Despite college rejection, cancer, nursing grad perseveres

Nicole David

A rejection letter isn't typically the start of a college success story. But for Nicole David, the note she received denying her admission to nursing school started a decade-long journey of achieving her childhood dream of becoming a nurse.

David’s mother inspired her journey into a career of helping people. She was a nurse, which gave David a front-row seat to the intricacies of the nursing profession. “I saw how dedicated my mom was to caring for people and how happy it made her,” David recalled. “Because of that, I knew I wanted to work in health care.”

Initially, David thought her future in health care would be in dentistry. It was a field she considered after taking a health science technology course during her senior year of high school. After high school, she went to college, graduated and began applying to dental school.

Unfortunately, she faced rejection immediately. She didn’t have the grades to get into dental school.

“I went to college and dealt with some really hard things, which is why my grades suffered,” David explained. Her mother, the muse behind her health care journey, passed away during her freshman year of college.

After a tumultuous time, David reevaluated her career goal. She decided to pursue the dream she formulated as a child and follow in her mother's footsteps to become a nurse.

Nicole David

Unfortunately, she met another rejection. She didn’t have the grades to get into nursing school.

Determined to realize her dream, she decided to retake courses at a community college. She also became a high school biology teacher. She knew these steps would give her the foundation needed to pursue nursing.

Seven years after that initial rejection to nursing school, she reapplied. The culmination of her teaching experience, retaking courses, and earning a master’s degree along the way, led to a different outcome.

She was accepted into nursing school. In fact, several nursing schools.

David ultimately chose Texas Woman’s University at Dallas because of the program’s reputation and nursing certification exam (NCLEX) pass rate.

After achieving a goal that took almost a decade to reach, she faced another hardship. During her second semester of the nursing program, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Instead of taking time off from nursing school, she decided to push through and continue her journey.

“Nursing is really what was giving me hope,” David said. “The idea that this degree was going to allow me to pursue the career I've been wanting for so long made me not want to stop.”

Despite the adversity, she persevered. This summer she will graduate from TWU cancer free. The cherry on top will come when her stepmother, a nurse, pins David with her mother’s nursing pin.

This fall David will begin her dream job at her dream facility. She will be working at Children’s Medical Center.

“I don't have words to explain it,” she said, recalling her journey. “This all kind of feels like a dream.”

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Page last updated 3:16 PM, October 5, 2022