My name is Gianni Montero, and I am honored to be your student speaker for Accepted Students Day. I am a fifth semester MSN (Entry into Nursing) student, and just two years ago, I was in your shoes. Now, I have about 28 days left until I complete the program and 46 days until graduation, but who’s counting?
I’m going to share with you how my journey started. Although this is a two year program… this dream of mine was 15 years in the making.
Here is a picture of me at 10 years old, taken the day of my first surgery. No one aside from my parents and my little brother has ever seen it. I bet you’re wondering why a 10-year-old is cheesing so hard? Because I don’t think any 10-year-old, or any person for that matter, would be flashing their pearly whites like this before surgery.
It was the anesthesiologist.
She noticed how terrified I was going into surgery and offered me security, guidance, and reassurance that helped me feel more comfortable. I was confident that everything would be okay under her care. Looking back at this picture… I wanted to become a nurse anesthetist to care for my patients the same way she cared for me.
From that day on, whenever anyone would ask what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would proudly answer, “I want to be the doctor that puts people to sleep.”
Welcome to nursing school
Like most things in life, nursing school is not easy. You’re coming into the unknown; this is easily the most challenging thing I have ever pushed myself through. But I have come out stronger, braver, more intelligent, confident, and more importantly, filled with more compassion. As will you.
Here is some advice that will help you on your way.
Don’t forget your reason why.
You may have a bad day at clinical, or not get the grades you wanted after studying religiously, or have imposter syndrome – still remember your why! It will guide you through everything that is coming your way. Because nursing school requires hard work, dedication, and commitment. As well as late nights followed by early mornings, an overwhelming amount of stress and pressure, and maybe some tears.
Find your village.
I never stepped foot outside the state of Texas before moving to Baltimore. I left behind my family, whom I call my village, and their unconditional love and prayers got me here. I honestly didn’t think I would find that kind of support again, especially starting as the first COVID class in fall 2020, but I did. And they are so much better in person than when I met them in their tiny Zoom boxes!
Your village will not only consist of friends, but your SON faculty, professors, tutors, clinical instructors, and preceptors… the list goes on and on! So, please do me a favor and introduce yourself to the people around you. It will be the start of beautiful friendships, the foundation of your own villages that will carry you through nursing school.
Run your race.
Don’t compare yourself to others. You will hear about their successes and achievements. You may find yourself thinking or saying, “I am not good enough.” You deserve to be here, you are smart enough, and you will achieve whatever you set your mind to. Again, run your race; we all start somewhere but will cross the same finish line.
Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how big or small. It will be the best feeling in the world getting your white coat, then completing your first round of sign-offs for foundations and acing a pathophysiology exam in your first semester. You’ll learn how to pronounce a drug class name correctly, like Thiazolidinediones, in pharmacology your second semester.
In your third semester, one of the most challenging semesters, you’ll survive Complex Health Alternations. Then you will move on to your time in labor & delivery in your fourth semester, and see a birth from a first-time mom and try not to tear up from the beauty of it all. In your last semester, everything you’ve worked for will come together when you earn the credentials MSN, RN. Remember to celebrate it all.
If there is one piece of advice I hope you take away from this speech, it is to enjoy the journey.
My all-time favorite quote is “good things take time.” And believe me when I tell you, time is a beautiful thing! So look back and see how far you have come… because then you can look forward and see how little time is left before you reach your dreams.
My journey isn’t over just yet, but I am that much closer to accomplishing the dream I’ve had since I was ten years old. The next chapter of my life will begin in August, right across the street, where I accepted an offer from The Johns Hopkins Hospital to start my career as a nurse. But not just any nurse, a Hopkins nurse.
And you will accomplish just as much, and more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: GIANNI MONTERO
Gianni Montero is an MSN (Entry Into Nursing) student at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. He was born and raised in Edinburg, Texas. He earned his BS in Biochemistry in 2019 from the University of the Incarnate Word while working in the Baptist & Methodist Healthcare Systems as a medical scribe; he was promoted to Clinical Trainer & Site Coordinator for Methodist Stone Oak Hospital upon graduation. After earning his MSN, he plans to gain nursing experience in critical care before earning his DNP in Nurse Anesthesia to fulfill his dream of become a CRNA.