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WGU Graduate Speaker, Jerlenny Perez

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Jerlenny Perez
Western Governors University
<p>WGU Graduate Jerlenny Perez spoke at the WGU Bachelor's Commencement in Las Vegas, Nevada.</p> <p>Jerlenny Perez earned her Bachelor of Science, Nursing degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Jerlenny Perez: I just wanna start off by saying that I love the camaraderie here. This is exactly why I love this school. Never felt like an online school. I feel like I've known you guys since I started day one. So, congratulations to us. [Applause] </p> <p>Good afternoon graduates, WGU faculty, family, friends. Today, we celebrate a huge milestone in our lives that wouldn't be as sweet or in some cases even possible without your love and support. </p> <p>Years ago my parents immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic in search of a better life. Today I stand in front of you as the first in my immediate family to hold a bachelor's degree. [Applause] </p> <p>To Mami and Papi, without your unwavering support, this would not have been possible. I look so ugly when I cry. Wait. [Laughs] To my love, thank you for being the gasoline and jump-start to my battery for when I lose my drive. I have walked, talked, lived, and breathed nursing as my career choice, but anybody that can tell you some of the things that're most, most worthwhile do not come without some challenges to overcome.</p> <p>At one point I almost threw in the towel when I was told by the director of another college, "Ms. Perez, maybe you should change your major. I don't think nursing is gonna happen for you in your lifetime." And after I initially walked away from school in tears, collected myself, I wiped my face, and I said, "Who does she think she is to diminish my dreams?" [Laughter] You know what? Challenge accepted. [Applause] </p> <p>I graduated with my practical nursing certification in 2012 and in 2015, I graduated with my associate's degree. When it was time for me to return to school for my bachelor's, I needed a school that could work around my schedule, not the other way around. And Western Governors University educational approach was a perfect fit. It fit like a glove.</p> <p>Shortly after I was paired with my program mentor, Tom, and we started on my journey to my bachelor's in October of 2016. I had a great start until May 12, 2017, when I received the call that my father was in the hospital. Once I arrived I was informed that my dad's life was practically hanging by a thread. For his last 12 hours, I stood by my father's bed in the intensive care unit. I watched as nurses, doctors, and surgeons worked relentlessly and did every human effort to save my father's life. But the injuries he sustained from a three-story fall in the accident were too great. And my dad flatlined, I kissed him goodbye.</p> <p>A month later, a disgruntled ex-physician came to the hospital where I work and opened fire, killing a fellow physician while injuring numerous others. My emergency room worked tirelessly to save those injured and I am so proud to say that I work among some of the most talented nurses and doctors who prevented further loss of that -- further loss of life that day. Looking back at these two events, I came to a point where I felt lost.</p> <p>For a while, I lost my purpose, I lost my fire, and the desire to complete the educational journey that I started with WGU. At times, I felt like I was drowning, but my weekly check-ins with Tom kept me afloat. The course instructors, and this is a special thanks to Dr. Sharon Brown and Amy Forbes - served as my life jacket at a time in my life where I felt like I could barely keep my head above water, much less breathe.</p> <p>As time marched on, I immersed myself in my work in the emergency room. Patients and colleagues reminded me of why I started this journey in the first place, why I sacrificed sleep, missed holidays, parties, and get togethers with family and friends so that I could progress and help others. </p> <p>At some point I also remembered the challenge that I accepted. How I can almost hear my father's voice in my ear telling me, "Jerlenny, no way did this family raise you to be someone who gives up." Toward the end of 2017, I was diagnosed with pneumonia and saw myself on the other end of the patient care experience. As someone who suffers from asthma, I had to rely on oxygen, IV antibiotics, and round-the-clock asthma treatments just to breathe. </p> <p>While going through this, I realized what kind of nurse I wanna be. I wanna get all the education that I can from a university whose faculty believe in me, even when I didn't believe in myself and pushed me when I needed pushing. What also helped with this is the WGU Facebook community that made me feel like I was sitting next to each and every one of you who were cheering each other on.</p> <p>Every graduate sitting here today has a vision for themselves. You enrolled in WGU because you wanted to be a better version of yourself, because the career opportunity a degree affords you will help you provide for your family, contribute to the workforce that makes our country great, and hopefully somehow in the process play your part in making the world a better place. </p> <p>I'm not going to stand here and tell you that the sky is the limit if there's footprints on the moon, but do not ever let anybody's doubts limit your potential or stand in your path to making dreams a reality. You are the author to how your life is written. Do not relinquish that power to anybody else. Do not ever give that power up. [Applause] </p> <p>Today is just one of many successful days to come. Armed with our education and experiences, we can push through any challenge thrown our way. Let your knowledge be the light that leads the way. Congratulations WGU graduates of 2018. Guess what, guys? We did it. [Applause] Thank you. [Cheering]</p>
Western Governors University
© 2018 Western Governors University – WGU. All Rights Reserved.
Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)