Student Spotlight: Clare Mayer
Clare Mayer never paid much attention to nursing until her parents asked what interested her.
“Being caring parents, my Mom and Dad sat down with me and told me to tell the story of my life so far, hoping that somewhere along the line was the answer to my problem,” she said. “My mother told me that the best career is one where my passion meets my talents. In the end, I decided that I wanted to be a geriatric nurse because I grew up in an orphanage that was attached to an older-age home and truly enjoyed my times with the residents.”
The orphanage was located in Vietnam, and Mayer spent her first nine years there. It was not an easy life.
“We younger kids were treated unkindly by older kids,” she said. “There was no safety and stability in life, and we could not depend on other people to help us. Worst of all, we lacked parents who could give us love and support.
“Despite the many difficulties, there was a bright side. My orphanage was connected to an older-age home. Many times, I would sneak over the fence to talk and play cards with the older people. It was during these times when I came the closest to receiving what I needed the most – love. The older people, especially a lady whom I will never forget, showed me what love was and how it felt to be loved. This is the time I look back to as when I found my calling to be a geriatric nurse.”
Mayer and her sister were both adopted at the same time, and their parents brought them to the U.S. She currently is the oldest of eight.
When it came time for college, Mayer was fortunate to live near College of DuPage, which offered affordable tuition and a well-regarded Nursing program. She also has received several scholarships through the College of DuPage Foundation: the Hal Keller/Forbes Scholarship, Naperville Rotary Charities, Lillian Neale Campbell Scholarship, the Paul W. and Katherine T. Hedburn Impact Scholarship, and the Foundation Supplies Scholarship.
“Not only is COD helping me learn the knowledge and skills I need to become a nurse, it is also helping me financially through local and foundation scholarships,” she said. “Although these donors are helping me financially, they are also helping me in something that I believe is much more meaningful, which is realizing how blessed and fortunate I am.
“Best of all, COD is allowing me go after my dream. I believe that being a geriatric nurse is what I was made to do, and I am determined to go after that goal.”
Mayer completed her CNA certificate and works at Maple Glen, a memory care facility where she completed a clinical. She also is pursuing her Associate Degree in Nursing and is beginning a clinical at Glen Oaks Hospital.
After finishing at College of DuPage, Mayer would like to enter the 3+1 Nursing program with Benedictine University and earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. From there she wants to continue making a difference.
“I like helping the elderly in their last stages of life. I want to ease their burdens because they certainly eased mine in the orphanage,” she said. “These people depend on and trust people to help them with the activities of daily living. With patience and little acts of kindness, caregivers can create a big difference in their lives.”
Mayer advises any student to take advantage of College of DuPage.
“It is a perfect place to start following your dreams,” she said. “Even if you have no clue what you want to do, you can at least get the general education out of the way at a very reasonable cost. I have heard that most people in the end found their passions and talents at COD.”
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