Great Leader, Aspiring Nurse

“While Goshen College was never at the top of my list of colleges to attend, going to a college period was. As a first-generation student, I felt the responsibility to uphold the title of “the one who succeeds” in her education, the role model who will set the example for others to follow. While I did not necessarily comprehend the demands of college, my family members motivated me to strive for the best in life through my education. Despite having a good academic performance at Concord High School, I doubted myself and was not confident that I could uphold the same level of performance at a college. Many first-generation Latino students often delay enrollment in a college after high school, work full-time while attending college, attend college part-time, and/or begin their undergraduate at a local community college (which was the path I was headed towards until I heard about the CITL scholarship). Whether I believed myself as college material or not, CITL provided me the opportunity that I needed to attend a college that was close to home, had a respectable nursing program, was welcoming and friendly, and helped students academically and financially. CITL relieved a huge burden on my family and myself and completely changed my attitude towards the known “hippie” campus life of GC. I am proud to say that I am now moving onto my fourth and final year at GC. These past three years have been a wild rollercoaster ride and a learning process being able to juggle the demands of school, work, social life, family, and so on. Time management, family and academic support, using student resources, having a group of peers to relate to and share experiences with, and being involved on campus have helped me tremendously throughout these past three years.

With regards to guidance, my family has and will always continue to be the biggest influence in my life. Family education is the earliest form of education a child receives; our caregivers are essentially the teachers that guide and provide assistance throughout all of life, not just during schooling years. In my opinion, family education plays a central role in a person’s success and development–which is why I am proud to say that I am who I am and I am where I am because of the grand support system I have with ALL of my family members (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins … which in my family alone is A TON of family members). My family has given me the impetus and strength I need to continue and flourish in my education; they are the motivators that helped shape my goals, interests, expectations, and most importantly, my identity. I cannot stress enough the importance of family support in an individual’s education; for a good relationship helps foster achievement and contentment in life. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the dedication, support, and unconditional love I have received from all of my family members throughout my education. The Lord has blessed me so.

During my college experience I have been a part of: the Latino Student Union (as a leader) and MAO Leadership Academy for two consecutive years (2010-2011 and 2011-2012), Made to Worship (2009-2010), Goshen College Nursing Student Association member (2010-2011 and 2011-2012), and I have tutored and mentored (mainly in 2009-2010 and 2011-2012). I have also been a member in other various student organizations on campus, but none as serious as LSU. Through CITL I have been a part of Goals for the Future, peer mentored incoming CITL participants, helped out with Sones de México and Celebrate Scholars Day and CITL parties … my mind is drawing up on a blank at the moment with other CITL events (I promise, CITL students take part in various events and activities on campus). In November 2010 I was awarded and represented Goshen College for the “Realizing the Dream” award given by Independent Colleges of Indiana as a first-generation college student in recognition for outstanding academic and leadership achievement. I was among 30+ students from across Indiana to be honored at a banquet held in Indianapolis and received a grant for myself and for a teacher of my choosing.

This upcoming and last school year of my undergrad I will be on the GCNSA board as Chair of Committee thanks to my fellow nursing peers who elected me to be on the board. With regards to SST I had to take another route to meet my SST requirement by taking alternative classes–I would have loved to study abroad, experiencing a culture other than my own in such an authentic way, but there were conflicts with my nursing schedule. However, I do not discard the possibility that in the future I will be able to go abroad to have that desired and much needed experience. After all, it is important to challenge ourselves and to step out of our comfort zones to have a different understanding of the world around us.

My goals for the future are to: (1) actually finish my undergrad at GC and receive my BSN [big one there, huh?]; (2) travel abroad [my heart is set on España]; (3) help my siblings in their education after high school so they too can attend a college/university; (4) find a job that I will love in the field of nursing [at the moment I am indecisive on what part of nursing I want to engage myself in]; (5) attend to as many concerts as I can and while I can [so I’m a concert junkie]; (6) live life day to day and with happiness [life is too short to constantly worry about work and paying bills. We must learn to appreciate good company with our loved ones and the earth God created for us]; (7) and if given the opportunity, my education will continue. After this I confidently lay my life in the hands of God so that he can direct me to the right path that’s meant for me.”

Cecily Valdez from Elkhart, IN
4th Year Nursing Major                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Leader of Latino Student Union (LSU)