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When I started applying to colleges, I didn’t have the slightest clue about what I wanted to major in, let alone any idea of what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. “Be a doctor!” my father said. “No, no, you should definitely be an interior designer,” stated my mother. “Well personally, I don’t even think you should go to college. Just be the neighborhood cat lady. You’d be good at that,” my younger brother declared, with a slight smirk on his face. None of those options appealed to me. So I delayed any career decisions, and began my collegiate journey at the school of Arts and Sciences at Boston College.

During my first year of college, I took several interesting and enlightening core classes, but none of them particularly sparked my interests. By second semester many of my classmates began officially declaring their majors, but I still had no idea what I wanted to do. That is, until I ended up talking to a nurse at a school event. She sounded like she sincerely loved her job, and listed the endless opportunities available to nurses. There were so many options, from working with infants or adults, to working in emergency rooms or maternity. In the end, I would have the option to pick a job doing what I wanted to do, where I felt most capable.

I’ve always had a passion for helping others. I may not come up with a cure for cancer, but I can provide care and compassion to those fighting the battle of their lives. As a nurse, you give the gift of kindness and selflessness while providing optimal care during the patient’s hospitalization process. Few other professions enable you to form a special bond with those you’re working with and share what may be the saddest or the happiest moments in a person’s life. For example, delivering a newborn and seeing the look on a glowing mother’s face as she holds her child for the first time is beyond words. Just being present and available for that person is one of the greatest gifts that you, as a nurse, can give to a patient. By merely letting those who are most vulnerable know they are not alone and that they are cared for is something that is of true importance. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that you’ve made such a profound impact in someone’s life just by being there and letting him or her know that you genuinely care.

To this day, all the nurses I have encountered have expressed their love for the nursing profession and acknowledged that if they were to go back and do everything over again, they would choose nursing every single time. Mother Teresa once said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” She couldn’t have said it any better. Nurses are not miracle workers. They can’t cure life-threatening diseases with the blink of an eye or with a simple remedy. However, in addition to providing optimal healthcare, nurses can offer the love and compassion that gives their patients the hope and inspiration they may need on their journey towards recovery. Small gestures—such as holding a hand during a painful procedure or smiling upon entering a room—have an immeasurable influence on a patient’s well being. Having the opportunity to give this hope to patients—regardless of age, gender, race, or circumstance—is the primary reason why I chose nursing school.