewarding job I ever done. I had the challenge of preventing infections on our burn soldiers. There is so much to learn and research in this field. Most guidelines available do not pertain to this population. With this education, I will be more prepared to promote health, prevent disease and improve the quality of life of our burn population. I would like to be prepared to help and confront emergencies and disasters. These reasons are worth becoming a student again in spite of whatever difficulties! I believe that this education will enable me to improve my knowledge, to develop my skills and will help me to attain my goals, both professional and personal.
I am used to overcome obstacles. My parents showed me with their own example that one should tirelessly seek to achieve the goals. When I was studying at the University of Massachusetts, our family had hard times. My entire family was struggling in silence. Many nights we went to bed crying, and wondering if we were going to make it the next day. However, my parents raised overachievers; we will not give up without a fight!
I never stop at what has been accomplished. I got used to pursue my goals even through the most challenging environment. Working as laboratory assistant in Massachusetts and Florida, I climbed the ladder from the bench work to team leader to supervisor. I participated in the merge of 12 hospital microbiology laboratories, and trained new personnel in Microbiology. I participated in the identification of the first B. anthracis case in the United States.
After years of working there, when I decided to become a Registered Nurse, my mother, my husband, and my nurse student partner supported me. I was able to accomplish my ASN in two years. They encouraged me every semester not to give up and the results will be rewarding for my family. In March 2005, I passed my Registered Nurse boards, and joined the Neonatal Tract of the Perinatal Preparation Program for neonatal intensive care unit. I became a NICU RN. At this time, I was a member of the Infection Control Committee, and volunteer in the Infection Control Department. I decided to combine both of my careers as microbiologist and nursing. After doing this job for a while, I started thinking about the possibility of pursuing a Master in Public Health.
I remember how difficult it was going back to school for my RN. Therefore, I decided to pursue an online Master in Public Health. Once I proved that I had the discipline and commitment for an online course. I decided to take a statistic course online. I want it to know if I had the discipline and commitment for an online course. I enjoyed this class. I studied on my own pace and time. I achieved an outstanding grade in this course.
Today I need to find enough free time to work and study simultaneously. Combine work and study is a juggling act. Online education does not require visiting lectures, and so I will be able to decide by myself how many hours I can devote to my study.
I understand that the success depends on my own efforts. I understand the importance and the responsibility of my work. My work experience is an important stage of my professional improvement, which enables me to be sure of myself and of my actions. I have lived through anthrax scare in Massachusetts, hurricane disasters in Florida, and H1N1 pandemic flu in Texas.
My work experience in such conditions allows me to perform my work in Public Health area at a high level. I had many achievements in my life, but every time as I’m going to engage in a new activity, I gear up that I will work a lot and productively to achieve my goal. To be a person, who cares about doing their best at whatever they do – this is what I base my life on. I have an active position in life. I feel that I can do more, that I can make the best of situation. And my life story and experience prove that I am capable of accomplishing significant objectives. Often, I encountered obstacles which I considered to be unsurpassable. However, opportunities like this scholarship come along, and I can see the possibility of attaining my goal.