Karina Gomes ’21
Cape Cod Luncheon Speech


Karina GomesHello everyone. Although I am not able to meet you all and speak to you in person, it’s been an honor to be invited here today. 

This coming fall is my last year as an undergraduate student at Regis College. I really love academia, and Regis is going to make my departure even more difficult because I have had such a great experience learning here. This is why I love opportunities to speak about my experiences like today.

I am the youngest daughter of immigrant Portuguese parents. I am a first-generation student, as well as the first in my immediate family to go to college. My parents have worked in the restaurant business their whole life, but they encouraged me from a young age to go into health care or science-based careers. I didn’t know what I wanted to major in specifically, but I had my heart set on Regis for many reasons including the small campus size, suburban campus in the beautiful city of Weston, and the opportunity to receive an amazing scholarship. I decided to choose a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) as my major, figuring that I would actually end up switching out of it. I always heard it was a hard major, and I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. But unbeknownst to me, I actually fell in love with nursing through my academics and clinical experiences at Regis. 

Initially, my pharmacology and acute care in nursing classes had me very passionate about nursing. They taught me all about medications and complications regarding medical procedures. These classes showed me that learning in nursing never ends, and that’s something that I always wanted in a career. I also had unforgettable clinical experiences. One of my favorites had to be when I witnessed a “Whipple procedure” at Mass General Hospital, where I saw a patient get his pancreas removed. These are all experiences I never thought I would be able to have in my undergraduate studies. 

However, the experience that surprised me the most was my untraditional job being a nursing assistant for Century Bank this past summer. This was a job opportunity that was presented to me through Regis College. I was a COVID-19 screener for all of the Northshore and Medford branches. Not only was it my job to assess employees for symptoms of COVID-19, but I was primarily a resource for these employees. I felt as if many of the employees were nervous to go back to work, however, they appreciated a nursing assistant who could provide them solid answers during a scary and unpredictable time. On a personal level, this job has taught me a lot as well. I was able to interact with people who trusted me, and it was my first time going from a student to a teacher. I never predicted a global pandemic to happen during my college career, however, Regis College gave me the tools to feel confident working on the front lines now and for the rest of my nursing career. 

One of the best things about Regis College is that you are allowed to branch out of academics and experience things outside of your major. For example, this past spring I went on a service trip to Puerto Rico with 12 other Regis College students. It was led by the Dean of Students, Walt Horner, who is one of the most remarkable people on this campus, and I am so fortunate to have known him during my time at Regis. We worked on a house that was affected by Hurricane Maria, as well as cleaning up El Yunque, which is the only national rainforest in the United States. It really solidified my decision of becoming a nurse, because I realized nursing is not just “helping people” it is about “serving people.”

I was lucky enough to receive the Presidential Catholic Schools Scholarship, and it is a gift that I will never be able to repay. It is the reason I chose Regis College and why I wanted become a nurse. I have learned so many lessons in and outside of the classroom at Regis, and that is thanks to the donors who have graciously offered me this opportunity. I do not know where I would be without this scholarship as it set the precedence for my college career. I have gained countless skills during my time at Regis, ones that will prepare me long after my departure. For that, I am ever grateful and fortunate.

Thank you.