Anitha knew only squalor growing up, yet she clung to high ambitions of becoming a nurse. Her mother worked as a cleaner in a local hospital and would bring home stories of how the nurses would cheer up patients. Anitha held these stories dear to her and drew from their strength.
She was a bright, hard-working student in high school and was celebrated by teachers as the student with the most promising future. As she approached her final months of high school however, her father’s addiction to alcohol was at its all-time worst. He spent most nights in a rage, physically and emotionally abusing her mother, her sister and herself. So, apart from the emotional trauma of abuse that comes with its own psychological complications, she found herself completely unprepared when she sat in the exam room for her finals.
Naturally, she was heartbroken but not surprised when she failed her 12th grade finals. Her ambitions of becoming a nurse seemed to quickly vaporise before her.
Months passed and she slipped into a mild depression at her seeming fate. It was a friend of hers that directed her to the IIDA Community College in Aminjikarai, Chennai, and told her that it could just be the thing for her – that they take on students that otherwise had little prospects.
She grudgingly filled out the application and got accepted into the college. Anitha’s strength at this time was her mother’s urging and encouragement; her mother refused to sit and watch her daughter be miserable and hopeless. She even held her hand, bringing her to her first day at the college.
Anitha remembers her first hour at IID vividly. At the orientation assembly, a kind-faced teacher addressed the new students with smiles and warmth. It seemed like the teacher was talking to her when she said that this college was to be their new second home, a place where the she would not just learn her skill, but where she would learn about bettering herself, and understanding the world with a view of compassion. Anitha says, “The love was magnetic, and that same love has kept me inspired and motivated throughout my year-and-a-half in this college!”
Anitha completed her first year at IID with flying colours and has just begun a college-driven internship with Noble Hospital in North Chennai where she works in the Intensive Care Unit as a nursing assistant. “I love waking up to the thought that I will learn something new!”, she says.
Anitha recalls, this time with tears of joy, how her mother returned at the beginning of the second year to meet Mrs. Regi, the leader of the College. “My daughter is a changed girl!”, she cried, “thank you for helping her be the best that she can possibly be!”
Anitha’s dream is now a reality well within her grasp as she muses, “yes, I am close to being a nurse, but now what I really want is to come back and work for IIDA College, to help other nursing students be better nurses than they ever thought possible! I want to be surrounded by this atmosphere of love at all times and help it spread and grow!”