A Letter to Students from James Keaton, BSN ’04, Nursing

James Keaton State (Now EDGE@Hughes)

James Keaton
State (Now EDGE@Hughes)

I am a proud alumni of the residential college program at UCA. For three years State Residential College (now EDGE@Hughes) was my home away from home. To live and go to class with all of my friends was a dream come true. They became my family at UCA.

The social life created in the residential college program provided so much enjoyment for me. The annual camping and canoe trip to the Buffalo River, one of my favorite memories, provided a welcome break from my studies. I can remember long meals in the cafeteria getting to know my classmates and new friends, an ever changing list of intramural sports or planned activities, and study sessions that often were more social than academic. It was all as much of an education as the classes I took every semester. I was thankful to have residential college classmates become fellow students in the nursing program. Having them as friends from the beginning made life as a nursing student better. I enjoyed learning from resident faculty, who were interested in me as a person and as a student. The residential college created a fantastic support system to handle the challenges of collegiate life!

I served as a Mentor for two years in SRC so that I could help incoming students like my Mentors helped me. Serving as a Mentor to a group of students with different points of view shaped me as a person as well as my leadership style.  I learned to consider the other’s point of view, which helped me make better decisions as a leader. I learned to lead by example from the other Mentors and Resident Master, Dr. Julia Winden Fey.  The leadership and life skills I learned served me well through my undergraduate BSN(RN), my first job at UAMS, and graduate school at Missouri State University. They have been invaluable in my current career as a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Springfield, MO.  Those skills help me provide better care for my patients and be a highly functional member of a healthcare team.

The residential college program helped me keep an open mind to differences of other people, it gave me friends for life,  and added to the skills that make me a successful CRNA. The residential college program gave me an education in life! It was one of the best decisions I ever made!