“In October 2009, my nursing advisor at Southeast Community College said they would put my name on the list, and I could probably start taking nursing classes in 2012,” recalled Damion Caudy. “I left my advisor’s office that day and thought, what am I going to do? I have a daughter at home to support. I have to go to school! Ten or fifteen seconds later, I heard an ad for the Union College nursing program on the radio.”
Her sights set on nursing school, Caudy was finishing up prerequisites during the fall semester of 2009. “As I was driving away, I told God ‘I’ve got to do something now, I can’t wait for three years,’” she said. “Even though the ad said that if I applied right away, I could start classes in January, I didn’t believe it.”
But she could not ignore the little voice in her head telling her to try. What do I have to lose, she thought. So she applied and was promptly accepted into Union College’s nursing program. Caudy graduated from Union in December 2012, and is now starting her new career within a few months of when she would have just started her education elsewhere.
“I had driven past Union for years and never even realized it was a college,” Caudy admitted. “My parents were excited. They are Catholic, so as Christians they were definitely open to faith-based education. I told them a little about Seventh-day Adventists, and they have come to a couple of events we’ve had here.” Her parents were pleased she would be earning a bachelor’s degree at Union, rather than an associate degree from community college.
“I decided to be a nurse back in high school,” said Caudy. But after graduation she only took classes here and there, working enough to pay for school as she went. “I got a job and lived paycheck to paycheck. I paid for school, then took a semester off when I ran out of money.”
Even after an unexpected pregnancy and the realization that she would be raising her daughter alone, Caudy never gave up on her education. “I decided to work until I had the baby, stay home for five or six months and then finish school,” she said. “I planned to finish before she turned five because I didn’t want to relocate after she started school.”
Now about to celebrate her daughter’s fifth birthday in February, Caudy credits God for her success. “Now that I’m done, I know God let it happen emotionally and financially,” she reflected. “Throughout my entire career, He has answered all my prayers.”
When financial difficulties arose, Taryn Rouse, Union’s assistant director of financial services, helped her find additional money, including a $10,000 grant to fund her last semester of school. “It even pays for me to take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam and for gas to and from school,” she smiled. “God has been working. Every time I struggled in class and afraid I wouldn’t pass, I ended up doing much better than I thought. Whenever there’s been a challenge in my life, financially or emotionally, someone at Union came up and give me a hug. It’s just been a blessing.”
Union’s nursing program is also committed to mentoring students and encouraging them along their academic journey. “I love my nursing instructors,” said Caudy. “They have such knowledge, patience and organization. Each one made me think through problems and come to the answer myself instead of just giving out facts.”
The small class sizes also give professors more opportunity to get to know students and work with their individual needs. “The teachers are incredible with the amount of encouragement they give,” said Caudy. “Dr. Robison [professor of English] is amazing. He really wants you to learn, and he makes the classes wonderful. I’m not a strong writer, and I don’t do well in the classroom setting. He took the time to meet with me one-on-one and taught me like a directed study.”
Caudy appreciates her time spent at Union and encourages others to consider it as an option. “I’ve recommended Union to several friends, and I would recommend it to anybody, no matter what your field of interest,” she said. “I’ve had so many opportunities I wouldn’t have other places. I was able to go to Nicaragua for a week with the Frontier Nursing class. I’d never seen the ocean or been to a different country before, and got to do it all in one day. I got to be a nurse in a developing country, and it gave me a whole different perspective. There are just so many experiences here at Union, I could talk for days.”
The next stage for Caudy will involve a lot of new experiences, but she feels well equipped to handle the challenges and possibilities the future brings. “There will be a lot of decisions in the next few weeks, but God is going to guide me and put me where He needs me to be,” she said. “It won’t be easy, but I know it’ll work out.”
If you are interested in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, don’t get stuck on a waiting list. Apply before March 1, and you can begin nursing classes in August. To find out more, contact an enrollment specialist at 402.486.2600 ext. 2343 and nursing [at] ucollege [dot] edu or visit us online.