GALWAY — Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many people saw first-hand how nurses and medical professionals alike were risking their own health and safety to provide for the public during a time of uncertainity.
Under those conditions, it was easy to understand why nearly 1 in 5 healthcare workers quit their jobs during the pandemic. But Galway High School senior Trishelle Oliver says she would not be a part of that statistic.
The pandemic made Oliver want to have a career as a nurse even more. She believes the reason society is in a better place now than at the beginning of the widespread outbreak is due to the help of nurses. Oliver is determined to play a role in such an important profession.
While she will be graduating high school with a 3.75 GPA, Oliver says she had to work harder than others to get there. Up until about 6th grade, she attended speech therapy twice a week and physical therapy to try to deal with some unknown health problems. Reflecting back on these experiences, she remembers how much the pediatric nurses helped prevent her from feeling alone during her own times of uncertainty. This came in the form of providing distractions during testing procedures and, overall, just doing what they could to try and make her feel any sort of comfort.
“They made my day all the time and they’re people I would never forget,” Oliver said.
Oliver hopes to make as much of a difference in the lives of her future patients, whether that be in the field of pediatrics or working in the ER. Her interest in becoming an ER nurse stems from the fact that she likes the idea of facing a challenge head-on, and she feels she has the caring nature and composure to do just that.
“The pressure of how one wrong decision could make something go really bad is for me. I need the pressure to be able to do it. But also I am pretty caring toward other people and I don’t want other people to struggle mentally or physically. I want them to be OK and I want to be the person that makes them OK,” Oliver said.
She has acquired these qualities and many others while exploring a number of extracurricular activities throughout her school years. Oliver is a member of the National Honor Society, which has led her to many volunteering opportunities, including helping out her former cheerleading team that she decided to leave this year to focus on academics. She also volunteers at her church with her grandmother. This year, her leadership skills landed her the position of class historian. She also received the Andrew C. Izzo Scholarship, given to students who exhibit characteristics such as compassion, fairness and respect — which Oliver possesses.
She is also an avid volleyball and softball player, and captained both squads. Through these she learned how to communicate most effectively with her teammates in order to push them to be the best they could be, a standard she also holds very highly to herself.
Mike Smith, who’s been Oliver’s softball coach for five years, can attest to her diligent nature. Smith recalled her performance last season, in which she didn’t strike out once. This year, she struck out five times, which is still an accomplishment, yet he noticed how hard she was on herself about it.
“She’s one of the last ones to leave practice,” Smith said of Oliver, who was on varsity for four years. “She’s always looking for extra batting practice. If there’s a time you need a big hit you certainly would like to have her at the plate.”
This drive to succeed will pay off even more when she continues softball at SUNY Brockport, Smith said.
“Knowing her determination and how hard she works at things, I really think the sky’s the limit for her,” Smith said.
Oliver said she is looking forward to attending college in the fall, where she hopes to meet a diverse group of people she can form close bonds with, just like she has with friends and family in her small hometown.
“I’m really excited to start the new chapter and really show people what I can be in my life,” Oliver said.
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