She found support through her family — and an advisor who went above and beyond.
For Nasu-Alice Maqueta, the past few years have been defined by seismic changes in her life.
As an experienced registered nurse, she decided to advance her career by earning her Master of Science in Nursing from Maryville Online, specializing in psychiatric mental health. That’s no small undertaking, even for a nurse as seasoned as Nasu. But that wasn’t all.
“Throughout the program, I had several life changes,” she says. “I got married while I was in the program, had both of my kids while I was in the program.” Her family even faced difficulty as she neared the end of her program, when her second child had to spend some time in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU).
Any of these changes and challenges on its own would be monumental. But so many in such short order made for a unique situation for Nasu — one that required her to use her own strength and courage, her support network of family and friends, and the extensive resources provided by Maryville.
She was up for the task, and her student advisor, Kristina Campbell, had her back the whole way — helping her tap into her bravery and navigate every obstacle.
“[She] worked with me throughout the years — whatever I needed, there was somebody I could reach out to, talk to. Kristina was wonderful,” she says. “If I call her, the next day, she’ll text me, ‘When are you available for us to talk?’ Sometimes she’s the one that calls me and says, ‘When can we talk?’”
I can face any hardship, any hurdle … just knowing I was at the finish line and had people cheering me on.
Prestige, challenge, and support to match her ambitions
Nasu is no stranger to big life changes. Just consider the places she’s called home. She grew up in three very different locales, being born in the arid heat of Dallas, Texas, then raised in the tropics of Sierra Leone before returning to the United States, where she attended high school and college in Maryland.
Another defining life change occurred in her undergraduate years, during which she began pursuing her education in fashion before refocusing her trajectory toward nursing. That’s where she found her life’s calling.
After graduating and spending years in the field, the fashionista-turned-nurse was confident in her career skills, but she knew she wasn’t finished growing. Her next step was to become a nurse practitioner.
“I’m an expert nurse,” she says, “but a novice NP.”
When she decided to make the jump toward becoming a psychiatric mental health NP, she says three things were important to her in choosing an MSN program: prestige, challenge, and student support.
“I wanted … a school that is prestigious that I could be proud of,” she says. “A school [where] if I needed any kind of resources or wanted to reach out to anybody, it doesn’t have to be a struggle. Pretty much that was my big thing, especially being online, out of state.”
Maryville checked all the boxes. In her research, Nasu recognized Maryville’s online MSN program had a rigorous curriculum and experiential components that served as a refresher and helped her gain more experience to prepare for her career as a psychiatric mental health NP. She took full advantage of the degree requirements to soak in as much nursing practice as she could, knowing every bit would help her be the best nurse she could be.
‘She is like a godsend’: A strong bond between student and advisor
Throughout the duration of her MSN, Nasu knew she had a support network, both from her family and from Maryville. Her relationship with her student advisor, Kristina, is part of what kept her going when times were tough.
“She’s been there throughout,” Nasu says. “She will call me some days and I’m just in tears, like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ and she’s like, ‘Nasu, I need you to calm down. What can I do to help?’”
Even when unexpected and stressful situations arose for Nasu, like when her second child was in the NICU, Kristina was there to provide support and help her navigate the challenges.
“I felt like she knows me and my family through the program,” Nasu says of her advisor. “My kid was in the NICU, and her and I were on the phone because I was still in a class, and it was like a couple weeks left for the class to end. She was just calling me just to check on me to make sure I was OK.”
When Maryville University reopened its commencement ceremony to graduates and attendants in April 2022 — the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic turned the auspicious occasions to remote events — Nasu was there to celebrate in person. She missed her high school and undergraduate commencement ceremonies, but she was determined to walk across that stage for her MSN.
Her family was there to cheer her on — and so was Kristina. Nasu took the opportunity to meet her advisor during the pre-graduation festivities on campus.
“She is like a godsend,” Nasu says. “She’s the reason why I came to this open house today — to meet her in person.”
Kristina was just as excited for the chance to meet Nasu and celebrate her achievements.
“I mean, you work with them from the beginning, which is great, and you’re really being able to see them through the highs and the lows,” Kristina says. “But seeing them get to the end is always, for me, the icing on top of the cake.”
I felt like [my advisor] knew me and my family through the program. She was calling me just to make sure I was OK.
A helping hand at any hour
When she talks about her coursework and program, Nasu doesn’t pull any punches.
She knew going in that earning her degree would be a big commitment, especially while raising a family and working full time as a nurse. But by practicing excellent time management and letting her support network help her when needed, she was able to complete the program.
Nasu is a self-described night owl, and she did much of her coursework and tests well after midnight to work around her busy schedule. But even when most people were asleep, she knew she could count on support from Maryville — such as the promise of 24/7 technical support — in a pinch.
“I remember one time, I was locked out [of my account],” she says. “I called, and I was able to reach IT and they were able to help me, for me to take my exam at 2, 3 in the morning.”
Taking her education one step at a time
Nasu has now successfully completed her program and earned her MSN-PMHNP through Maryville Online. She has also gained a family — happy and healthy, following her youngest child’s health scare.
Nasu has reached the next chapter in her story, but she knows it’s not complete. She plans to take her board exam and practice as an NP for a while before eventually pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Ultimately, she wants to focus on adolescent and pediatric nursing.
For now, she’s happy to celebrate accomplishing a major goal, and she’s comfortable knowing what she can achieve — and that she has people in her corner.
“I can face any hardship, any hurdle … just knowing I was at the finish line and had people cheering me on,” she says.
If you’re ready to see how Maryville Online can help you be brave and pursue your educational and professional goals, we’re here for you. Check out our online bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctorate degrees, or schedule a call with an advisor today.
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