“This isn’t working for me. I want more. I want to go back to school.”
Amber Fields—a single, working mom and caretaker without a high school diploma—remembers the day in 2018 she officially set her sights on becoming a nurse.
“I was working dead-end jobs and was tired and burned out,” Fields said. “I’ve always wanted to help people and needed a change. I started searching paths, first to earn a GED. I came across 2GEN Learning Center and was met with immediate encouragement, love, and the support I didn’t even know I needed. It was my first step in becoming a nurse and I didn’t have to take it alone.”
2GEN, which “moves families toward economic security by improving educational attainment and addressing the non-academic barriers hindering success,” helped Fields get started.
“My son attended with me, attending developmental child care,” the mom of three said. “It took me about five to six months to pass, but I got my GED in February 2019.”
From there, Fields turned her focus to enrolling at St. Clair County Community College (SC4) and applying to its Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program.
“I filled out a lot of scholarship applications thanks to the help and support of my 2GEN family and the Community Foundation,” she said. “I was surprised to learn that I ended up getting every scholarship I filled out!”
Fields enrolled at SC4 beginning in fall 2019, taking prerequisite courses needed for the nursing program. She applied and was accepted into the nursing program in 2021, but had some difficulty in one class in particular.
“Unfortunately, I ended up failing the class,” said Fields, who had also started work as a full-time nurse aide at McLaren Port Huron. “That meant I had to wait until the next year to reapply to the program. So that’s what I did.”
She persevered and restarted her journey last fall. Since then, she’s continued on her path and even has been recognized for her efforts in the program. In April 2023, she was selected as the winner of the Faculty Memorial Award continuing student, an honor chosen by the SC4 faculty and presented at the Student Recognition Ceremony.
“I’ve gotten so much confidence going back to school and going to SC4,” she said. “The classes are small and you get really close with the professors. They know you and are very willing to help you through issues and with problems.”
Fields expects to graduate from SC4 with her ADN in 2024—and already is looking into where to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
“Nothing worthwhile is easy, you just have to keep moving,” Fields said. “My dreams are coming true. I’m looking forward to heading into a rewarding career as an RN.”
For more information about applying to SC4 and registering for courses, contact the SC4 Admissions team at (810) 989-5571 or email@example.com. For more information about financial aid and scholarships—including Michigan Reconnect, a last-dollar scholarship program that pays for adult learners 25 and older to attend SC4 for free or at a reduced cost—contact SC4 Financial Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (810) 989-5530.
Photo credit: 2GEN Learning Center