As National Nurses Day is celebrated Thursday, Harford Community College student Shreeyam Mishra is in the midst of wrapping up a full semester of studies for a nursing career that she has wanted since she was young.
“It is a cliché to say that I’ve always known what I want to do with my life, but in my case, it happens to be true,” Mishra said. “Coming from a business family, everyone expected me to follow the same path and thought I was crazy to opt for a nursing career.”
Mishra, an Abingdon resident, is in the associate-to-bachelor’s dual enrollment nursing program at Harford Community College. She takes classes in nursing and computer science at Harford toward an associate degree while also taking nursing classes at Towson University toward a bachelor’s degree. She hopes to complete her associate degree at Harford by next May and her bachelor’s from Towson in December 2022.
Her goal is to be a nurse informaticist, which is a blend of nursing and computer science. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in the field.
Mishra’s path to Harford Community College was a roundabout one. After completing two years of an advanced nursing hospital program in her home country of India, she worked as a nursing assistant. In that role, Mishra “looked at my best nurse managers and thought, ‘I could do that.’”
Her parents sent her to the United States to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Mishra originally planned to attend the University of Toledo in Ohio, but a 2018 Christmas visit to relatives in Harford County changed those plans.
She became intrigued with Harford Community College and decided to apply, but was worried she wouldn’t be accepted for the spring semester because it was already late December.
“I don’t know if it’s luck or destiny, but I was accepted at Harford,” she said. “That was the best decision I made.”
HCC, Mishra said, has become a second home.
“During my time at Harford, the faculty, staff and students have created the most comfortable and satisfying academic and social environments I have ever experienced,” she said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The faculty and staff here are unbelievable. They always have your best interests at heart, and that’s why I really love this school.”
Even while carrying a full load of classes this spring, including 15.5 credits at Harford and 3 credits at Towson, Mishra stays involved in campus and community activities.
She is executive vice president of the Rho Beta Chapter of the PTK Honor Society, an officer of Psi Beta, treasurer of the Student Government Association, a councilmember representing community colleges for the Maryland Youth Advisory Council and a member of the Maryland Higher Education Commission Student Advisory Council.
Mishra is also a student representative on the College’s Academic Technology Advisory Committee and serves on one of the Middle States Self-Study Working Groups. She also joined the College’s Emerging Leaders program, designed to prepare students for leadership in the classroom, workplace and community.
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The Emerging Leaders program has helped her gain confidence, Mishra said.
“After completing my first Emerging Leader step, I know I am ready to step into a career involving high-pressure situations and quick decision making,” she said. “It will help me become a competent, confident leader.”
She received an Emerging Leaders Scholarship — funded by the annual ATHENA Leadership Awards breakfast — and was the student speaker at this year’s ATHENA virtual event in early March.
Receiving the scholarship “was a special boost because I felt that someone else appreciated what I was doing,” she said. “Everyone says a scholarship helps you complete college, but for me, it is helping me believe that I can also be a successful woman and make a difference to humanity.”
Mishra provides advice to college students.
“Never stop looking for opportunities, because in every one of those buildings there are cool things going on that you should be taking part in. You have to know what you want to do,” Mishra said. “Always set goals first and then act. As you take initiative and begin to pursue your goals, it gets easier. Always remember the road to your success is not a highway. You will have to create it on your own as you go.”
Theresa Wiseman is a community contributor and wrote this article on behalf of Harford Community College.