For nearly a decade, it’s been Tina Guenther’s ambition to become a nurse. At Seward County Community College, the All-Kansas Academic Team honoree is making her dream come true.
The first-year nursing student wasn’t always sure about her career path, but when it finally became clear to her, she knew what road she was going to take.
“When I was younger I went back and forth on the things I wanted to do when I got older,” Guenther said. “I used to want to be a teacher and I think I would be good as a teacher. I think I was 12 or 13 when nursing was in my mind. I love being around people. I love helping others. Ever since then I was ‘okay I’m going to college for nursing.’”
With her goal clarified, Guenther took the initiative and enrolled in a certified nursing assistant program at a local nursing home.
“What better way to start my process of nursing than becoming a CNA?” Guenther said. “I took those classes and became a CNA. I started working at the nursing home and was there for about three years.”
As she continued her path to college and a future in nursing, Guenther knew that SCCC was where she wanted to go.
“It didn’t take very much for me to decide where I wanted to go to college. I always heard really good things about the nursing program here,” Guenther said, adding the school’s hospitality made a positive first impression on her.
“The first thing that spoke out to me was when I did my campus tour was I felt really welcomed here,” Guenther said. “Everybody was so friendly and so helpful with anything I needed. I really loved how my name was written on the admissions window. That was, oh my gosh, they know my name! I felt really special.”
Another plus for Guenther was the size of SCCC, which offered the best of both worlds.
“It’s definitely a lot bigger than what I’m used to in my hometown, but it’s a small college and that makes it easy for me to ask questions, talk to teachers,” said Guenther, who went to high school in Copeland, Kansas – population of 300. “The classroom are super small with 20 students, if that. It’s very easy for me to learn and ask questions. That’s how I learn the best.”
Guenther has always been a strong student. She said her drive to obtain an education comes from her parents: she aims to achieve what they could not.
“(My parents) never really had the option to further their education,” she said. “I don’t even think they knew it was an option at all. ‘Eighth grade and we’re done. We gotta work now.’ For the ladies, it’s ‘gotta take care of the house, gotta raise the kids.’ Just from hearing their stories I want to be the one to do what they couldn’t do. To be the best that I can for them.”
Guenther has excelled at Seward, but that doesn’t mean it comes easy for her, especially in nursing.
“It’s really rough, but you have to take it one day at a time, or even one hour at a time with all the things we have to do,” Guenther said. “I have a really good nursing class. I feel like we get along really well. If we need help with something we all help each other out. (The instructors) are really concerned about our success and do their best to help us.”
While pursing nursing, Guenther has also received an Associate of Science at SCCC along the way.
“It’s a really big accomplishment,” Guenther said of receiving her degree. “It’s amazing.”
Guenther knows the first milestone of her journey will be over in a year and is looking forward to it.
“It’s gone by so fast,” she said. “It’s going to be my last year and I’m really excited to finally put my skills into practice.”