“Growing up, I wanted to be a teacher, working with kids. But after working in the medical field for six years as a phlebotomist – you know, the person everyone hates – I decided a career in a medical field would be right for me,” said Kayla Downs.
“But there were so many choices! Sitting down with my NPC academic adviser, we discussed my goals and interests. She explained the pros and cons of each program of study, which proved very helpful in making my decision to go into nursing.”
With a one-year-old baby to care for at home, and a part-time job to supplement her husband’s salary, Downs is slowly working to complete the prerequisites to enter NPC’s highly-regarded nursing program. Working with her adviser, this spring Downs decided to take only 8 credits (two classes). “It’s important to get good grades.”
“Meeting with an NPC academic adviser reduces anxiety for the student about making uninformed choices,” says Downs. “And it’s okay to be uncertain; that’s part of becoming a mature adult. Try a class, and if things don’t work out, well, try another one until it’s the right fit.”
Downs says, “Your adviser will explain your options, whether to drop the class, get some free tutoring help, or stick it out and face the consequences. NPC advisers are there to help you make intelligent, informed decisions, to ensure you succeed.”
One of the nursing program prerequisites is certification as a Nursing Assistant (CNA). “My adviser told me about the scholarship program that helps pay for the testing fee. She has also pointed me to other scholarship and work study opportunities. That’s been a great help.”
Advisers also remind students of upcoming deadlines – registration, graduation and scholarships – and make referrals to the College and Career Preparation (CCP) for refresher courses or for special assistance with coursework through the Disability Resource and Access office (DRA).
Another scholarship Downs’s adviser recommended is the All-Arizona Academic Team, whose members receive tuition waivers from the Arizona Board of Regents to complete their bachelor’s degrees. “One of the criteria for the All-Arizona Team is college and community involvement,” says Downs. “So my adviser suggested I become involved in SGA (NPC’s Student Government Association), since that would look good on the application. I was concerned at first about the extra time it would require, but I’m loving working with other students at the various campuses and centers.”
Downs submitted a letter of interest, and was selected to attend a national student leadership conference. “I would encourage other students to join SGA or one of the other clubs and organizations on campus. It is good to be involved, working for a good cause.”
While it is not required for her nursing degree, Downs is following her adviser’s recommendation and will complete the Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC). The AGEC block of general education credits is guaranteed to transfer to the state’s three public universities and forms the foundation of the Associate of Arts (AA) degree. “I plan to have my AA in my pocket before entering the nursing program,” says Downs. It gives me another avenue, just in case, to maybe become a teacher after all.”
Downs, who recently was hired as the part-time secretary for the DRA and Show Low campus advisers, admits she frequently asks for their opinions. “Am I on track as a student? And they’ll give me an honest answer.”
Downs advises her fellow students, “Don’t go it alone! Your adviser knows what needs to be done to accomplish your goals. They’ll help you get there through proper course selection, saving you time and money. Make your appointment or stop by today!”