In a conversation brimming with determination and transition, Diana shares her journey from cosmetology to nursing, illustrating the sacrifices and motivations fueling her pursuit. Her drive emanates from a deep desire to serve and care for people, a passion she initially explored through hairdressing, finding similarities between the two professions. The interview explores a pivotal shift, catalyzed by the pandemic's realities, steering her back to her long-held aspiration of becoming a nurse. Diana’s unwavering commitment, supported by Capital IDEA Houston, not only alleviated financial stress but also empowered her focus on education. Her story is a testament to her tenacity and advocates for seizing available resources, exemplifying how overcoming life’s complexities is possible with determination and support.
Through Diana's story, we can see how education initiatives in Houston are making real differences, opening doors for folks to reach their goals and build brighter tomorrows. Read on to learn more about the journey. Our interview was conducted over Zoom and was transcribed, edited, and condensed for clarity.
Jorge: Congrats on all the hard work you’ve put into completing the Nursing Program, Diana! I know you graduate in December. What lies beyond this journey for you?
Diana: Oh, wow, that is a good question! I'm almost afraid to dive into that because it's a bit overwhelming. Beyond becoming a nurse, it's about acquiring all the necessary knowledge to be an excellent nurse, to care for and serve people. I also want to continue to invest in my education. I want to be able to teach and look into pursuing my Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Will I get there? Absolutely. Will it take time? Definitely. But that's what's next for me—furthering my education in nursing, caring for people, teaching, and passing that knowledge on to those who come after me.
Jorge: That is excellent! Are you currently working or solely focused on school?
Diana: I'm primarily focused on school, but I do work one day a week at HCA in telemetry. I'm passionate about cardiology so I know I will be a cardiac nurse in the ICU.
Jorge: How did you land that job while still in school?
Diana: It came from my training in school. That’s what enabled me to apply for and secure the position.
Jorge: That’s wonderful! When did you start in the Nursing Program and then when did you start at the hospital?
Diana: August of 2022 is when I started the program and I just recently started at the hospital because honestly, you can't really work in the beginning semesters of nursing school. I started my job at the hospital at the end of this summer (2023).
Jorge: I see. Were you working more hours when you initially started at the hospital?
Diana: Yes, I had more hours initially. I work the night shift, so it’s a little more flexible.
Jorge: What about before you had entered the nursing program?
Diana: I was in cosmetology, doing hair. I feel beautifying people from the outside is still caring for people and is similar to nursing. For me, doing hair had to become more of a hobby because the income was not great, but it's something that I'm passionate about. Unfortunately, it wasn't sustaining me financially, so had to put down that tool kit to pick up another. And that was nursing.
Jorge: Okay, so what was that transition like?
Diana: Oh, it was tragic. Even though I had told my clients that I was no longer doing hair, they didn't believe it and would still call me to ask for an appointment. It was an adjustment because I love serving and caring for people. But I had to. It was basically like breaking up with all of my friends. I had to become selfish and set firm boundaries to be able to concentrate on becoming a nurse.
Jorge: That sounds difficult!
Diana: It took a while for everybody to get it. I told them about my plan as soon as I started to take prerequisites. I would tell them I was trying to get into a nursing program and continued to see clients here and there. During that time, I even failed a class because I was trying to keep up with my finances, see clients, and study. It was a struggle. It felt like playing tug of war, you know, trying to keep up. But that part of the journey is over with.
Jorge: And talk to me about the motivation it took to stay focused on this? What kept you going?
Diana: It was actually the pandemic that motivated me. It made me realize that even though I had a lot of talent for doing hair, seeing my finances, I knew it was not going to be enough. It made me realize that I needed to get out there and push myself to do something else that I was passionate about. I have a strong work ethic and it was time to put it into practice somewhere else and that was nursing.
Jorge: What convinced you to go into nursing in the first place?
Diana: I tried pursuing nursing years ago, even before I started doing hair. That was my first option. But life happens, right? Something came up and I needed something quicker. That is when I started doing hair. Nursing is not something you can start if you’re not ready. You can’t have a busy lifestyle if you want to go into nursing. Doing hair was something that came naturally to me because it was fast-paced pace, and I was meeting with different people and taking care of their needs. All that was attractive to me. So, with nursing, it was similar. I knew I could tap into that talent I have for taking care of people. That's how I knew I wanted to pursue being a nurse. I knew that I was ready and that now was my time to become a nurse.
Jorge: Being ready is also about having a support system in place. As the saying goes, “it takes a village.” What has it been like working with the team at Capital IDEA Houston?
Diana: If I could just sum up Capital IDEA Houston in one word, one simple word, it would be CARING. They care about your next level in life. Working with the whole staff is working with a caring team. You can't go wrong working with Capital IDEA Houston. Especially in cases like mine, where the goal is clear but are unsure how you are going to do it. Like you said, it takes a village. Capital IDEA Houston is the village that you need to pursue a career.
Jorge: Yes, I love that. Is there one support that you felt has been the most meaningful?
Diana: For me and probably for everyone else too, it's got to be the help with the financial burden of going to school. With that assistance, you can stay focused on whatever it is you are studying. Without it, you’re always going to be stressed and asking yourself, how am I going to pay for this? That's the best gift that anybody could ever get in life. That peace of mind and support sets people free and helps push you to the next level.
Jorge: What do you think is the biggest transformation that you have seen in yourself since that burden has been lifted?
Diana: Having the time to just focus on studying has had a huge impact. I’ve always done well on my tests and assignments and this past semester I’ve had even more support from the program which has shot my grades up even further. Thanks to this assistance I'm able to pay more attention and I never worry about any of the financial burdens that come with studying in college.
Jorge: So, was there a moment you felt your future would be different due to your efforts in the nursing program?
Diana: Absolutely. That moment is now, as I near the end of the program and get ready for graduation, I feel a significant shift. I know now that things are going to be different, majorly different.
Jorge: Definitely! And lastly, what advice would you give to someone considering going back to school?
Diana: I’d say, just go for it. There are too many resources available not to go for it. I know people have doubts because of their age and financial situation. I always start by encouraging them to apply to Capital IDEA Houston. That's the first step. Don't let life's complexities hold you back. There are people and organizations ready to help you achieve your goals.
Jorge: Excellent advice, Diana. Thank you so much for spending this time with me. Best of luck with your end-of-semester wrap-up!
Diana: Thank you. I appreciate it.
If you are ready to jump start your livelihood, join us at one of our upcoming information sessions to find out how we have helped more than a thousand students achieve self-sufficiency and get the training they needed with a sponsorship from Capital IDEA Houston: www.capitalideahouston.org/infosession