Every semester, we get over 500 applicants for our GMR Transcription Scholarship from various universities in the US. This Fall semester, we selected Stephanie Benavides of University of Central Florida to be another one of our scholarship recipients. Continue reading her essay to learn more about this future weight-lifting nurse.
My name is Stephanie Benavides and I am currently attending the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. I was awarded a previous bachelor degree in Health Services Administration in August of 2012. I am now enrolled in the College of Nursing and hope to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in August of 2015. This coming spring 2015 I will be taking three didactic courses along with two clinical courses that are based out of healthcare facilities in the Orlando area. The didactic courses I will be taking are Nursing Care of the Adult II, Psychiatric Mental Health, and Nursing Research Seminar. The clinical courses allow us to practice what we have learned in the classroom and strengthen our skills. They are usually 12 hours long at least once a week.
I am involved with the Student Nurses Association (SNA) at UCF. The UCF SNA is heavily involved in the community as well as fundraising for the nursing program at the University. On my own time, I am passionate about powerlifting. I train by myself under the guidance of a coach a minimum of three days a week and focus on the bench press, squat, and deadlift. I enjoy powerlifting so much because it helps me focus on my strengths, but most importantly my weaknesses. In order to improve each lift, you must realize where you are struggling in order to do what are called accessory lifts to strengthen that particular aspect of your lift. It takes a great deal of dedication and passion to move forward and grow stronger in powerlifting. Even a gain of five pounds on a lift is something to be proud of and I work hard to make these gains. Although I have much work to do, I am able to bench press 80 pounds, squat 160 pounds, and deadlift 200 pounds. To put this all in perspective, I am a petite, 5’2” girl who just weighs over 100 pounds.
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I have a long history of retail experience and did enjoy each job in this field. I was able to make brief connections with people from all over the world and hone in on my social skills. The hours were long and my patience was often tried but it was all very gratifying. More professionally, I began an internship working the front desk of a private pediatrics practice while I was pursuing my first undergraduate degree and was offered a full time position once I graduated. I was eventually promoted to office manager and managed a new branch office in Kissimmee. It was quite challenging and my job included many jobs I had not studied in school. Besides managing the day-to-day necessities, I created a small marketing plan for the office and also became the unofficial IT person. Helping the office flourish was an entirely satisfying experience in itself. I resigned earlier this year to return to school full-time.
My most immediate career aspiration is to graduate with my BSN next August and work on an intensive care unit (ICU) at a local hospital. Generally speaking, most ICUs do not hire graduate nurses with less than a 3.5 GPA so I have been working hard with this goal in mind. I do hope to once again return to school and become a certified nurse anesthetist or get my doctorate in nursing practice and specialize in cardiology. There are so many possibilities in the nursing field that I am certain I will find an area that will challenge and reward me.
Lastly, I plan on using every penny on nursing school related expenses. Unfortunately, the program is very costly. In addition to the traditional tuition and textbook expenses, we must also purchase scrubs to wear to our clinical sites, pricy medical supplies such as stethoscopes, nursing testing packages, and we are required to have medical insurance. Clinical sites can also be distant and gas costs and car maintenance expenses can quickly add up. My coffee and all caffeine containing liquids budget has also been greatly increased to fuel my many all-nighters. In the end, these financial sacrifices will be worth it but I know I can speak for my fellow classmates when I say we are struggling to stay afloat. This scholarship would truly help with the surprise expenses that seem to pop up every semester.