“Yes You Can!” – Alumni Update Featuring Meghan McConnell Young
This month’s installment of Alumni Update comes from 2013 graduate, Meghan Young. Read on to learn more about how life has changed since graduating from Northwest Arkansas Community College.
Tell us about your degrees and current employment.
I graduated with my Associate of Science in Nursing (ADN) in 2013 from Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC), and I just graduated with my BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) in May from the University of Arkansas!
I currently am the Assistant Director of Nursing at Fayetteville Health and Rehab, and I also work PRN (as needed) at Springwoods Behavioral Health (May 13th was my 4th year mark!)
Who did you marry, and how did you meet?
I married David Young in January of 2016. We had been dating since 2013 and met through a coworker of mine, who was his best friend. We were just friends, but I decided I wanted to be more than friends. There was a big snow that year, and David, who had been stationed in Iceland when he served in the Navy, had bragged about being a good driver on snow and ice. I was able to convince him that I couldn’t drive on the ice, so that he would take me to and from work. My plan worked because we started dating, were engaged in 2015, and married the next year!
What has been the most rewarding thing about having a degree?
So many different things: feeling accomplished, making a difference in the lives of others, having a steady job that not only helps pay the bills but allows us to have actual vacations together as a family are just a few. I think the biggest reward is making a difference – in my kids’ lives and in the lives of my patients.
What kept you motivated during your time as an SPSF scholarship recipient? How did SPSF NWA contribute to that motivation?
My children definitely did. We lived in government housing, received food stamps, child care vouchers. I wanted them to have better, and I didn’t want them to grow up thinking it was okay to depend on others. I wanted for them to be independent, and I, as their only parent at the time, had to set the example. My family was also a big motivation. They helped with my kids and helped remind me why I started out on this journey. Jody and Carrie were also big motivators. They have always popped up when I needed it the most – either by a random phone call, an email, or on Facebook. Just the fact that someone was in my corner that didn’t have to be, but chose to be, was a major influence. If they, and other supporters of SPSF NWA, thought that I could make it through nursing school and achieve my hopes and dreams, then surely I could. The other scholarship recipients helped to motivate as well. A few of us were neighbors, or had classes together, and one even went through nursing school with me.
Has your pursuit of a college education influenced your children or other family members?
I feel that it has with my oldest children. They don’t discuss “if” they go to college, they discuss “when” they go to college. I think one of my favorite memories was when Jonah was in preschool at Head Start. I walked into his class to pick him up, and I was wearing my green NWACC scrubs. While I was signing him out for the day, Jonah leaned over to his little friend and said, “See that? That’s my mommy. She’s going to college to be a nurse. One day I will go to college to be Batman.”
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
Happy and successful! Right now Jonah is torn between wanting to design video games or build roller coasters and Kenley wants to be a teacher.
What inspires you?
My kids, my family, and becoming the person that I feel I was put on Earth to be…
What has changed most for you and your family, now that you are no longer in school?
I have WAY more time on my hands! I am able to spend more time with my kids and my husband. I missed out on a lot of Jonah and Kenley being little, so I am enjoying Winter being little. We are also able to afford things, like vacations. We actually just got back from Disneyland a few days ago.
What was the most beneficial part of being a SPSF scholarship recipient?
Succeeding. I firmly believe I would not have been able to graduate without the help of SPSF. Whether it be financial, resources, or emotional support, I simply wouldn’t have made it. Going to college is tough, but going to college with children at home when you’re both mom and dad to your kids, is even tougher. I had people actually look at me in disgust and tell me that I was wrong for going to college to become a nurse because I should be at home with my babies. The unconditional support and being told, “yes you can” and being encouraged to continue to fight for a better life is what got me through.
What are your favorite family activities?
We love to cook out and have friends over. My husband and I just bought our first home (AH!), and we love to cook big meals and have friends over to eat. We also love watching movies together, playing games, being outside, and traveling.
What is your favorite SPSF memory or activity?
Oh man, so many! One year for Christmas, a family had sponsored our gifts. I was at a bad place emotionally, as I had just had Kenley and had worsening postpartum depression. I forgot that it was the day to pick up our gifts, when I got a call from SPSF. “Hey! This is Jody with SPSF, are you able to come pick up your gifts today?” I explained to her that I had just had a baby, and that I was unable to drive. She asked if she could bring the gifts to me, and I answered yes. My house was a mess. I quickly picked up a few things and tried to make it look okay. She arrived sooner than I expected. When Jody came in, she was very kind and loving. I didn’t feel judged that my house was pretty messy, that Jonah wasn’t dressed, and that I probably didn’t look so great myself. I remember Jody giving me a big hug, congratulating me on my baby, and saying “Merry Christmas.” I knew then that I had met someone who cared. And that person has proven to be one of my biggest support systems.
One year I attended Spark of Hope. I was sitting at a table with sponsors, and this lady asked if I was related to Jerry and Suzan McConnell. I told her that I was, that they are my parents. She began to cry and stated, “You don’t know who I am, but I helped your parents adopt you.” She was the adoption agent that my parents had used in order to adopt a child. (Me!) The best part was, I had actually been looking for her, as I had been trying to find out some more information about myself and about adoption. It was amazing to have been randomly seated at a table with a person that I had been searching for.
A few other great memories are Carrie showing up at my Pinning Ceremony, being chosen as an endowed scholarship recipient, and speaking at the Spark of Hope last year was pretty amazing as well.
Have you been able to encourage friends, family, or co-workers to go for their higher education goals?
Yes! I have actually received several messages that I have encouraged and inspired others to go to school to earn their education. That’s such a humbling thing to be told.
What was the best advice you received in school? How did it help you?
In nursing school, you are taught to use your resources. That is some of the best advice I can give anyone. Find and know your resources, and use them. You never know what doors will open when you utilize the things and people that have been given to you by a Higher Power.
What do you enjoy most about being a parent?
The love and the experiences! I love being with my kids when they try new things.
What would you like to say to SPSF NWA supporters?
Thank you for your donations! You truly are donating to an amazing organization that 100% changes people’s lives. This is in turn helps to change our community. I am a member of the Alumni Association, and I have to say, there are some amazing graduates that are actively changing and making a difference in #NWArk. Your donation not only changes the life of the recipient, but of his or her children as well, creating not just a difference in our community, but also in future generations as well.
What advice would you give someone desiring to go back to school?
Develop a plan, research it, find your resources, and set a goal. If you set your mind to it, you can accomplish it.
Posted by Christina Meeks on Monday, July 17th, 2017 @ 5:00AM
Categories: Alum, Alumni Update, Inspiring, Latest News, Meet a Recipient, Uncategorized
Tags: #BetterBrighterNWA, #ScholarshipsSupportSuccess, Alumni, Northwest Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas Community College, Nursing, NWACC, Scholarships for single moms, SPSF NWA, University of Arkansas