Shantel Rodriguez is one busy mother. The West Coast University-Los Angeles nursing student is president of the Student Veterans Organization on her campus, secretary treasurer for the National Student Nursing Association and student technician for the VA hospital, in addition to being a mom, wife and grandmother.
“Sometimes it can feel a bit much but what works for me is to have a schedule and not deviate from it - if at all possible,” Shantel said. “The semesters are ten weeks long and it goes by quickly so you have to plan for the whole 10 weeks.”
At 45, Shantel made the switch into nursing after a career first as a mom to her five children, and also serving in roles as a certified nursing assistant, phlebotomist, and working for the Marine Corps while her husband was serving.
“I always knew I wanted to be a nurse,” Shantel shared. “I was one of 17 kids in my family, right in the middle so I was always the one everyone went to and I liked helping.”
Now that her kids are college age and well into their own careers, Shantel decided it was her time to go back and fulfill her childhood dream.
“I never felt fulfilled in my other jobs except when I was helping people in the Marine Corps,” Shantel said. “Even though I knew it would require years of school, I talked it over with my husband, we got organized and when I found out I could start West Coast sooner than traditional college and finish my nursing degree in half the time, I signed up right away.”
On track to graduate with her bachelor of science in nursing in April 2022, Shantel is excited about her career and hopes to pursue her master’s degree so she can get into teaching, after working in the field for a few years.
“Going into nursing fulfills that need for me to make a difference and help people,” she said. “I want a challenge and want to stay young and I don’t care that I’m in my 40s. I want to work and I enjoy nursing.”
Shantel’s advice to other students parallels the advice she tells herself daily, “Just keep swimming.”
“As long as it’s something you want, you can do it,” she shared. “The program is challenging, hard and frustrating sometimes but if it’s something you want, you push through it and motivate yourself because you know you’re working for that end goal.”