FSM Student Strength Stories: Life Skills-Kirsten S.

Each month, FSM features a student with strengths, skills, and resilience in each of the domains via podcast to celebrate student accomplishments and achievements and share resources with the FSM Network! Listen to the full podcast here. 

Join us as we talk to Kirsten S. about her strengths in the Life Skills Domain! Click here to download and listen.

Meet Kirsten S.!!!

What you are studying? What is your anticipated degree?

I am currently completing my first year in Oakland Community College’s nursing program. By April 2019 I will graduate as a Registered Nurse.

Tell us about your strength in this domain related to your college experience...

As a young adult that aged out of the foster care system I didn’t step back into the community setting until I was 18. Of my time spent in foster care, 6 months were spent in family homes- the rest in institutionalized settings. Thus finding stability was most significant to me. I chose to start my school career later, after making sure I had stable employment, housing, and transportation. I retained my first job in the hospital setting at 18 years old, and rented until we could buy at 21 years old.

As you can see, it took some time for me to completely establish a strong foundation to reach my goals. Part of that foundation included sustaining supportive and healthy relationships; while eliminating the negative ones. Without any biological family, I created my own family unit through my childhood best friend’s parents- I identify them as my “mom and dad.” They have helped me my entire journey thus far with their unwavering unconditional love, as well as my significant other of 6 years.

I found that it is also important to create a healthy relationship within yourself. This includes self mental health awareness. As someone that suffers from a chronic mental health diagnosis, it was/is crucial for me to make sure my mind is in order, so that I can perform my best in school, at work, and daily living in general. I do this both medically and holistically. 
Part of being holistic is making sure I have a balanced nutrition. Weekly, I prepare all our lunches and plan our dinners. My meal prepping helps eliminate excessive spending on food too. I know that most college students can agree budgeting is hard to do while balancing both work and school

All of this I could not have accomplished without having resiliency. That being said, my biggest strength in this domain is finding my resilience and hunger to be/do better than what I was I raised in.

What do you think are the biggest obstacles in this domain?

You can’t be in control of everything, things go unplanned. You have to be able to be flexible. Initially during my college career I wanted to obtain my Bachelor’s in Nursing from Oakland University. This did not happen due to mental health reasons, but rather than allowing myself to give up, I made sure to get my strengths in order before I decided to go back to school. I wouldn’t change anything -because that same year, I was accepted into Oakland Community College’s nursing program, and will be graduating end of next year with my Associate’s Degree in Nursing. 

What do you hope to do after graduation?

I plan to continue my education. After graduation, I hope to obtain a position as an Intensive Care (ICU) nurse. Simultaneously I will complete a bridge program, from my Associate’s Degree (ADN) to Bachelor’s (BSN), while making a more stable income. Once I’ve established my Bachelor’s, I will have spent 1-2 years in the ICU setting and can start applying to different Nurse Anesthetist programs, where I hope to obtain my Doctorate’s as a CRNA.   

Listen and download the full podcast now on Spreaker or iTunes!

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Fostering Success Michigan is a program of Educate Tomorrow that aims to increase access and success in higher education and post-college careers for youth with experience in foster care. Learn how you can contribute to building a holistic network that insulates (i.e., strengthens protective factors and reduces risks) the education to career "pipeline." 

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