Kelly Small’s day begins at 4 a.m. An hour later, she’s behind the counter at a convenience store where she works until 2 p.m., sometimes later. By 5:30 p.m., she’s in a classroom at ECPI University’s Roanoke campus ready for class as she pursues her degree in Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN). After class, she goes home and does what school work she is not able to complete in between customers at work. If she’s lucky, she’s in bed by midnight.
What would motivate someone to undertake such a demanding schedule? For Kelly, it’s a two-part answer. First, she has always wanted to be a nurse. More importantly, however, it was a promise she made to her late grandmother. “My grandmother always wanted me to get a college degree,” says Kelly. “Before she died of cancer, she made me promise that I would go back to school. That’s what keeps me going.”
Despite her schedule, Kelly is off to an excellent start. She makes mostly A’s with an occasional B here and there. She expects to graduate this October. Once she gets a job, she plans to work a couple of years and then pursue another degree to become a Registered Nurse (RN). “ECPI University is the perfect fit for me,” says Kelly. “The schedule works with my lifestyle and my instructors are always willing to help me stay on top of what I need to do. I’m looking forward to October!”