Kayla Chunn

My 1,000-Mile Journey to Nursing School

Kayla ChunnHealth, News

I chose to attend the University of Mobile’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, not because the application process was incredibly fast and easy to complete online, or because the university is private with smaller, more intimate instructor-to-student ratios and more time for clinical skills, or because the program’s cost was slightly less than half what I was expecting to pay in Colorado for a 12-month ABSN program. (Those are all great reasons!) But I chose to attend this ABSN program because coming back to Alabama would put me closer to family I didn’t get much time with as I was growing up.

While, sadly, I lost part of my family when my mother passed away recently, I discovered I have become a part of a very special university family that cares for me and believes in me.

Here’s the background: My parents divorced when I was young. While I stayed in Mobile, Alabama, with my father, my mother moved to north Alabama. She later became a nurse and worked for several years before needing to retire early. She needed to overcome some obstacles in her personal life, but her health was deteriorating.

I had moved to Colorado years ago, so being closer to my mother while completing my second degree in a field she was familiar with was a perfect chance to reconnect with her. Unfortunately, she unexpectedly passed away in March 2020, so my dreams of bonding with her over nursing were lost.

Her death has been motivation for me to push harder when I’ve felt like giving up, because she had been to nursing school and was so proud to know I was doing the same. While nothing about her death has been easy, being so close to where she was living has instilled a stronger sense that she’s with me in spirit, and it’s comforting.

The positive experiences I have had since being in UM’s ABSN program has been two-fold: the sense of community with impeccable support of the instructors and staff, and the spiritual influence I have accepted since being here.

For the sense of community, even when I struggled—and failed in one course—I felt as though my instructors believed in me and knew I was capable of more than what my exam grades reflect. When I feel I’m in over my head or need guidance on how to improve, the open-door policy within this program is priceless.

For the spiritual influence, I was not brought up in a devout Christian home. We knew about God and His love, but that was about it. My parents had differing opinions on what denomination we should be taught (Southern Baptist or Seventh Day Adventist), so neither of them pursued teaching us either—except to know of God and His love for His children.

Since coming to the University of Mobile, where every class and exam begins with a prayer, and nearly every lecture has some link to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, it has ingrained a way of thinking for me that I’ve found myself acknowledging and accepting. I’m more open to prayer and find myself praying for myself and others, which wasn’t something I did before.

Relocating from Colorado to Alabama to be here has been hard, especially being apart from my husband for this program, but I am frequently reminded of why the University of Mobile’s ABSN program was the best choice out of all the schools I had considered. I feel I have changed as a person, as a student, and as a fellow Christian. It’s truly like having a family here.