Despite having many obstacles thrown her way, Ivy Tech December graduate Julianna McDaniel turned them into opportunities to make a difference instead.
Before applying to Ivy Tech’s Nursing program, Julianna’s brother passed away in a motor vehicle accident.
“I always looked up to making him proud, and so losing him made me fear the day I would graduate and not be able to find his face in the crowd,” she said.
The healing process was long, but she found motivation in her children to watch her succeed at her dream.
Then during her time as a student, she still continued to meet challenges.
“My first semester of nursing, I fought for guardianship of my grandparents who were both being severely neglected at the long term care facility they chose to protect them,” she explained.
Her grandparents passed away, which was when Julianna said she almost lost her faith in the medical system, but decided to use this as her tool to make a difference.
“I also had a beautiful five-year-old little girl dropped off at my home, and when her father never came back for her, I started to realize the extreme neglect and abuse she endured in his care,” she said.
Julianna decided to fight for guardianship of the child, and won. She will be able to file for adoption of the girl in just a couple of months.
“All of these life altering circumstances tried to stand in my way of finishing school,” Juliana said. “I believe it only made me stronger by pushing through and succeeding to get me where I am today!”
To help her be successful, Julianna said Ivy Tech offered her many tools that she took advantage of, such as tutoring, advising, financial aid and great professors. In particular, she credits Randall Sharkley and Kimmie Leonard for helping her throughout her Ivy Tech journey.
“They both saw something in me I couldn’t even see myself, and lifted me up in times I didn’t think were possible.”
In addition, Julianna was involved in the Student Nurses Association, which she said helped her balance life and school.
As she worked through her program, she said clinicals were her absolute favorite. She loved every chance she had to practice her skills in real life situations.
After graduating in December 2017 with her Associate of Science in Nursing, Julianna would like to get into a nursing position in trauma or medical surgery that allows her to continue learning as much as possible. She would also like to obtain her bachelor’s degree within five years.
For those considering Ivy Tech, she said it was the best decision she has ever made.
“Don’t allow fear and apprehension to dictate your chances of achieving your dream.”
Along the way, Julianna is thankful to all the people in her life that made her dream possible, including her husband Jay. She also thanks her children Bailey, Keaton, Jaydah and Nevaeh for understanding that she had to sacrifice time and fun opportunities. Julianna said she also is thankful for all of the amazing friendships she made as a student and the professors that believed in her.
“Thank you for all making this dream possible! I promise to share the love!”