“I’m sorry, I can’t understand you.”
SJC Brooklyn freshman Sebastian Correa heard these words on a regular basis as a child when he went to doctor appointments with his autistic brother. It frustrated him to no end. However, one compassionate healer was able to break through — and it would inspire Correa to pursue a career in nursing.
“Dr. Reddy was a family doctor who lived near me in Elmhurst, Queens. He had experience with autism and took the extra time to help my brother,” Correa said. “Some people just need a little extra time than others, or need to be approached differently. Many can learn the anatomy of a human, but to learn how to communicate and deal with different types of people is so important. In my opinion, it gets overlooked in this field.”
These experiences and motivations led Correa to enroll at SJC Brooklyn for the fall 2020 semester. Despite the pandemic, the transition from Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside, Queens, to St. Joseph’s challenging nursing program suited Correa well.
“Since coming to St Joseph’s, surrounding myself with others who want to succeed has made all the difference. It motivates me to do better,” Correa said. “The minute I came into college and realized the type of environment I was in, I knew that there was a lot on the line and I’ve been able to develop good study and organizational habits that will be useful for the rest of my academic career.”
The emergence of spring has brought Correa some measure of normalcy, as well as a desire to see all that campus life has to offer.
“It was so good to eat my grandma’s cooking – she has a fragile immune system and I wasn’t able to see her for a year,” he said. “I’m also looking forward to the fall and finally meeting all of my professors, making new friends and seeing people in person, rather than over Zoom.”
Returning to campus also marks the next steps toward pursuing his dream to become a nurse.
“My father always tells me: ‘Sebastian, there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for you. You need to work for everything you’re going to get in life,’” Correa said. “I need to be successful for me and my brother, who will one day remain in my care. I’m looking forward to earning my nursing degree — it is something I have a passion for and truly believe I can make a difference.”