Seeking his third degree from South Texas College
Student of the Week: Christopher Gonzalez
A highlight for me was being with my friends throughout the program. You’re attending classes together and aiming for the same goal. I appreciate how supportive we were to each other and helping each other find the motivation to keep on going.
Christopher Gonzalez, 23, said he dreamed of creating a bright medical professional career for himself and saw the opportunity to accomplish that at South Texas College.
Gonzalez, of Mercedes, has completed both the Vocational Nursing (LVN) program and, most recently, his Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) at STC. He is currently studying for an Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNCL).
“I really enjoyed my time at STC,” Gonzalez said. “I did my (nursing program) pre-requisites at the Mid-Valley campus and I completed my associate degree at the Nursing and Allied Health campus in McAllen. God willing, I pass it (eNCL) in February and can continue with my bachelor’s education this summer.”
The STC ADN program prepares students with the skills necessary to become practitioners in the health care field and work in hospitals, day-surgery centers, rehabilitation centers, physicians’ offices and home health care agencies. Students who complete their ADN and become licensed registered nurses have the opportunity to return to STC to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, which focuses on leadership, critical thinking, management and supervision and includes research and evidence-based courses.
The STC Registered Nurse-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN) Program was designed to respond to the increased demand for baccalaureate-level nurses in Hidalgo and Starr counties. The program is also offered 100% online, which can be accommodating for working nurses.
Gonzalez said he found that STC puts an emphasis on teamwork – a lesson he will carry with him when he enters the health care field. And, he will always appreciate the work he accomplished with his classmates and the bonds they created, both academically and socially.
“A highlight for me was being with my friends throughout the program,” Gonzalez said. “You’re attending classes together and aiming for the same goal. I appreciate how supportive we were to each other and helping each other find the motivation to keep on going.”
Gonzalez said he initially chose the Mid-Valley campus for a variety of reasons, including its quality of instruction, low cost and proximity to home. But, STC wasn’t a college he knew much about growing up.
“To be honest, I didn't know anything about this college until one of my counselors in high school gave me a whole walkthrough,” Gonzalez said. “What stood out to me the most were the employees here. They were super nice and super encouraging.”
Gonzalez said he was able to explore several health care career options while at STC.
“When I first started here I wanted to be a chiropractor, but decided that it was too much and too long of a program for me, personally,” Gonzalez said. “I went to my advisor to see what other degrees or programs were available that I could accomplish in a shorter period of time, and she advised me to look into nursing. That ended up being a much better fit. The nursing classes were pretty challenging, but I managed to pull through it all.”
Gonzalez said his clinicals were especially intense because of the workload they required. But, the experience strengthened his time management skills.
“Time management is so important,” Gonzalez said. “We had to wake up at 5 in the morning, get ready and be at clinicals by 6:30 a.m. and then do an eight-hour shift. We had to also complete documentations and still study for our exams afterward.”
Gonzalez said through the blur of busy days and nights he is most grateful for family and friends who always pushed him to do better. He also dedicated all his academic success to his parents.
“I would encourage students to stay motivated and not give up,” Gonzalez said. “Especially in the nursing program. I know it’s going to be difficult, but in the long run it’ll all be worth it.”