SAN ANTONIO – St. Philip’s College is celebrating the accomplishments of graduate and Army veteran, Brittanie Rivas.
Rivas enrolled at the East Side campus as her first step towards helping others. During her time at St. Philip’s, Rivas accomplished another dream: starting a family. The milestone, Rivas said, has motivated her even more to become a nurse.
For Rivas, plans for a vacation during Spring Break, family celebrations, and graduation all came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the help of professors, Rivas was able to adjust to a new standard to earn her pre-nursing degree from St. Philip’s College.
“Honestly, if we didn’t have Zoom, I’m not sure what we would do,” Rivas said. “It would be kind of hard.”
A daunting task that required a lot of organization and support from family to get through, yet, according to Rivas, it was not her toughest challenge to overcome while enrolled at St. Philip’s.
“It was hard at first because I was pregnant,” Rivas said. “My first semester I was pregnant with my first child. Once I gave birth to him, I had a lot of help from my mother-in-law and my husband.”
Her son, Derek, was born in 2018 during her first semester on-campus. During her last semester amidst the pandemic, Rivas gave birth to her second child, Luca.
“Again, (my) family helped a lot for me to get my degree,” Rivas said.
She also credits her success to the professors who went the extra mile to help her through, what she considers to be, the most rigorous online course.
“My microbiology class was tough at first,” Rivas said. “Our professor, was really helpful. We even went over COVID-19 because it was relevant.”
With her pre-nursing degree in-hand, Rivas is determined to continue her education to become a labor and delivery nurse.
“Even before the Army, I have always wanted to be a nurse just because (there are nurses) in my family, and I’ve always wanted to give that care to people,” Rivas said. Rivas served in the Army for three years as a 92-Whiskey Water Treatment Specialist.
Although her career in the military isn’t related to her degree, Rivas said the leadership while stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky left a big impact on her.
“It definitely matured me. It made me who I am, to be honest,” Rivas said.
Her hope is to inspire moms and mothers-to-be to also focus on their personal dreams.
“Even if you have babies, you can still have a career,” Rivas said.
Rivas said the pandemic has lit a fire inside of her to continue working towards her goal. Rivas is now enrolled at Central Texas College in Killeen, Texas to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in nursing.