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WGU Graduate Speaker, Stephanie Blaine, Summer 2010
WGU Graduate Speaker, Stephanie Blaine, Summer 2010
Western Governors University
<p>Stephanie Blaine earned her Master of Science, Nursing degree. On July 17, 2010 Blaine was a graduate speaker at the Summer 2010 WGU Commencement. This WGU Commencement took place at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>As we've all traveled here together today, in an effort to celebrate our accomplishments through furthering our education, I would like to thank the administration, staff, faculty, family and friends who assisted in making this possible for each of us. Each of us have come with uniquely different stories as to how or why we pursued our education at Western Governors University. And I find it an honor and privilege to share my story with you this morning.</p> <p>I recall is thinking as a young girl that I wanted to be a nurse. I desired to care for others in the best and worst times of their lives, someone to share in the joy of new life, someone to console, comfort, and protect in the time of loss. In 1993, as I completed my bachelors of science degree in nursing at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, I can recall pontificating what it would be like to share my passion of nursing with others through education.</p> <p>I greatly admired many of my undergraduate nursing faculty and thought one day I want to teach. I want to be the one that shares my knowledge and my experiences. I want to be the one who shows new nurses what the art of nursing truly means, which is serving others.</p> <p>After years of practice in the profession of nursing, and years of living life, I didn't give that dream too much thought. I only envisioned it as a fleeting moment that would never come to fruition. Therein was the impossible dream. In 2007 I was given the opportunity through my oldest daughter's pursuit of her own nursing career to meet someone who would become very important and very influential in my life: Sue Nichols. This meeting was not by coincidence, it was providence. The opportunity to become a nurse educator unfolded right before my eyes.</p> <p>As I took on this challenge, I was working nights in labor and delivery, teaching during the day, and raising a family of four with a wonderful husband who pastors our small church in northwest Missouri, and home schools our four children. Our weekly Sunday attendance nearly outnumbers the town's population of 189. A few fun facts that amaze people when I speak of Worth County, Missouri are: There are no stoplights in the entire county. We only have a part time health clinic. And 911 was just put in last year. [Laughter]</p> <p>Honestly, people only show up in our town if they're lost or if they have a reason. It is a town where nobody uses blinkers because we already know where you're going. [Laughter] The community that we live in is very rural, 30 minutes to an hour away from any major town or city. From a college that could potentially offer me the opportunity to advance my education, there lies my pursuit of my masters of science in nursing at WGU in December of 2008.</p> <p>WGU was a perfect fit for me as I was able to complete my education on my time schedule right from home. It was a very challenging 18 months of my life, yet so rewarding. One of the greatest challenges that I experienced while working toward my MSN at WGU was juggling my schedule with a full time job, full time family, and a desire to complete the 24 month program in 18 months. I had phenomenal support from WGU, my family, friends, and co workers which allowed me to do just that: Complete the program in 18 months.</p> <p>The flexibility of the program was monumental in facilitating my rigorous schedule which leads into the role of WGU. I have been able to attain what I thought was an impossible dream because WGU has provided an opportunity for me to advance my education with a top notch MSN program. WGU feels like a part of my daily family. The relationships that I been able to develop through the online students will go beyond this season of my life. The online communities have provided encouragement, support, lasting friendships and with people who live miles apart.</p> <p>I was able to advance my career within weeks of obtaining my MSN. I signed on with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to complete a summer project of item writing for the standardized NCLEX RN exam, and to participate in reviewing content within the course offered by this organization that could potentially help someone be successful on the examination. I have also had the privilege and honor to accept a position as a student mentor at WGU. [Applause]</p> <p>This is yet again a dream realized, an opportunity to hopefully impact the lives of others who will experience a program in which I was greatly enriched, especially through my own mentors. Some of the most valuable lessons I have learned while at WGU are that you will get out of your education as to what you put into it. That is why I encourage everyone to be involved in the online communities, teleconferences, and webinars when they are offered. I have learned that when you are at a breaking point someone out there in the community has been where you are, and most likely will encourage you through your particular situation. Most often for me that was my mentor, Shanna [Inaudible], Sue Hunter, and Tori [Inaudible].</p> <p>I feel that I am more prepared to take on the challenges of the 21st century with the education and process changing, the responsibilities of professional nurse expanding, and the advances that are being made in technology on a daily basis. My experience at WGU has challenged me to take risk that I would've never considered. I have learned to couple my training with my passion and desire to empower others within the profession of nursing, spurring them on to believe the impossible dream.</p> <p>This dream is attainable for each of us, yet the dream is prone to burden. Though we are diverse in age, gender, background, and education, we're not diverse in three questions that burden each of us. Those three questions are: Where, when, and why? You came to WGU with the expectation of answering the where of your heart. Where will this education take me? Where will I go? Where will my life be in five months or in five years? The anxious anticipation of the where of our education begets another question: When? When will this education take me to the where of my new horizons and my new opportunities? When will I see my time, effort, and investment take me where I want to go?</p> <p>Through first hand experience, I am convinced that if you and I dwell on the what we don't know, we become anxious, unproductive individuals with no purpose. I believe for us to become confident, productive people with purpose, we must face the where and when by answering the simple question why. Why did you do what you did to get here today? For many, the answer may be varied, but there is one abiding principle that unites each one of us for a secure future. It's service.</p> <p>Not so long ago, a humble man that crossed the human timeline abided in the simple principle of service, specifically service to his fellowman. He specifically said he did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. Through his service and sacrifice, the entire human timeline was forever changed. There is no more noble task than when we abide by the principle of service through sacrifice. This is the why for our education. This is the why for our life after WGU. We serve all of those in our circle of influence through sacrifice.</p> <p>As you and I serve through sacrifice, the where we will go, and when it will happen no longer matters. The only thing that will matter will be the contentedness of knowing the blessing you will be to your fellow man. There is no higher honor for each of us by which needs no recognition. It is the service through sacrifice that will carry each of us forward into a future of confidence, intrigue, and security.</p> <p>In conclusion, I thank you again for this honor and privilege to come before you and share a bit of my story. My story would not have been possible if it weren't for my wonderful parents, Ken and Bonnie [Inaudible] who taught me patience and perseverance. My husband Jeff of 21 years who has inspired me beyond this earthly developing place. My children, Ashley, Paige, Molly, and Jeshua, who have patiently supported me through this process, as well as the rest of my family and friends and co workers.</p> <p>I challenge each of you today with God's blessing to embrace a bright future of service through sacrifice, to not only benefit your life, but to benefit those around you. I leave with you these profound words to live by from a woman robbed of or sight and her hearing at the age of 19 months. Helen Keller states, as she obviously understood the why. She states, "There is joy in self forgetfulness. So I try to make the light in others' eyes my sun, the music in others' ears my symphony, the smile on others' lips my happiness." And may each of us do the same. Thank you.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
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