Essay winner: Victoria College is safe place for student to learn

June 1, 2013 at 1:01 a.m.

First of all, I was born and raised in Jamaica. I left Jamaica when I was a teenager and went to live in Germany with my aunt after my mother died. Since I was the only one from my family who did not achieve any degree in college, I decided to join some of my family members here in the United States so I could attend college. They immediately enrolled me in Cy-Fair College in Houston and registered me for a summer class, which was an English class. At first, I was scared, knowing that I had left school many years ago, and I thought that I might not be smart enough or be understood because of my accent. That all changed when I learned about Victoria College.

One day, I met some of my classmates in the library, and they were applying to Victoria College Vocational Nursing School. They told me to join them because they were going as a group to live in Victoria for a year so they could attend college there, and we could all help each other with the bills. They told me my next step was to take the entrance exam, since I already had my prerequisites. It took me two attempts to pass the entrance exam, but I applied to Victoria College's Vocational Nursing Program and was accepted. I was excited and scared, but I faced the challenge and hoped VC would be the place for me.

When I got here, the staff members were so nice to me in admissions, and my adviser was happy to help me plan my future. The nursing instructors were also very welcoming to me. Victoria College has not only helped me feel at home here; it has also welcomed me in its community, family and friends. This was a different atmosphere from Houston that helped me be less homesick for Jamaica.

I was excited that I got in, but the first day of nursing school, I thought I was not going to make it - so much information was overwhelming. But, there was something different that was happening to me, which I did not understand at the time. I soon realized that when I was about to take a test, I would get so nervous and start to panic. Another problem was that I would be up all night studying, and I became depressed because I did not have enough time for friends or family. I was diagnosed with anxiety, which affects my ability to perform well on my test taking. My VC counselor stepped in and found ways to help me overcome my fears. Victoria College has helped me and given me another chance to finish my nursing degree.

My educational goal is to become a nurse in the field of oncology. I am driven by my mom's struggle with cancer and the excellent care she received; this is why I want to be a good caregiver. My inspiration to reach this goal was born and has been nurtured at Victoria College. Because Victoria College has given me another chance, I am determined to do my best to finish my nursing degree. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I will make it this time.

I am working toward reentering the nursing program in 2013 and getting an associate degree. There is one teacher who inspired me and built confidence within me through the EDUC course. She taught me how to believe in myself, set goals and motivate my inner self. Along with tutoring, Victoria College has many tools and resources that are helping me toward my education. I always feel welcome when I ask for help. The atmosphere at VC is very conducive to learning in a comfortable and friendly way. Since I have attended Victoria College, I have met good friends and helpful instructors who do not want to just teach, but they go beyond to help me be successful.

My family and I are sacrificing to pay my fees for school, so this scholarship would take a lot of pressure off of us. Sometimes, it is not easy to pay for my school fees and living expenses, but I am determined to follow the path I have set for myself, and VC is helping me reach that goal.

Denise McKellier lives in Victoria and is studying to become a nurse.



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