“Applying to college is a complicated, very competitive and long process. There are so many steps that need to be completed, resources that can be tapped if known, and decisions to be made. It is a difficult process for every applicant but particularly if you are the first in your family to apply and don’t have the experience of others that went before you. Thus, CV is such an important resource that helps students every step of the way to successfully enter college and succeed in fulfilling their dreams.”
College Visions has an amazing community believing in and supporting us and one community member is Mary Cloud! She is a 11 year Rhode Island resident who has been working as a nurse for 46 years!
Read her interview below:
Could you tell me a little about yourself? (Where are you from, Where do you work/what do you do, hobbies or anything you would like to share)
I am originally from Massachusetts but lived for many years in Virginia and actually overseas in 6 different countries and 8 foreign capitals as the spouse of a diplomat. We came to Rhode Island 11 years ago, thinking it was just for a year and we would then return to Virginia but here we are still here because of our awesome jobs and the beautiful state. I have been a nurse for 46 years and I feel so fortunate to be a part of educating the newest generations of nurses at the University of Rhode Island College of Nursing. I am particularly proud of my work as the project director of a federally supported program, “Pathways to Nursing”. This is a program for students from underserved or disadvantaged backgrounds. Mainly first-generation students, the Program offers financial, academic and most importantly a sense of family to succeed in the difficult journey to become a nurse. As far as hobbies, I love to read, travel, go to the beach and be with friends and family.
What was your educational journey like?
I tell my nursing students that I took the hardest road to become a nurse but I don’t regret it for a second! I knew from when I was a sophomore in high school that I wanted to be a nurse and that I wanted a hands-on education. I therefore chose to go to a 3-year diploma program (no longer offered) which meant I would receive lots of clinical (actual time with patients) experience, but despite taking all the physical and social sciences, I would graduate with no college credits (but did become a R.N.). I then after a few years went back to school as a working mother first for my bachelor’s and then 7 years later for my master’s. Lots of studying at 4:00 am because that was the only time I didn’t have other responsibilities! I am actually still a student as I am currently completing my PhD in nursing at URI. People ask why at this point in my life am I pursuing the doctorate and my reply is: it was always a goal but going in and out of the country with my family made it impossible until now. You just can’t give up on your dreams no matter the circumstances or time in your life! Yes, it has been stressful but I have loved the stimulation and knowledge that I have gained.
What advice do you wish you had as a first-year college student?
My advice would be to have confidence in yourself and go for your dreams. Believe in yourself but don’t be afraid to reach out if you need assistance or support. Colleges want you to succeed and have many resources available to help you but you need to take the initiative to seek them out. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors with questions or further discussion of something that really intrigued or maybe confused you. You are then seen as a serious student and often leads to greater success and perhaps opportunities.
What has the past year been like for you?
I have to be honest and say that I and my family have been very fortunate and have remained employed and healthy. However, I have not been able to see one daughter, because she lives overseas, for over 15 months and that has been really hard. I miss being physically with many of my students and truthfully, I miss hugging people!! However, as more and more people get vaccinated, we will return soon to more normal life and I can’t wait!
Why did you choose to support CV students during COVID?
My husband and I have supported CV for many years but felt it was particularly important during the pandemic. COVID brought disparities starkly to light in so many ways: access to healthcare, employment opportunities and access to technology and materials needed to obtain a quality education. How can a student succeed if they don’t have quality wi-fi or a laptop or even the time to devote to studies because they have to work more hours to help support the family? I feel school systems have tried their best but the needs sometimes are too great to meet those needs and that is where organizations, such as CV can make a difference.
Do you think CV is an important resource to the community and why?
Applying to college is a complicated, very competitive and long process. There are so many steps that need to be completed, resources that can be tapped if known, and decisions to be made. It is a difficult process for every applicant but particularly if you are the first in your family to apply and don’t have the experience of others that went before you. Thus, CV is such an important resource that helps students every step of the way to successfully enter college and succeed in fulfilling their dreams.
How can CV improve?
I think CV should continue on the path they are on as it has shown to work. I look forward to when volunteers can once again be part of the students’ journey!
Is there anything else you would like to share or add?
Thank you for all that all the staff at CV does to help students fulfill their dreams and lead lives filled with promise and accomplishment.
Thank you for supporting College Visions!