David Reyes

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First-generation students, who don't have a family history of higher education, are a group that make UW Tacoma a very special place. Read their stories as they tell, in their own words, about the challenges they overcame on their path to success.

David Reyes, Assistant Professor, UW Tacoma Nursing & Healthcare LeadershipI am an Assistant Professor in the Nursing & Health Care Leadership program, but my journey to this place was not one I had ever imagined. Looking back, as a first generation student I experienced obstacles along the way that I had to overcome.

I wasn’t sure I was actually going to go to college until I received the acceptance letter my last semester in high school. I knew well the financial pressure that my parents faced raising seven children on my father’s low military pay and my mother’s work as a cashier. I decided to take out loans and to work as much as possible in order pay for school.

Once I started college, I was often preoccupied with by my father’s worsening cardiovascular disease that distracted me from my studies. I felt the psychological pull and filial responsibility to help support my family and seriously considered dropping out and getting a job in the event that my father’s medical condition worsened.

Despite these challenges I graduated from Seattle University with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a minor in history. I went on to get a master’s in public health and later a Ph.D. in nursing practice from the UW School of Nursing.

In retrospect, if I were to give some advice to students either entering or continuing at UWT, I would first say to know and understand what motivates you to want to learn and succeed to achieve your educational goals. I think it is important to know what is at the core of your ‘educational soul’ so to speak. I also think it’s important to remember that success may not always be measured by GPA level or what you learn in the classroom. I encourage all students to explore diverse learning opportunities outside the classroom.

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Written: 
September 14, 2016