For 23 years, Lydia Sierra spent her days tracking shooting stars and the position of the sun as she navigated million-dollar ships. A quartermaster in the Navy, her main focus was getting each ship and crew safely from point to point.
Upon her retirement from the Navy, Sierra decided to fulfill a life-long dream of becoming a nurse and enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Chamberlain’s Jacksonville campus.
While nursing school may seem like a far cry from the Navy, Sierra has found one area of common ground between Chamberlain College of Nursing and the military:
“The one for all, all for one, mentality at Chamberlain is the same as you get in the military,” Sierra said. “There’s that same cohesion. You’re never going it alone here unless you want to be going it alone.”
Below, Sierra shares the lessons she’s learned during her time in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, with the hope it will help the next class of Chamberlain students:
- Commit 100%
“You have to be strong coming into nursing school and figure out your priorities. I would suggest you cut back on work if it’s possible and you’re financially sound. If you do scale back your work, you will have to budget.
If nursing is where your heart is, don’t use an excuse. You have to go ahead and start. This program is without a doubt, a no brainer. You put into it three years and you get out of it a Bachelor’s degree and become a registered nurse.”
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
“There’s no secret recipe to success in nursing school. You have to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. It’s ever-evolving.”
- Take advantage of the available resources
“Use the Center for Academic Success, the staff, your peers and seniors. If you don’t understand something, ask. The only stupid question is the one not asked.
I can walk up to anyone and say ‘Hey, I don’t understand this, can you show me?’ That includes professors—they want to see you succeed. Everything is lined up for me to succeed here. The only thing that could ever hinder that success is me—and I know that.”
- Get involved
“I’ve gotten to know a lot of people at Chamberlain. Besides the fellowship and camaraderie involved when you join a student group, it also drives home the talk and terminology of nursing. You don’t sit there and talk about the weather, you sit there and talk about nursing.
There’s always something going on around campus. If you’re not involved then it’s your choice —it’s yours for the taking.”
- Lean on your support network
“I’m the mother of three girls and one boy, and they’re all behind me 110%. Their daily encouragement is paramount.”
Above all else, Sierra says she keeps the end goal in mind.
“I was put here to serve,” Sierra said. “I was put here to help others. This is the path I need to be on.”