Prospect Magazine: Alumni Stories

It Was Fun, and It Was Different

Carol White ’85
Advanced Practice Nurse, University of Chicago Medical Center

I started my career as a high school English teacher, then took some time off to raise my three children. When it came time for me to go back to work, I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend all day with other people’s kids anymore. Nursing looked like a great profession, so I started looking into schools.

I had already gone through college, and I didn’t want to sit through English 101 again—so it made a big difference when Elmhurst accepted every single one of my credits. Also, the College was starting a preschool on campus at the time, and my youngest child was ready to start pre-school. Altogether it seemed like the right fit.

Going back to school as an adult was fun—and different. When I started I was in my late 30s, and I was taking inorganic chemistry with 18- and 19-year-olds. When the professor made a reference to the first man on the moon, I was the only one in the room who had been alive at that time! I think the teachers felt they could relate to me and the other adult students.

I got an excellent education at Elmhurst. It was not an easy program; but I felt it really prepared me for what I was going to face as a nurse.

I’m in my 26th year of nursing now, and I’ve had a wonderful career. In my current job I work mostly with leukemia and lymphoma patients and their families—supporting them through very stressful times. These are the bravest people in the world. Every day I give it my all, because they’re giving me their trust; they’re handing me their hope and saying, “help me.” I get back so much more than I could ever give.

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