Senior Venema ’19 Lived in Maine Briefly – But She Had to Come Back

This month’s Dirigo Award winner, Taylor Venema ‘19 of Spring Lake, Michigan, speaks candidly about why she chose to return to Maine for college and why she chose nursing.

What town or city do you live in when the university is not in session? 

My family lived in Everett, WA for my first three years at UMaine, but we just moved back to Spring Lake about a month ago. My stepdad is in the military, so I’ve lived all over the county. We’ve lived in Michigan, Alabama, Mississippi, Maine, and Washington.

Why did you choose that major and fields of study?

I chose nursing for a couple reasons. I’ve always been interested in the medical field, and I’ve considered other professions like a doctor or a surgeon throughout my life. I liked how nurses spend the most time with patients though. I also chose nursing because I wanted to help people and make an impact on their lives in any way I can. Nursing offers so many opportunities, and I can work in so many different places (i.e., jail, hospital, doctor’s office, etc.) with a nursing degree; this aspect was also really appealing to me!

Why did you choose to attend UMaine?

I chose to attend UMaine because I felt that my time in Maine wasn’t done. I moved to Maine at the end of my freshman year of high school. When I graduated high school, my family moved to the Seattle area, and I stayed here to spend a little more time in Maine! I applied to schools in different areas of the country (Michigan, Washington, Alabama, and Maine). In-state tuition is pretty cheap at UMaine too, so that’s definitely a plus!

What UMaine-affiliated clubs or organizations are you involved in?

I am a part of the Omicron Xi chapter of Sigma Theta Tau. Sigma Theta Tau is the honors society for nursing. I was inducted this past spring.

Favorite place to hang out on campus?

When the weather’s nice, I like to spend time on the mall between classes. I also like to go to the library to study.

Favorite place to hang out off campus?

Nest (a cafe in downtown Orono). I love their breakfast sandwiches!

What is your most memorable event or experience as a UMaine student?

Going to hockey games freshman year. I hadn’t been to many sporting events like that before, so it was cool to experience something new like that!

Aside from coursework and campus life, what are your interests or favorite things to do?

I like to read, do crafts, spend time with my friends, and go to the gym. My roommate and I are also taking ballet through UMaine this semester, and I’ve been enjoying it so far!

Who is/are your favorite UMaine professor(s) and what makes them stand out?

Nilda Cravens. She is so kind and generous, and she’s always willing to help you when you need it. I also like Susan Wheaton. I took pharmacology with her. The class was tough, and she really pushes you to be active and accountable for your education.

What are your plans for the year immediately following your UMaine graduation?

I will most likely move to Michigan after graduation. After passing the NCLEX, I want to get a job working in a hospital and begin my career as an RN! I love to travel, and I’m planning two trips in the next year. My friends and I are currently planning a graduation trip to Iceland, and my mom and I are talking about going to Tanzania to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro in January 2020.

What do you see yourself doing professionally once you’ve finished your education?

I can see myself working in a hospital, hopefully on a cardiac floor, in the emergency department, or in the ICU. Most new nurses start out doing medical-surgical nursing, so I’ll probably do that for a few years. After a few years of experience, I’d love to be a travel nurse! I’d also like to eventually go back to school to get my master’s degree in nursing.

What are the keys to being a successful student at UMaine?

Balancing working hard and relaxing! It’s important to spend time on schoolwork and succeed academically, but I think it’s just as important to take time for yourself and do something you enjoy.

The UMaine Alumni Association, with support from University Credit Union, each month presents its Dirigo Award to an undergraduate student who exemplifies the academic and civic ideals of the University of Maine. Selections are made in consultation with UMaine’s deans and the Division of Student Life.