Opportunity is What You Make it – Having Passion Makes the Difference

Lyla Melkerson-Watson
Adjunct Faculty, Science Department

Once upon a time, there was a Lansing area nurse’s assistant who dreamed of becoming a registered nurse. D dreamed of prestige, respect, and higher pay. Friends suggested Lansing Community College to earn her RN degree. D knew she faced challenges getting into an excellent RN nursing program, but she had passion, motivation and intelligence, and a keen desire to make a difference in the lives of others. She wanted to be an RN.

From day one, she was engaged and eager. The first exam came and went. She did poorly and was embarrassed that someone who was licensed to practice would have done so badly. We talked. Eager to succeed, she tried every suggestion, but despite all her hard work, she failed the second exam too. D was so distraught and depressed, she sought assistance for her testing anxiety. The system failed her. Though tears, she told me, “I just need some help. A little time for myself. I know this stuff. This is not that hard. I just need someone to….” I felt horrible. She was crushed and as low as a person can get. She just wanted a RN degree. She asked, ”What can I do?   I am not turning back. I am not a quitter. Please, help me.” That is just what I did.

We met every day; she studied content. She drilled, and reviewed, using every resource she could find. With her self-esteem back, she shared what she learned, formed a study group. Her passion and confidence allowed her to be responsible for her own happiness. Though she had struggled, she finished with a 4.0.

We stayed in touch while she was at LCC. She applied what she learned in my course to the rest of the courses needed for her RN. She and her study group found the tools to needed to succeed. Today, I am so very proud that D is a RN and she’s living her happily ever after!

I use D’s inspirational story every semester. She’s a class act that demonstrates that opportunity is what you make it. Opportunity has no down time and you are responsible for your own happiness. If you really want something badly enough, you are the only one to make that happen. It helps when you share a passion to teach as well as a passion to learn.