Many students were affected by COVID-19, and Cristina Ferraro was no exception. She was ultimately inspired by the dedication of the nation’s healthcare workers, who labored tirelessly when tending to their patients. In an interview, Ferraro discussed why this influenced her decision to major in Nursing, and what she hopes to accomplish during her time at Westfield State.
“I primarily chose nursing after the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said about her choice. “I saw how much of an impact nurses have on their communities and their patients. I really wanted to join that type of community and become that person that can support other people in the world.”
Of course, choosing a major is never the end of the story. Ferraro also discussed what she loves about her studies, mentioning the diverse nature of the field. “There’s so many options for you once you graduate. There are so many different types of nursing… there’s hospital nursing, there’s community nursing, there’s types of nursing that you don’t even think about that are out there. And you can decide different options however down the line you are. Twenty years down the line, you can choose a new nursing career.”
The faculty has also been a highlight of her experience, as she’s felt supported throughout her time at Westfield State. “The nursing program faculty are wonderful,” she said about her professors. “Their offices are basically right there next to the class, so if you leave [class] super confused and don’t know what’s going on… you can ask them questions. Or, if you just want to talk to them about what’s going on even outside of the classroom, they’re open to any conversation.”
To Ferraro, the Westfield State campus has helped develop her sense of independence, being “one of a kind”. “It’s large enough to create your own path, but it’s small enough to find the people that can support you through your journey. You’re able to become your own independent person in a safe environment.”
Independence became even more crucial to Ferraro during the pandemic, where students relied on technology to help connect them with their schools. Westfield State, being highly accessible in a time where that was rare, was the deciding factor for her. “I chose Westfield State because during the time of my high school graduation,” she said about it. “Everything was very virtual, and it was kind of hard to have a connect between me and all the campuses I was deciding between.”
Communication with Westfield State was easy, however. As a prospective student, being able to meet her potential professors was helpful, as was the University’s low tuition rates. “Accepted Students Day was virtual, so we had everyone on the screen and you could see who the faculty were. I also chose it because it was close to home, and really cost effective for the major I was choosing.”
Although graduation is still a few years away, her studies are going well, and Ferraro feels prepared for the rest of her undergraduate journey. “I’m being prepared for my future by being involved in the simulation labs and our nursing department,” she said about her future.
“Classes are very integrated within your field. Even classes that aren’t based on your major—English classes, math classes… they teach you all the concepts you need to learn in the real world. They just really prepare you for what it’s going to be like out there on your own.”