Amanda Mason, 33, of Lexington Park had always wanted to go to nursing school. When her husband, who was in the Navy, was stationed at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, she looked for good nursing programs in the area. “The college of Southern Maryland seemed to be just what I was looking for — CSM’s NCLEX pass rates are higher than the state and national average, and their nursing program has an outstanding reputation in the community.”
However, Mason had an uncommonly rough start as she began her studies at CSM. Her husband, a veteran, was already suffering from anxiety and a degenerative disc disease. In the summer of 2015, he was also diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, a slow-growing cancer. Though becoming a nurse had long been her dream, Mason considered giving up school because of her husband’s health situation.
“He wouldn’t let me,” she said. “He said I’d worked too hard to give up just because of him.”
Mason noted that the faculty at CSM were also very supportive. “Professor Turner Coggins was amazing,” she said. “I swear he has seen me cry more times than my own husband has. Professor Coggins has a wonderful sense of humor and could always make me laugh through my tears.”
Despite the concerns in her personal life, Mason flourished as a nursing student. She was inducted into Alpha Delta Nu Honor Society and is the current president of CSM’s chapter. Mason was awarded the St. Mary’s County Government Annual Scholarship and the Christopher Chinault Scholarship during her years at CSM.
She hopes to continue her education and eventually become a nurse midwife or a sexual assault nurse examiner and may even pursue a doctorate to become a nurse practitioner. “The flexibility in nursing is wonderful,” she said. Also as she looks to the future, Mason and her husband are excited about buying their first home and their plans to adopt a baby girl.
Mason said she has been looking forward to participating in CSM’s graduation ceremony and nursing recognition.
“This isn’t just a celebration of graduating college. This is a celebration of the journey I and my family have been on these past three years, and I wouldn’t miss it for anything!”