Student Spotlight: Lamarr Stringfellow, Nursing Club Freshman Class President [12/11/2017]
Prairie State College (PSC) nursing student Lamarr Stringfellow believes that with perseverance comes personal and academic success, a lesson he has learned from life experiences.
Recently named PSC Nursing Club freshman class president, Stringfellow is an outstanding student, and, while he is proud of his academic success, he admits he was not always a high achiever. In fact, during his first year at PSC, Stringfellow says he was placed on academic probation.
The Park Forest, Ill. resident says he has not always taken school seriously.
“I started high school at a third-grade reading level,” said Stringfellow. “I used to have a lot of behavioral problems, so I didn’t really feel like a student at all.”
Even when he first started at PSC, Stringfellow says he did not apply himself. He withdrew from several courses and did not regularly attend classes.
Stringfellow’s life began to change after he became a father to his now eight-year old daughter. With this and other life events, he felt motivated to start again.
“I feel like I’d gotten a lot of opportunities,” says Stringfellow. “I know people who didn’t get second chances, so I definitely want to take advantage of mine. Plus, I feel like my daughter is watching me.”
Stringfellow finally decided to seriously pursue his studies, and has since earned A’s in every class. He even was named to the dean’s list for the spring 2017 semester, and, although he felt good about his accomplishments, he still struggled with self-confidence.
“Despite the fact that I was doing well, it was overshadowed by self-doubt based on what I’ve done in the past,” said Stringfellow. “It didn’t match up to where I was headed.”
It was his anatomy and physiology professor, Dr. Paul Thomas, who saw something in Stringfellow that Stringfellow did not see in himself. He said Thomas encouraged him and gave him the boost he needed to push forward. He even told Stringfellow that he would become a doctor someday, which is one of Stingfellow’s life goals.
“It was crazy, because I didn’t even tell him about what I wanted to do, but he saw it in me and that played a big role in my confidence,” said Stringfellow.
While becoming a doctor is a distant aspiration, for now, Stringfellow is pursuing his degree in nursing. He chose the profession because, despite his past issues in school, he has always been a “science nerd.”
“I am obsessed with the body, diseases and disorders, and I definitely love working with people,” said Stringfellow.
To put himself through college, Stringfellow works as a real estate broker and ATM owner and operator. He interacts with people regularly and feels his interpersonal experiences will translate well in the healthcare field. He believes that when people are sick, they deserve to be treated with the “utmost care, both physically and emotionally.”
“People go through so much, and you never know what someone is dealing with,” said Stringfellow. “Your particular interaction could make someone’s entire day better.”
The Nursing Program at PSC, which celebrated a 50-year anniversary in 2016, and was recently named one of the “Best RN Programs in Illinois” by RegisteredNursing.org, is one of the most challenging and rewarding according to Stringfellow.
“The program is tough, but I enjoy it,” said Stringfellow. I just recently got a sense of how big the program is and when I tell people I attend PSC, they say, ‘that’s a great program,’” he said. “I am proud to be a part of it.”
Stringfellow plans to graduate with the class of 2019. After earning his degree, he wants to work at Advocate Christ Medical Center in the Intensive Care Unit. Once his daughter is older, he plans to attend medical school.
Stringfellow says he believes he can achieve his goals and wants to encourage students to keep going, no matter what.
“As a student, I am still working through the journey and there are times when I question, ‘is this something that I really want to do?’” says Stringfellow. “But you have to keep moving forward. Even if you fail at something, you’ve got to stay consistent and persistent.”