As people talk about their college search, most stories have that one moment of clarity–the moment when you feel like you’re home and that you belong in that certain place, and that was how I felt every time I came to visit Catholic University. I initially tour Catholic per the suggestion of my mom and when I stepped on campus for the first time, I looked over at my mom and we knew right then that this college was the one! Yes, I came back for three more tours, but it was really because I was excited and wanted to take up every chance to come back to campus. Plus, each tour gave me new perspective of what the University had to offer.
Each visit to campus proved to me more and more that this was the best place for me. I met the person who is now my advisor, Megan Podboy, and Megan helped us learn more about the structure of the program and everything that the School of Nursing had to offer. I toured the facilities and she explained how clinical rotations work and the role of the HESI exam. Each time meeting with the faculty and staff, I could tell the genuine care they held for their students. Then, on my last visit to Catholic, my dad came along to check out all that I was raving about. I wanted a chance to show him the School of Nursing so we walked around Gowan and found ourselves at the office of the Dean of the School of Nursing. Dean McMullen heard us talking with the administrative assistant because she came out of her office and invited us in to chat. We sat in her office for about an hour and after that meeting with her, my parents and I realized that Catholic University had the best nursing program for me. It was also really insightful to learn that almost every nursing professor is still a practicing nurse, so they are current on the work that is being done in hospitals, clinics, and other institutions that they are training us to work in. That was an important aspect to me. Plus, Catholic is partnered with 20 local hospitals that all have different offerings and specialties. The Nursing School rotates the students around the different hospitals so that they can really get a feel for the type of setting they will want to work in, whether it be with kids or adults, psychiatric or traditional hospital, or public or private.
On top of all of that, a piece of wisdom that everyone who’s graduated from college recently bestows is that I have to study abroad at some point, and but Catholic allows nursing students to study abroad AND graduate on time. After hearing about the exchange program to Australia and summer abroad options in Valencia, Spain, and Dublin, Ireland, I became even more excited at the idea of coming to Catholic.
As if I wasn’t already sold during my first visit, over my many trips to campus I learned about the final piece that made it so obvious to me The Catholic University of America’s School of Nursing was the right choice for me. Megan took the time to explain the Student Nurses’ Association, or SNA. SNA is a club that is comprised of a majority of the nursing students. Events are held throughout the year to bring together the nursing students, freshmen through seniors, to share experiences through service and events. Last year, I was fortunate enough to be the freshman class president of SNA, and I got to work alongside other students who had great plans to help build a community of nurses. We helped make oncology bags, traveled to foot clinics, and my personal favorite was hosting an alumni panel to meet graduates of the School of Nursing who were excelling in their fields.
After finishing my first year of nursing, I realize how happy I am here to be surrounded by a true community–faculty who want me to succeed and other nursing majors who are there to support me when the times get rough. I’m so excited to start clinicals, study abroad in Australia, and continue my journey toward my goal of being a nurse.
Graceann is a sophomore nursing student from Alexandria, Virginia. She is involved in Habitat for Humanity, Campus Ministry, College Republicans, and is the current Sophomore Class President for the Student Nurses’ Association. Some hobbies she enjoys pursuing are reading, taking naps, and working in the Office of Admission.