SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Garcia’s call to care

MINOT, N.D. – From a young age, Vanessa Garcia Garcia knew she wanted to help people.

At the age of 14, Garcia was hospitalized with pancreatitis. Throughout her hospital stay, she became enamored by the quality of care and attention to detail the nurses provided for her. She used her stay to learn as much as she could about helping people and how to become a nurse one day.

“I saw the nurses, how caring they were, and how much of an impact they actually have on their patients. I remember asking them, how do you become a nurse? Is it hard? What classes do you have to take?” Garcia said. “Ever since that day, I started researching it. I got into the classes, and I became really interested in how the body functioned, one little thing led to another and another. That’s how I fell in love with nursing.”

The San Antonio native’s journey to Minot State University was a combination of high recommendations and a missed deadline of opportunity. Although she didn’t plan on attending MSU, she is happy that she did.

“I heard from my uncle that MSU had an amazing nursing program, and it was highly recommended. I was previously going to go to San Antonio, but I forgot to pay this fee and got rejected. I last minute applied to Minot State, and I got accepted,” Garcia said. “It's honestly been amazing. I'm really happy that it led me to Minot State University, and that I landed here.” 

Garcia is the first in her family to pursue a four-year degree. She was able to use the TRiO Student Support Services and join the POWER program. The TRiO Scholar then had the opportunity to help students by becoming a Peer Mentor in the POWER Center. 

“I mentor in anatomy and physiology one and two, math, Spanish, and I also help other students at our nursing school,” she said. “The POWER community is absolutely amazing. All the workers are so sweet. I love the environment, but I also like helping the students.

“It's the moment when they're like, ‘Oh my gosh, I know this now’ or ‘Oh, I actually learned something.’ I know how hard it is when you put so much effort into something, and you don't get it. But once you finally get it, it's like a huge relief. When students get that, it makes me really happy for them.”

Helping four to five students a semester, averaging 20 hours a week, she even helped students study outside of her more experienced areas.

“Sometimes I help with studying strategies even if it's not even my topic,” said Garcia. “I'll still help them find ways to learn because, in nursing school, I found many ways to help me learn. I'll sit with them, search up topics, and then I'll go over it with them along with the video or their notes. Sometimes I'm just there for support.”

The nursing major is excited to return to San Antonio but is thankful for her time at Minot State and the connections she made. 

“It's been so amazing,” Garcia said. “Everyone here is absolutely nice and sweet. They're so willing to help, saying stuff like ‘If you need anything, let me know.’ I came here pretty much on my own and I didn't know anyone my first semester here. Everyone I've met has impacted my life so much and made it so much better.

For Garcia, the Nursing Department at Minot State has become family. The faculty, with their natural affinity, constantly cared for and checked in on Garcia and her fellow students, just like the nurses who spurred her passion for the career so many years ago.

“The nursing department honestly is so supportive. A lot of them feel like family to me. They're always there for you,” she said. “The fact that they always notice you, they're like, ‘Oh, hey, Vanessa. How are you doing?’ They actually care about you, not just about your studies but also your well-being, mentally and physically, and they're always willing to work with you.

“They make sure you succeed, which is really important. It's an amazing nursing program.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 05/06/24   

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