2021 Scott Wright Student Essay Contest Winner Ophanise Gelin

Ophanise Gelin

2021 SEC Winner
Ophanise Gelin

2016 SEC Winner Paloma Marinelarena

God-Sent Angel

Since the age of 11, I have always known that I would become a nurse. However, I knew that making that dream become a reality would be extremely difficult because of the horror stories I heard about nursing school growing up. Fast forward 12 years, and after losing my father to cancer, taking care of a bedridden mother, and caring for a brother with sickle cell anemia, I finally decided to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse. I knew that I needed to better myself because my family depended on me, and I also needed to honor my family name by being a first-generation college graduate.

After many attempts, I finally got accepted into nursing school and quickly realized that the horror stories I heard as a child might have been true; nursing school was challenging. To make matters worse, I had to make it through school during the COVID 19 pandemic — petrifying. I can clearly remember going into the third semester of nursing school, freaking out because of the lack of clinical experience I had and honestly wanting to give up. This his is when I met a God-sent angel. Professor Little was always there for me when I needed her the most. I could recall having a mentor meeting with Professor Little one day and telling her how stressed I was about the lack of clinical experience I had thus far. She allowed me to express my frustration and then let me know that there will be obstacles in life, and to overcome them, I must remain focused and have a strong determination. She said I would get the proper training eventually, not to worry, that things would work out. She also told me that the pandemic was beyond my control and that I needed to be hopeful. She reminded me that I was not in this alone and that she was there if I needed her. Some may not see the significance of her words, but they meant the world to me.

Professor Little goes above and beyond for her students. She stated to me one day, “I am only one email or one text away; I will reply to you as quickly as possible,” and that she did. I would brag about Professor Little to my classmates, thinking that I was the only student she replied to in an expedited matter, but they would tell me that she did the same for them. I was so amazed that she would make herself available to all her students in that way.

Professor Little has such a calm approach to every issue which places my mind at ease. She is such a compassionate person who always has a smile on her face. I am currently in my fourth semester of nursing school because of her. I did not give up because of her loving words. I am grateful to have met such an outstanding professor. I genuinely want to become a nurse with such grace as Professor Little has.