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Christan Norton deliveres commencement speech

Christan Norton at podiumChristan Norton delivered the student speech during the afternoon session on May 11, 2013, at The Forum. Her speech is here.

Good afternoon honored guests, graduates, and those who have supported us for so long while we have been making this journey. Let me begin by thanking everyone for coming out to join us today on this memorable occasion. Speaking for myself, and I believe the other graduates will agree with me, reaching this point in our lives has been quite a challenging journey. When we enrolled as students at Hazard Community amp; Technical College, we were establishing goals in our lives; those goals being the completion of our programs and ultimately to this moment of graduation. Today the rewards for all our hard work and effort have been attained. We made it!

Graduation from Hazard Community amp; Technical College will begin a new chapter in my life and in the lives of my fellow graduates here today. While we will all go forth in our lives, perhaps in many different directions, but in pursuit of a career in the field for which we have studied and trained, we will be forever bound and bonded by the experiences and education we received at this great institution. Even in times when we may have disliked one another, we managed to push through any hurt feelings or unkind words. Emotions tend to run high in these programs because of pressure to succeed and close proximity to one another.

At this time, I need to extend my thanks and appreciation to the people who have helped and made it possible for me to reach this point in my life: My parents, grandparents, aunt and wonderful fianc I have been blessed with and future in-laws. We managed to make it through this program, as time consuming as it was. Through it all they were always so patient with me, and my study habits.

Growing up as I did in a military family was not the easiest thing. I was always so proud of my dad because he flew Chinooks in the Army; I mean how cool is that? Some kids say My dad is a lawyer!, or my dad is a truck driver! To these I was able to respond, Your dad may drive a truck, but my dad can fly away with your truck and put it on top of a building. Even though I could say things like that, I wasn't a big fan of having to move around so much. But I can't say that it didn't teach me anything. It taught me to stay strong through tough times and approach new situations without fear. But my mom is the person that made me want to be a nurse all along.

I have kept horses on and off most of my life, and that clich saying when you fall off the horse, you have to get right back on and try it again? Unfortunately it is true. When I was bucked by my horses, my dad always made me get back on, his theory being you couldn t let the horse think it could buck you off and get away with it. Well as it turns out, something my dad taught me I ended up having to use in this program. In my second semester of the nursing program I failed, and it was a crushing blow. At that point in time, I realized that I had to get serious about my life and buckle down and study harder if I was ever going to accomplish my goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. I can t blame anyone but myself for failing because I realized a little too late just how much I wanted to be a nurse. In a way, I was bucked off the horse. I knew immediately that I wanted to try again. I wanted to be a nurse and to be given another chance. I was given the opportunity to be a readmit and was accepted back into the program. This time, I came right into the program knowing I was not going to let anything keep me from passing.

It was like the story about getting thrown from a horse; if that happens, the best thing you can do is climb right back on that old horse and make sure you don't fall off the second time. I like to think that's what I've done.

When you fail, it gives you a greater drive and determination to succeed. You want to prove to everyone that you can do it. Sometimes people tend to think that if you failed once, you are likely going to do it again. When I failed I was scared to come back because of the fear of failing again. Now I know it is the exact opposite. Once you have failed, you want more than ever to be successful. If you want to be successful badly enough you are going to make it through no matter the situation you find yourself in. So, with that being said I would like to give a very special thanks to those persons/staff members who were involved in giving me a second chance at the Nursing Program here at HCTC; you know who you are, and I hope I haven't disappointed you my second time around.

Now that I have made it onto this stage and successfully completed the nursing program, it is time to leave school and my failures behind and find a job. According to the American Nurses Association: Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations. We have all learned that compassion and empathy are required to not only do your job, but do it well. This is one of the reasons I have always wanted to work with Hospice. I believe everyone has a story, and it deserves to be heard. Sometimes families don t realize just how important it is to simply listen, whether it is a story that has been told one or one hundred times. It is a nurse s job to provide care, comfort, and strength to those who need it. It s not all about the paperwork, it s about getting to know your patient and providing the best care possible; Not only physically, but mentally as well.

I want to thank everyone so much for coming out and supporting the people you love. I know that with these programs life changes, schedules are hard to manage, and time is spread thin. I truly admire the students who have children and jobs and still manage to do so well on their tests and are never late for class. Congratulations graduates, we have made it. It is time for the next chapter in our lives, and I hope it is everything you expect, and more.