John Lennon famously sang, ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.’ If anything highlights this concept more perfectly, it has been the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the world, people’s plans were uprooted as life happened. However, while tragedy and heartbreak struck, heroes emerged among us in the healthcare sector—yet, the pandemic exposed a secret kept quiet in the years leading up to the virus; there is a severe nursing shortage.

Nursing school is known to be a competitive and challenging program, yet many report they wouldn’t have changed their vocation because of the great satisfaction it gives them. Nursing is not just passing a pill or putting bandages on. Nurses are a perfect blend of science and technology, with the art of caring.

So, when life happens (like it did for me) and the idea of continuing seems dismal, any support feels like a great relief. For this reason, the SOAR (Students Overcoming And Rising) Fund is being created. The mission of the SOAR Fund is to provide monetary relief and hope to any Bachelors-level Nursing Student encountering hardship in their life. Hardship means a lot of things to a lot of people. For me, it was continued medical issues but for others it could be the death of a parent, a divorce, loss of a job, a sick child, or any number of things life has in mind. I would not have been able to graduate and obtain my ultimate dream of becoming a flight nurse if it wasn’t for the unyielding support of my loved ones and my network. 

The world owes a debt to healthcare workers for their role in the pandemic that truly never can be repaid. However, we can pay it forward by supporting the next generation of nursing professionals in their educational plans. 

To end again with John Lennon, sometimes ‘I get by with a little help from my friends.’

Stephanie Suzadail ’14

Join Stephanie in this initiative.

To help students’ dreams and opportunities “soar,” please consider a gift to the SOAR Fund at Penn College. Thank you in advance for your consideration!

If you prefer to mail your gift, please use the printable gift form.