My name is Meijin Wang, and I am from China. I’ve lived in Rochester, Minnesota since 2006. When I arrived, I discovered the freezing weather they have here in Rochester, and its long six-month winter. My English was limited, so I started to work as a kitchen helper at a Chinese restaurant. I worked 12 hours every day, no regular holidays and weekend schedule. For the first five years, I have three children, two boys and a girl. We live in a three generation household: my kids, me and my husband, and their grandparents. My kids spent most of their time with their grandparents and they rarely spent time with me due to my working shifts. When I get home from work, it would usually be passed 11 o’clock. I felt that I didn’t spend enough time with my kids. So I told myself that I wanted to live a normal life with my children: having dinner together, spending time over the weekends and holidays, doing what most parents do with their kids.
When my youngest daughter started kindergarten, I went to Hawthorne Adult Learning Center to improve my English. There, I took some reading and writing classes to improve my second language: English. Most students at the learning center were also immigrants from different countries, and have very limited English. Because of this, we couldn’t find a professional job. Hawthorne provides a variety of classes to help their students reach their school goal for example, getting a GED, a post-secondary certification. During school, my friends all talk about the world-famous Mayo Clinic and how great of a hospital it is. Someday, I want my children to proudly say, “My mom works at Mayo Clinic.” So, I started to formulate a dream, a dream that is, working at Mayo.
I still remembered one of my reading teachers. I remember telling him that I wasn’t sure how many years it would take for me to study and find a job at Mayo since I was still struggling with language barriers. I am a mom of three children that works a full-time job at a restaurant. However, he told me that everyone turns 40 and each person has a different journey to his/her own destination. It’s never too late to start something and get closer to your destination. He said, “When you recall your life when you’re 40, you will not regret that step you made.” I started to take one or two classes first. Through this, I learned how to use my free time wisely. Like studying while waiting for my children’s afterschool activities are done, listening to lecture recordings while driving, and asking for help when I needed it. I tried to do my best to balance my school life and family life.
I enrolled in a program called “Bridges to College and Careers-bridges to healthcare”. This program collaborates with Hawthorne education, Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC), workforce development, and Mayo clinic. This program provides the courses and support the immigrant needs to successfully make a transition from adult learning education to post-secondary certifications and degrees in healthcare. I took the Clinical Nurse Aid (CNA) class and got my license at 2015. I started working as a CNA at a nursing home and at the same time, I transferred to RCTC, and obtained Advanced Hospital Nursing Assistant license with high honor. After that, I took pre-require classes to prepare to enter the nursing program and got accepted by the RCTC nursing program with GPA 4.0 at 2018. This year, I graduated the Associate Degree Nursing program at RCTC with Honors GPA., and I passed my NCLEX-RN exam in July.
I was so thankful for enrolling in the bridge program; I met so many great people during this bridge program, helping me to reach my dreams. The bridge program went through everything these few years. It not only helped me start a new career, but it also built a strong foundation to support my dream job. I was helped with college class registrations, planning, books, tuition help, and job preparation. I had my first interview and got the nurse offer at Mayo Clinic. My first start day is 10/26. I am more than happy to provide care towards patients in a hospital setting, and to put my education into action.
After so many years put into learning, I wanted to share my journey to the students of Hawthorne. To the people who seek help to improve their future; do not be afraid to have a big dream. But if you think the dream is too big for you, just start with a smaller step, and you will reach your dream someday. Here is where my dream started, and it can be where yours starts too.