Campus Essentials - There to Here - Seven Questions: Interview with Janice Caie-Lawerence

Here we are, already in the midpoint of the semester. This is the time we second-guess our course selections and self-doubts creep in. Perhaps you’re wondering if you have what it takes to be a successful student. The novelty of the course has rubbed off and you wonder, will this semester ever end?
Cheer up, it’s almost over! Final exams and term paper submissions are just a few weeks away and exams start December 11. If that didn’t cheer you up, not to worry – you are among thousands of students who are feeling the same “mid-term blues”. Believe it or not, you will survive.
Perseverance is extremely important when you have mid-term blues. Perseverance, simply put for our purpose, is the ability to withstand the challenges of the semester and stick with the course or a goal no matter what. A person who is an excellent example of determination, tenacity, and perseverance is Janice Caie-Lawerence.
Janice’s colleagues describe her as having laser-sharp focus. She is a joy to be around and extremely generous with her knowledge. Janice has been kind enough to share the experiences she had while pursuing her degree. In reading her story, I am sure she will give you the inspiration and reassurance that you will survive, persevere and have a successful semester. Enjoy!

What degrees have you earned to date?
-1977 Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing – Wayne State University
-Master’s Degree in Primary Care Nursing – Wayne State University

As Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence& Innovation (CTEI) what are your responsibilities
I am a nursing instructor and Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence & Innovation (CTEI). As a nursing instructor, I coordinate a service learning project in partnership with the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeast Michigan, bringing students to community sites to provide flu vaccinations. As CTEI Director, I provide HFCC faculty with professional development opportunities to promote student success in the classroom.
Past nursing positions include staff and charge nurse in hospitals, community health nurse and Director of Clinical Services in home health care, and assistant professor in a baccalaureate program. I currently continue my 15 year practice as an advanced nurse practitioner working at Detroit Healthcare for the Homeless.

As an undergraduate student, what was your experience like?
Challenging, exciting, and hectic! I commuted to Wayne State and held two to three part-time jobs to support myself and pay for college. Way back in my early years of elementary school I knew I wanted to be a nurse. So it was this goal that I continued to strive for. Being goal oriented, then, played a huge part in getting through the rigorous nursing program. I worked hard both at school and at work. But being single, responsible just for myself, allowed me to have time for myself. I was able to not only pursue other interests but was able to spend time with my family and friends.

What was the most difficult challenge you faced while in college and how did you manage it?
Finances. I held various part-time jobs, three in fact at one time, as I went through school. At the end of my junior year, I ended up “stepping out” for a year so that I could make some money. The ironic thing is that when I went back as planned a year later, I had made too much money to qualify for student loan assistance. Go figure! Well it was my goal-oriented self that helped to get me through. I landed a good paying full-time job on the midnight shift in a hospital and finished my senior year.

What do you believe are the rewards of your education?
I live the rewards of my education everyday. I make a living and get paid for doing something I really like! And it’s not just a job. It’s a profession. It’s a career. Being a nurse and now being a teacher as well allows me to do what I believe I am here on earth to do – care for others – help to make the world a better place – make a difference. And going through the tough times, that is making it through a rigorous academic while always trying to figure out how to make ends meet, I developed two characteristics that have served me well - perseverance and tenacity.

Did and do you have mentors in your life?
Yes! I believe we all have mentors whether we know it or not. Think deeply. They are there. For me, it was a nurse who believed in me – he said I could be a nurse practitioner. Why did I doubt myself? He had a great impact on my becoming one. I once had a boss who took me under her wing and offered me her wisdom and care to frame difficult situations I encountered as chaIlenges. She showed me another perspective. There have been many others over the years who have provided me with respite, care, hope, and joy. Be on the look- out. Listen. They indeed are there.
In giving advice to students regarding pursuing their dreams, what role do you believe charity, gratefulness, self-determination and forgiveness play in the success of a person’s educational pursuits and a productive life?
Thirty-four years in my profession, I offer this advice: trust in yourself. Look at your strengths. Develop tenacity. Persevere in the pursuit of your dreams. Don’t worry so about taking crooked paths to get to where you want to go (it’s much more interesting than the straight path that never veers). Heck, if you’re not even sure where you want to go, just keep going. The important thing is not to give up! Talk to your teachers. Talk to your counselors. Get help! Don’t try to solo it alone. Finally, volunteer somewhere. Anywhere. Give to others - in reality, this is the most precious gift you can give to yourself.