'My life is about to change'

Part of a series of stories profiling graduating students

- May 30, 2011

Kyra Wilson graduates with a degree in nursing.
Kyra Wilson graduates with a degree in nursing.

Kyra Wilson will never forget the day the envelope arrived. “As soon as I saw the acceptance letter from Dalhousie, I thought, ‘My life is about to change.’”

She was right. Six years later, Ms. Wilson is graduating with a Bachelor of Science, Nursing degree. She began her academic studies by completing the Transition Year Program (TYP), a one-year program that prepares First Nations and African Canadian students for post-secondary study.

“Being in TYP gave me the confidence to succeed,” she says. “The staff really care about you and the ongoing support is so important.”

Growing up in Halifax, Ms. Wilson always knew she would complete university, but her path took a bit of a detour. She started out at another university, but didn’t enjoy the experience and ended up leaving. After that, she spent a year working in coffee shops and grocery stores and “just being 19.”

“I knew I just couldn’t do that for the rest of my life,” she says candidly, “and that without education, I would only have limited choices.”

After completing TYP, she quickly discovered that the nursing program was a good fit. The program gave her the opportunity to learn in real-world settings, allowing her to discover her true path.

“In my second year, I had the opportunity to observe open heart surgery in the OR. When I first walked into the room, I thought I was going to faint. After watching the nurses who were so fast and so skilled, I thought, ‘Wow — I want to do that. I can do that.’”

She credits a large support network with giving her the encouragement to succeed, and is particularly thankful for the support of her grandmother and father.  “He is a single parent, so he made a lot of sacrifices. Without him, I don’t know what would have happened to me,” she says.

Ms. Wilson’s future plans include moving to Toronto after graduation to pursue her career in nursing. She hopes that she can inspire others to overcome similar challenges and follow their dreams. “I want to be a role model to other young, black girls in Halifax,” she says. “If I can do it, anyone can do it.”


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