Tiffany Chen, Age 37
Stay positive and stay strong. I believe we all get second chances; third chances. I’m pretty much living proof of that.
Currently in the process of working with her Success Coach to get back to college and complete her Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) degree. Presently working as a certified nurse's assistant in a burn unit in a hospital in Bakersfield, California.
Q. Did you always want to be a nurse?
No! When I was little, I wanted to be in advertising. Nursing wasn’t even a thought.
Q. What happened to change your mind about your educational goals?
I started college after high school taking business classes. Then I got sick; really sick. It went on for weeks, and then I went to the hospital and they started to freak out because I had an overlarge heart, my kidneys were failing, and my blood pressure through the roof. That’s when I was diagnosed with lupus. I was 20 years old.
My family was a mess. I was a mess, but I was trying to stay strong. I’ll never forget there was this amazing nurse who was with me. She gave up her breaks during her shifts to be with me. She saved my life. After I got better, I decided that’s what I wanted to do--be a nurse and help people.
Q. What steps did you take to become a nurse?
I literally looked into a phone book and picked a nursing school. I still wasn’t feeling well, but I survived through it all and finished and graduated with an associate degree from Carlos Stritch University in Milwaukee (WI). I was 24. But then my mom got sick, and then my grandmother. I spent the rest of 20s and some of my 30s taking care of my family. At one point, I relapsed and my lupus came back. I could barely walk. While I was recovering, that’s when I really started to think about going back to school to get a BSN. I just wasn’t really sure how I was going to manage everything and go back to school.
Q. How did you find out about ReUP Education’s services?
I actually didn’t. ReUp contacted me. They wanted to know if I was interested in completing my degree, and I said yes! Courri, my Success Coach, has been great. He’s getting me mentally prepared for what’s to come and what to expect. He’s making sure I’m doing the right things to get ready to go back to school and helping me manage my time, and making sure that I’m taking care of my health. He’s always checking in on me to make sure I’m on track and showing me all these different financial options and grant options that I didn’t even know about! Basically, he’s helping me with everything I need so I can reach my goal and get my degree!
Q. How likely would you be to recommend a Success Coach to someone who’s interested in getting his or her degree?
I definitely would recommend talking to a Success Coach to anybody who wants to go back and finish college! I have so much going on in my life, especially with my family and my work. I’ve had so many setbacks. I don’t know where I'd be right now if I hadn’t gotten that call.
Q. What advice do you have for a student who is considering re-enrolling in college?
Don’t give up. Stay positive and stay strong because we all should get second chances, third chances, even more! Every time I’ve gotten sick--when I relapse--I’ve gotten another chance. At my work in the burn unit, when I see people who are burned really badly, and they don’t want to go on, I always tell them to never give up.