I was four years old when my family immigrated to the United States from Ukraine. It was a crazy experience and a big life change for all of us. There were many obstacles to be faced living a life completely far away from what we used to call home. It was very difficult to leave my grandparents back in Ukraine. They were a significant source of encouragement for me especially my grandfather. He was my hero. He was the main nurturer who provided a lot of encouragement and support for me in the very hard times of my life.
In times of crisis when life elt like a crashing wave, he was the one I always ran to for guidance. Like most immigrants, we didn’t know any English, therefore it was extremely hard to communicate with anyone. During this major life transition, my parents struggled a lot. It was hard for them to find a job because of the language barrier. They were overcome with the feeling of helplessness and uncertainty in a country that was foreign to them. They struggled greatly to adapt. Yet, they strived to give us a better life filled with opportunities and achievements that they didn’t have when they were growing up.
I remember their struggle was so real that one day they were contemplating to go back home. However, a few months later some very kind hearted people stepped in and offered to help us out financially so that my parents would be able to get up on their feet, find a job, and provide a living for us. From that point on, going back home wasn’t an option anymore. Both of my parents were raised in Christian homes. Their cultural beliefs in God led them to many hardships in their lives. They couldn’t go to college after high school because of religious persecutions that were happening in
Ukraine at that time. The people that believed in God weren’t allowed to get any higher education. There were also massive food shortages where they lived and many families suffered greatly. Despite these hardships, they didn’t let anything stop them from believing in God. They valued and cherished their faith and weren’t ashamed of it. Since culture is learned, my parents have taught and disciplined me the same way they were raised. The beliefs, values, norms and social practices that they have passed onto me shaped me into the person I am today.
My own cultural history enriched me greatly to pursue education and endeavor my goals in life. Knowing the fact that my parents couldn’t get any higher level education made me value the education that I have so much more, and the knowledge that I can gain without being persecuted for my Christian cultural beliefs in God. Life in this unfamiliar country went on for us. Before we even knew it, we had adapted very well in this country and became permanent residents. We learned English fairly quickly in school. My parents got good jobs and we were living fairly well.
There were many highs and lows that I faced in life. School years felt like eternity. I remember waking up on some days and thinking when will I be done. Despite my complaints, my parents continued to encourage me to keep going. Their hard life situations taught me to value education and knowledge. They’ve taught me to value it not just because it can make me successful in life with a good paying job, but because having an education will open up many doors for me in life. My junior year in high school was life changing. My dad had gotten very sick.
The doctors found a tumor in his large ntestine. Hearing that, I felt like my whole life crashed before my eyes. My dad was such a good man that sometimes I thought why something so bad, would happen to such a good person. Doctors told him he needs surgery immediately, so dad had no other choice. He went into surgery and my mom and I were there by his side the whole time. Dad needed to stay in the hospital for a full week after surgery so we each took turns staying with him. I would come from school and go to dad, and mom would leave to work. We would take turns.
This hardship was difficult for me to bare. My dad didn’t really speak any good English yet at that time, so I had to be there for him and translate everything. I knew I had to help him out. Hospital days were long. I remember sitting in a chair near my dad’s hospital bed and seeing all the nurses come in and out of his room. They were all so sweet and caring. They were all trying their best to get my dad to heal faster and get better. I remember sitting there and thinking to myself, how exhilarating it is to work as a nurse and make a difference in someone’s life every single day.
From that day on, I have always wanted to become a nurse. I decided that I was going to study nursing so that I would be able to make a difference in people’s lives one day. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always enjoyed helping people. Whether it was helping my classmates with homework, helping my mom around the house, or helping my dad with translating. I always did it from the heart. I truly think that serving others is my passion and my calling in life. I went to my counselor in high school and told her that I wanted to do running start. She gladly signed me up for it.
I did it for two years by taking prerequisites or the nursing program at Everett Community College. Today, I am still in EVCC finishing my last prerequisites. I’m working very hard to earn my pre nursing transfer degree so that I would be able to transfer. While in college, I was working at a teriyaki place six days a week. I was a first generation college student with a fulltime job. This job had a significant negative impact on my academic performance. I needed the money, but I came to a consensus that doing well in school was a higher priority. I decided to quit my job and solely focus on college.
I saw a great change in my grades. In addition, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a hospital and job shadow many nurses. I loved watching them do what they do. It fascinated me and encouraged me to work even harder. I was glad I got the opportunity to serve my community and job shadow at the same time. After I graduate, I want to leave EVCC and transfer to a University. Something just tells me to strive higher and challenge myself and not just stay in a community college forever. I believe I’m fully equipped with the knowledge that I’ve gained in my perquisite courses to enter my intended nursing major.
I’m strongly convinced that UW will help me reach my ultimate academic goal of becoming a nurse. Another personal goal of mine is to meet new people and make new friends. I love meeting new people. Life is just more interesting that way. It would be an amazing opportunity to be able to attend here and make new friends who will impact my life in a good way in the long run. I believe the passion that I have for nursing makes me well suited in fulling this ambition. But most importantly, a University of Washington degree will officially and uniquely prepare me to help others efficaciously.