From Caring About my Grades to Caring for Other People

Andrew 250x250

Andrew Richardson

Andrew always knew that he wanted to be a nurse. When the time came to pick a college, he looked all around the mid-Atlantic to find nursing programs that were the right fit. Then, he learned about the University of Maryland School of Nursing program offered at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). It quickly rose to the top of his list, not just because the top-rated program was right in his backyard, but because of the high marks it received from his friends who were already on campus. They told him that the classes were smaller than a typical main campus, and as a result, they got to know their professors and colleagues.

“I was concerned about choosing a school with a good student to teacher ratio, and that personal touch from the professors was one the golden nuggets – something that stood out from other schools – that helped me make my decision,” says Andrew.

“When I came across the Universities at Shady Grove, I realized they had exactly what I needed, right here in my backyard.”

Once on campus, Andrew discovered that the professors were just as invested in their students’ success as his friends described. The close-knit cohorts and direct contact with the faculty provided the perfect environment for Andrew to learn and grow. “USG had a personal touch unlike any other campus,” Andrew says.

It wasn’t just his professors that were invested in Andrew’s success: staff at the Career & Internship Services Center taught him how to talk with recruiters and network in the professional field; the Center for Academic Success provided support for writing resumes and papers; and the Center for Student Engagement & Financial Services helped him navigate the scholarship application process. Everywhere Andrew turned on campus, there was someone ready to help him pursue his goal of becoming a nurse.

But, Andrew says that the number one thing that stood out to him upon coming USG was seeing that there were 9 universities, on 1 campus. “I think the beauty of USG is that you have 9 different universities to collaborate with,” says Andrew. “I think that’s a very unique aspect of this campus; I mean, where else can you find that?”

USG’s unique structure fostered a sense of camaraderie on campus, where each student had the ability to interact with students from different majors and universities. In fact, Andrew and his nursing peers frequently worked with the students in the Doctor of Pharmacy and Masters of Social Work programs. Together, they learned how they could work as a team in a clinical setting to help patients, just as they would when they graduated.

“I loved studying at USG because it gave me all the avenues I needed to be successful, and it was a one-stop-shop to achieving the career that I wanted – becoming a nurse,” Andrew says. One of the mandatory requirements for all University of Maryland School of Nursing students is participation in clinicals, and Andrew started his at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Using both the technical and networking skills that he learned at USG, Andrew excelled in his position and connected with the right people, who helped him land his current full-time job as a clinical nurse at the University of Maryland Medical Center right after graduation.

“To have a goal written on paper, then get into the dream school that you wanted to get in to, then walk across that graduation stage, and to now be working in the field that I always believed I belonged in, is just amazing,” says Andrew. “And that’s all thanks to USG.”

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