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Meet the Major: Nursing

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Group of nursing students smiling with the caption “Meet the Major: Nursing"

Growing up, Carl McDonald's wide range of interests heavily influenced his decisions when choosing his major. Torn between his love for theater and helping others, he looked up to his sister, a fellow nurse, and the stories she would share of her daily work life. With the help of her advice and his own personable charisma, he instantly fell in love with the idea of becoming a nurse, and later found himself studying nursing at the University of Massachusetts.

Carl McDonald, a soon-to-be graduating senior, came to UMass Amherst for several reasons, including our highly rated nursing program and his admission to the Commonwealth Honors College. Both of these opportunities gave him the ability to expand his research experience, which he was greatly excited for the second he came to campus. He valued a school that embodied kindness, and noticed this through even the smallest of acts, like someone always holding a door for him at UMass. McDonald aspired to go to a school driven by compassion and academic achievement, and UMass was his perfect fit.

His experience as a nursing student has brought him incredibly close to his teachers, as he said they are “approachable, helpful, and nurturing.” He gave a special shout-out to Dr. Stephanie Griggs, a nursing professor, for allowing him to join her research team and helping mentor him while completing his Honors Thesis. His research work with Dr. Griggs later was published in the National Journal of Nursing. He credits the opportunities he’s been given at  UMass, and the support of his professors like Dr. Griggs, for his success in the program. He admires the nursing industry for all that it offers, as there will “always be a need for nursing.” Whether this be in schools, operation rooms, home visits, and more, McDonald’s future profession allows for ever-expanding knowledge and growth within the field, a perfect career for someone always eager to help and learn.

As for nursing being a “predominantly female” industry, Carl has felt no difference as a member of the major compared to his female counterparts. “The major comes with so much compassion, love and support,” he said. If anything, the overwhelming number of women allows for more inclusion among each class, as his classes are really small. This allows for better relationships with all of his peers, and closer-knit ties to his professors. “The professors are so knowledgeable and passionate about what they do, and are ALWAYS willing to help. This is so important about nursing, and I am so grateful for everyone I met along my nursing school journey.”

Outside of studying nursing and his classes, Carl spends a lot of time with his friends he made through the nursing program, through RSO events, or through classes offered at the Recreation Center. He is also a campus tour guide and dorm hall residential assistant, which has allowed him to build incredible relationships among the community and make a campus as large as UMass feel just like home. 

Carl is currently applying to nursing jobs in New York City, and he eventually wants to be in the psychiatric nursing field. He aims to receive his doctorate in nursing practice, and cannot wait for what his future in the career brings him.


Life at UMass

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My First Visit to UMass

Picture of McGuirk Stadium with the caption: “My First Visit to UMass"

The first time I ever set foot on to the University of Massachusetts campus was in the spring of my junior year of high school. Amidst an array of college tours, SAT practice tests, and AP exam studying, I can’t honestly say I took the time to appreciate the little beauties UMass Amherst had to offer-- rather, I worried that my application would not be up to par. Questions ran through my head the entire time I was there, as they would any stressed out high school junior: “What if my extracurriculars aren’t good enough?” “Have I taken enough AP classes?” “What if I’m not accepted?”