Featured photo: Graduating student Kristina Richardson poses in the Patton Building. (Photo by Emily Gill, Marketing and Communications Dept.)
Marketing and Communications Dept.
Kristina Richardson’s time at Blue Ridge started with a simple phrase: “It’s my turn.”
After working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) for 26 years while raising three children, Kristina started her path at Blue Ridge with continuing education CNA classes.
She knew she wanted to pursue an associates degree in nursing after a special experience with a nurse many years ago. One of Richardson’s daughters has exceptional needs that were only truly addressed after a nurse went the extra mile to help and advocate for their family.
Despite her strong desire to join the program, Kristina was hesitant until her instructors reassured her that she had the heart and the passion to succeed in nursing. This encouragement proved invaluable.
“Coming back to school 20 years after high school was a challenge for me,” said Richardson. “This is my first college experience; I didn’t know what to expect.”
Richardson feared she was too old to return to school, but her daughter encouraged her to try. In taking this leap, Richardson found community, belonging and inspiration.
“In every class I’ve been in, I’ve probably been one of the oldest, but I was treated like anybody in the class,” said Richardson. “You’re never too old to go and discover new things and to discover who you are.”
Part of that discovery process involved campus life at Blue Ridge. Kristina first got involved with the Student Government Association (SGA) after meeting the SGA president, Brianna Allen. Richardson began by serving as a student ambassador before eventually running for SGA treasurer.
“My involvement in SGA has been very rewarding leadership-wise,” said Richardson. “As a nurse, you kind of get pushed into that leadership role so learning some new leadership techniques has been really helpful. I know I’m going to take those experiences with me when I graduate.”
She has been also involved in multiple areas of campus life including Phi Theta Kappa and National Technical Honor Society. Richardson has treasured these opportunities for involvement and to give back to the community as it aligns with her main goal for her life: to give as much as she has been given.
Richardson currently holds a student nurse associate position at Spartanburg Regional Hospital and will transfer into the general surgery trauma unit there after graduation. Down the road, she is considering going into pediatrics or becoming a CNA instructor. More than anything she wants to encourage people to follow their own path.
“I tell girls all the time that college may not be right for you right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not right for you in twenty years. If you have a dream and it requires education or you feel like having a higher education is important, go for it,” said Richardson. “You’re never too old to go back to school. You’re never too old to stop learning; you’re never too old to pursue a dream.”
Learn more about the Associate Degree Nursing Program at www.blueridge.edu/nursing.