Helping people to achieve their goals is one thing Petersburg High School senior Aaliyah Nicholson says she strives to accomplish. She hopes to someday be a registered nurse so that she can help people through motivation. “When I think of nursing, prescription I think of changing people’s lives in terms of taking care of their specific needs at that time because when you’re a nurse and a lot of people need your help, it’s basically because they can’t help themselves. I’ve always had the desire to help as many people as I can … Just thinking about nursing, I know I’m going to be able to change a life someday.”
In order to get started on nursing, Aaliyah is taking a different path than most. Instead of going straight into a four-year program, she plans to go to John Tyler Community College for two years and earn her associates in nursing. She said she decided to go to a community college first for various reasons. First, she stated that “John Tyler’s my dream school … I love the environment of a community school versus a university where there’s so many distractions.”
Secondly, she said that the classroom setting at a traditional university doesn’t really fit her, because she likes to have a close relationship with her professors. “You have 50 to 100 students in one class and I know what kind of student I am and I know my learning abilities,” Aaliyah said. Finally, she said she chose to go to community college first because of its relaxed setting. “I think me making that decision to go to a community college was the environment being that it’s calm and laid back like I am.”
After that, she plans on transferring to a four-year institution. While she has not thought about where exactly she would want to go, her top choice in school is Virginia Commonwealth University because of its prestigious nursing program. She has also considered Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University. Aside from her aspirations of being a nurse, Aaliyah also likes being inspired and inspiring others. One of her favorite activities is watching motivational speakers on YouTube because she can relate to them. One of the people she says she can relate to the most is her favorite artist, R&B vocalist Fantasia. “She’s my inspiration and she’s my motivator … I would say she’s my favorite artist and inspiration because to me she stands out from so many other artists and people in general,” Aaliyah said.
She also added that because of Fantasia’s upbringing, i.e. dropping out of high school early on and bringing herself up, it motivates her to keep moving forward. “I know what she’s been through, I know her life story and I know how far she’s come. She started from way down and for her to be at the top where she is now (is amazing) because she’s come from nothing,” Aaliyah said. “Her story just empowers and motivates me so much because I know if she can come from way down and come up to where she’s at now, I know anybody can do it. She motivates me to never give up. If I ever feel like I’m down, I know I can get back up because she’s been through it.”