I just graduated from Boston College this past May, earning my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This past summer, I took the NCLEX-RN examination and passed- making me an official registered nurse! With a great passion for Women’s Health, I am now attending University of Pennsylvania’s (Penn) graduate nursing school, specifically the Women’s Health/ Gender Related Nurse Practitioner program.

Savita Sukha with graduate students from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing at the Harvard Business School Healthcare Conference

Post-graduate life has brought a lot of changes for me. I had to get used to leaving my friends, moving to a new city, and getting used to graduate school. It was a huge adjustment to be around generally older people, navigating a completely different campus, and trying to maintain being independent, as I didn’t have my former roommates or my family close to me. At first, I started to doubt myself, wondering if I was capable of going to graduate school right away in a new place without nursing experience.

I reflected on why I felt not well adjusted, realizing that I was used to being involved in extra-curricular activities and volunteering. Especially with participating in KILN, I missed attending professional conferences and making the effort to meet with nursing leaders. Furthermore, I reflected on how KILN has given me the tools to adjust. The program taught me to advocate for myself, strive to stay connected to others, and be ambitious to try to take on a new role. KILN inspired me to not only wish to be a leader, but to just do it! I reflected on all the great events I got to be a part of because of KILN and how it helped me grow. Remember that time I went to a conference as a mere undergraduate and was so nervous about introducing myself? Remember that time KILN helped me fund a trip to present research at a conference, a task that I have never done before?

With the tools I learned in KILN, I regained the courage to get out of my comfort zone. I joined Penn’s Nursing Graduate Student Organization (GSO), an organization for Penn’s nursing masters students. Through GSO, I have met wonderful, fellow students and continue to remain friends with them. I expressed my desire to become more active in GSO, started to help them plan events, and now I am on GSO’s Executive Board as Marketing Chair. In addition, I just got back from a GSO trip to Boston/Cambridge to attend Harvard Business School’s 12th Annual Healthcare Conference.

I am involved in other initiatives on Penn’s campus. I am part of the Nursing Student Leadership Council (NSLC), and through NSLC, I am helping plan the School of Nursing’s wellness week in April. I am on the Executive Board for a new initiative called My Penn Graduate Families (#myPGFam), which is a way for graduate to be designated into smaller groups and create connections with other graduate students across all 12 graduate schools. Lastly, I am on the planning committee for the Annual West Philadelphia Health Fair, in which Penn graduate students volunteer and apply their skills learned in school to provide free care to the West Philadelphian population.

Overall, my advice to the current KILN scholars is to grow as much as you can during your participation in KILN because those skills, such as advocating for yourself, adjusting to new situations, and trying new things, will be invaluable for the rest of your life! I am grateful to be a KILN alumnus, and I wish the best of luck to all the current and future KILN scholars.