Like all students, Lauren Chastain '23 eagerly anticipates her graduation day. Imagining that day and the excitement of her husband and 5-year-old twin sons motivates her to remain on track, and to enjoy her time as a student. “They are going to be so excited,” Chastain says. “They’re probably going to embarrass me by acting crazy, but the day I graduate -- along with their craziness -- will be so rewarding. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Chastain is a nursing student at Reinhardt’s Cauble School of Nursing and Health Sciences. She is one of Reinhardt’s motivated adult learners who has returned to school full-time to earn her degree while also raising a family.
After high school, Chastain obtained an associate degree in paramedicine, followed by a few years as an EMT, then a lay-off -- and burnout. After opportunities presented by the pandemic and considering the needs and timing for her twins and family, she shared, “My husband and I decided that now would be the best time to return for my nursing degree.”
Of several options, Chastain chose Reinhardt because of its proximity to her home, the intimate class size and time with professors. “The small cohort allows students and faculty to build relationships, form strong bonds and lean on each other during their years together.” She also appreciated the degree option. “For the time, affordability and effort, I wanted to receive the best degree I could which, for nursing, is a bachelor’s degree.”
Chastain acknowledges that returning to school and balancing multiple personal and professional priorities can be challenging. “It’s not something that you can’t do - you have to want to do it! By returning to school, I teach my children to hold on to their dreams and that, with hard work, they can achieve their goals.”
Following graduation and her own dream of becoming a nurse, Chastain desires a career in trauma – a passion further ignited by her Lettie Pate Whitehead scholarship.
“Learning about the life of Lettie Pate Whitehead and the meaning behind the scholarship gives me a new perspective and renewed energy to take part in service and leadership activities offered on campus. My time is precious but involvement in those activities is important to me. As a scholarship recipient, I want to best represent this honor.”
Receiving the scholarship prompted Chastain to take part in the Fall 2021 Great Day of Service. Reinhardt students worked with Waleska United Methodist Church to make 260 care bags for nurses. “The nurses and technicians at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital were so appreciative, but I was equally as grateful -- it was such a rewarding experience! I look forward to these meaningful volunteer opportunities at Reinhardt.”
When she has the time, Chastain enjoys photography, a hobby-turned-small business. Most recently, two of Chastain’s photographs were accepted into Reinhardt’s “Sanctuary” magazine.
Chastain can already see the light at the end of the graduation tunnel – a proud family, a rewarding career, and a Reinhardt nursing diploma! “It’s never too late to dust off a dream and go after it.”