Never giving up
Osher Scholar Adania Godwin will be excited to graduate from the School of Nursing next spring, but the 34-year-old says it’s been a long road. Her struggles started with a rap at the door that turned her life upside down. Knock. Knock. “Mrs. Adania Godwin?” a man asked. She nodded. “You’ve been served.”
“With a knock on the door, I found myself facing an unexpected divorce,” she says. “Words of divorce were never spoken. An argument never occurred. I was dependent on my husband at that point. I wasn’t working because I was focused on school. He took the money and told me to get out. He left us with nothing.” Desperate to keep it together for her three young girls and with nowhere else to turn, Godwin sought out her counselor at the UMKC School of Nursing who put her in touch with the Osher Scholarship Program. “One door closed but another one opened, and the Osher Scholarship stepped in. I’m here today because of the generosity of strangers,” she says. “This scholarship has blessed and changed the life of my entire family.”
Godwin says this isn’t the first time she’s had to start over. After graduating from high school in 1994, she enrolled at Wichita State University, but she dropped out after a year and a half. She eventually returned to Kansas City and landed a job as a patient care technician in the rehabilitation department at St. Luke’s Hospital—a position she held for nine years. After Godwin had her first daughter, she says she wanted a change and started thinking about going back to school. “While working at St. Luke’s, I knew I liked nursing,” she says, “but I was frustrated, because I was in an assistant role. I didn’t have a lot of options or flexibility. I didn’t have a voice, but I knew I could be the nurse.”
Godwin enrolled in some classes and tried to juggle them with work and raising her daughter, but she eventually dropped out. It took another six years before she tried college again. “I finally got really serious with my schooling in 2003,” she says. “I was married and had two more young girls at home, but I was determined to go back to school and finish. I didn’t know how, but I was going to do it.”
Godwin applied to UMKC and was awarded a general scholarship from the UMKC Bloch School of Business and Public Administration, which awards more than $130,000 annually to its students. “I began general studies in fall 2005,” she says. “I learned so much about myself and got back so much confidence. People here encouraged me where I didn’t believe in myself.” The encouragement, she says, got her through one of the roughest times in her life: her divorce.
In January, Godwin pushed graduation back a year to pick up a minor in humanities and healing, and says she will continue working as a student nurse at Kansas City’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center until graduation. Her hard work is paying off. Godwin already accepted a full-time job with the VA starting next May. With graduation within reach, Godwin says her educational journey is just beginning. She plans to work at the VA for a year before returning to UMKC to pursue a master’s degree in nursing education. “I want to be the next voice that pushes somebody along, just like the ones I had who encouraged me,” she says. “I want to be able to give back and say, ‘Don’t give up. If I could do it, you can do it.’”