I have a confession… the University of San Francisco was not on my radar before my junior year of high school. That would change one unassuming day in the Fall of 2014 when a USF pamphlet slid into my mailbox. With the promotional material in hand, I was immediately intrigued by the banner message of “Change the World from Here.”
From an early age, I was driven by a desire “to do the most good” and help others. Often, I found myself drawn towards the heroic efforts of first responders during natural disasters, in places like New Orleans and Japan, as a frame work of how I can best fulfill my aspirations. I envisioned myself in the world of healthcare, helping others and gaining a better understanding of how the body and world works.
Much like a Love Island contestant, I thought that USF “was just my type on paper.” With that in mind, I excitedly applied to USF’s School of Nursing and Health Professions (SONHP) to become a nurse!
When it came time to start my USF journey, I had little to no context to what being a nurse meant. For some background, I am the first in my family to enter the world of healthcare – leaving me with no personal resources to inquire about the nursing field. My understanding of what working in a hospital was largely limited to shows like Grey’s Anatomy or Scrubs. Despite this knowledge gap, I was introduced to the concept of cura personalis, or “care for the whole person,” during orientation and appreciated this as a foundational value that could help me fulfill my goal of helping others.
Early on, I was pleasantly surprised by the willingness of mentors to help better inform me what my SONHP experience might be like and provide support. I found these mentors in places like the Nursing Student Association (NSA), Male Student Nurses Society (MSNS), and Tri Gamma Nursing Society. They encouraged me to seek opportunities and new experiences.
In Fall 2017, I participated in the Western Addition & Camphora Immersion program. This opportunity allowed us to compare and contrast social determinants of health in the Western Addition to other areas of San Francisco, as well as in migrant camps in Monterey County. In the same spirit of exploring health inequities, I led a 2-week trip to Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, through Volunteers Around the World in January 2020. Our team consisted of students from USF, UC Berkeley, Cornell, Rutgers, and Stony Brook, as well as local doctors and community organizers. We provided assistance to 5 different clinics in and around Jarabacoa.
Starting in Spring 2018, I joined the USF EMRS team to help provide students of the University of San Francisco emergency medical care through a response service on the weekends. During this time, I began increasing my involvement with NSA and MSNS, eventually serving as President of both organizations. During my time as NSA President, I organized a $3,100 donation to the Department of Public Safety to fund the creation of earthquake kits for on-campus residents.
Outside of my professional development, USF enabled me to grow more as a person. In my free time at USF, I would go on runs through Golden Gate Park or the Presidio, rock climb at Movement SF, and explore downtown for photography. When my schedule enabled it, I signed up for elective courses that were engaging and unique. Two of my favorite classes were Nature Immersion and Healthy Cooking: Serving Vulnerable Populations. In these courses, I gained a greater appreciation for the power of healing through clean environments and food.
USF presented the opportunity to seek my curiosities, explore new perspectives, and become the most fully realized version of myself I could hope to become. I am very grateful and proud of my time at USF and the nursing program. I found some incredible friendships through the organizations and was consistently amazed and inspired.