It's always nice when someone takes a minute to say you're appreciated — especially when you only have a 10-minute break from Intermediate Med Surg.
“Literally every second that I’m not here or not working, I’m studying," West Coast University nursing student Theresa Durand said before heading back to class. “But I’m super excited. I’m really glad they put this together for us. I think it’s really nice to do and give us these certificates and acknowledge all of our hard work.”
Durand was among the 40 West Coast University-Orange County students recently named to the Dean's List. She popped in to pick up her certificate and celebrate — briefly — her accomplishment with the other WCU-OC students on the fourth floor.
As Durand grabbed some snacks, other honorees chatted or helped decorate a Christmas tree. Another group sat in the corner — studying, of course.
To be named to the Dean's List, students must achieve a 3.75 GPA during the term and maintain a full-time schedule of more than six units. WCU-OC Academic Dean Anthony Poet said he especially enjoys mixing with students the first day of orientation, at graduation and at Dean's List events.
"When we hand out the achievement awards, it shows they’ve really, really excelled, grown both personally and professionally and see the value in what they’re doing," Poet said. "And they know it’s time to give back and help out the new students as they come in."
Dean Poet was joined by WCU-OC's Dean of Nursing Erica Martinez, Dean of Dental Hygiene Michelle Hurlbutt and Student Affairs Director Sherry Koshi at the event. Each praised the students' dedication and how they brought a can-do attitude to campus every day.
“It’s really intense, but you got into the program knowing it was going to be intense," WCU dental hygiene student Zaira Blanco said. "It’s about believing in yourself and being confident that you know what you've studied.”
Blaco's classmate Lauren Emrich agreed, saying the accelerated Dental Hygiene program was "tough, but doable."
“It’s a team effort," Emrich said. "It’s not just you. It’s you and your other classmates and then your professors and the dean. Everyone’s there to help, you just have to work as a team."
Emrich, who is due to graduate in October 2016, said the keys to her success were time management, stress management and sleep — lots and lots of sleep.
"For me, I need like 10 hours of sleep at night to function, so if I don’t have at least eight I’m not going to retain anything," she said.