Student Story

From the Navy to Nursing: Vin Sowders '22 on Veterans Day

Why did you decide to join the military?

Being a trumpet player, I’ve always loved military music. I never thought it was an option, though, because of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Once that was repealed, it became an option for me. I wanted a job as a professional musician that provided benefits and the opportunity to travel, so the military seemed like a perfect fit. 

How did you make the decision to come back to school?

I was a musician in the Navy, stationed in Newport, Rhode Island. I developed a neurological disorder called focal dystonia that ended my ability to play the trumpet. Because of that, I was medically separated from the Navy but I’m fortunate to have earned the GI Bill. The GI Bill allowed me to go back to school to pursue another career.

Why have you decided to pursue a career in nursing?

I’ve always thought that as my time in the Navy came to an end, that I would go back to school and have a second career. Although, this came sooner than I expected. In my experience, when loved ones have been in hospitals, nurses have always been what makes the experience better. Helping people in the same way nurses have helped my loved ones would be the greatest honor.

Why did you decide to attend Simmons?

I really wanted to go to school in Boston where some of the best hospitals are. I looked at other accelerated nursing programs in the area, and Simmons seemed the best fit for me. With the smaller class sizes and the fact that Simmons is a women’s college, I feel like I will have the opportunity to be successful more than I would at a university where I would be just a number to them.

Have you been able to translate lessons from the military into your academics?

Yes, as a musician and a former service-member, I know what it takes to get a job done. I approach everything I do with structured diligence, and that often helps me succeed in the academic world.

As a veteran, what does Veterans Day mean to you?

This will be my first Veterans Day, as I’ve only been out of the Navy for just over two months. Veterans Day is a day to stop and thank the service-members who served. 

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