Meet Sonya, sophomore nursing student
Sonya Kojevnikov '13
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Activities: Model UN; COF Dance Project; Real Life Boston Christian Fellowship; Work Study
I had the pleasure of meeting Sonya about a week before she was scheduled to be a student panelist at our November Open House. Although it was our first meeting, I felt like we were old friends catching up over a cup of coffee. She's laid-back, extremely articulate, and she offers a unique perspective on the whole "going to a women's college" thing. Plus, she made it past her first year as a nursing major... and lives to tell the tale!
You're in your second year of nursing. How's it going?
Sonya: It's going well! I struggled a bit during second semester of my first year, but I think in general that semester is the hardest because you've gotten over the excitement of the first semester then you realize there's still four months to go.
But, I got a lot of help from faculty, student life, and basically everyone. It's definitely great that I'm here because if I had struggled as much anywhere else, I have a feeling I would've been dropped by the wayside.
Have you completed your science requirements?
Sonya: Right now I'm finishing up my last requirement, Anatomy & Physiology II, which is usually taken during fall semester sophomore year.
Well, congratulations on making it through the hard part! Are you in the labs now?
Sonya: I've started Fundamentals of Nursing, which includes a lab where we're able to gain experience by practicing procedures. We also have a simulation lab with dummies who talk, breathe, and have their vital signs on a monitor.
Cool! Do you like it?
Sonya: I love it! It's so helpful. We're split into small groups and when we're in the simulation lab, we're being recorded so that the other group can watch us and learn from our mistakes.
Doing the specific procedures are easy, but when you actually have a patient, you have to keep in mind that you can't control their vital signs. If their heart rate drops or if their oxygen level or blood pressure drops, you have to know how to react on the spot.
So, what brought you to the nursing program at Simmons?
Sonya: Well, I wanted to go to a women's college, so I was doing some research on the Seven Sisters. But, I was really interested in how Simmons stood out because it has liberal arts with career preparation - and I really wanted to do nursing.
Why a women's college?
Sonya: I started my college search very early because I always knew that I wanted to go to college. In sixth grade, I read a memoir about a woman who went to Mount Holyoke. She described all these different things about the college and I thought: "Oh wow, that sounds like a really good school."
So, I did some more research and I realized that Mount Holyoke wasn't the only women's college - that's what broadened my horizons.
What was it the author describe about the school that caught your attention?
Sonya: I specifically remember two things. The author was writing about her learning disability, so the first thing I noticed was the enormous amount of support she received during her program. Her professors didn't "dumb down" the material. Instead, they gave her the right tools so she could maintain the same standard of work as the rest of her classmates. They didn't let her fall through the cracks and that was the kind of faculty I wanted.
The second thing I noticed was the sense of community on her campus. Every woman that attended her college was there for one reason: to receive an education. Not to get her "M.R.S. degree" or to party on her parents dime. Knowing that everyone on your campus is there for the same purpose draws people together. [Ed. note: For anyone wondering, the memoir is called "My Thirteenth Winter"]
That's a great perception! It really calls attention to what's special about attending a women's college. You mentioned that Simmons' focus on career prep is what brought you here, especially since you were interested in nursing. Are you happy with your decision to apply (and accept!)?
Sonya: It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I knew I wanted to do nursing, but I had taken all the proper math and science courses anyway.
When I applied to Simmons, I applied to the nursing program. When I was accepted, I thought it was really awesome that I could do nursing at a liberal arts school rather than at a huge state school where a lot of the programs are based strictly on nursing and nothing else.
At Simmons, I get a much more individualized liberal arts education that compliments my major.
You volunteer in the admission office and are a student panelist during our Open House. What kinds of questions do students ask you?
Sonya: Students like to know what there is to do on campus besides study. I tell them there are so many different organizations and since there are two organization fairs each year, it's really easy to become involved.
What's helpful is that compared to other schools, Simmons has a lot more career-based clubs. So, even if you're interested in something, but you don't think you have the time to do it, it ends up being worth it because it also adds to your resume.
For example, I'm in Model UN - sure it's not nursing specific, but it's how I become more aware of global issues in case I decide to become a nurse in a different country or do travel nursing. Even though it's fun, it's still going to help you career-wise even if it doesn't directly relate to your major.
Now that you've made it through your first year, any advice for new students?
Sonya: Talk to your professors as much as you can. Stop by their office and say hello. If you build relationships with faculty, you have someone to go to if you need help or if you need recommendations for grad school or a job. They're absolutely willing to meet with us.
I have to say, I LOVE it when I meet a student who knows exactly what kind of education they're looking for when they apply to colleges. All I knew was that I wanted to go to one. However, Sonya was aware that she wanted to attend a women's college because of the faculty attention she'd receive and the strong sense of community. In addition, she knew she wanted to go to a school where she could be a nursing major while still getting a well-rounded liberal arts education. Looks like she found her perfect match.
(P.S. Notice anything unusual about the tree in her photo? Green leaves! She was on set for the filming of The Social Network over at Wheelock. It's fake snow!)
Related: So, you want to be a nurse.