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Strong faith enables student to succeed

Nicollette Singleton, senior nursing major, is dedicating her summer to social work in Nicaragua. Photo credit: Malik Payton

This summer Nicollette Singleton will get on a plane, step out of her comfort zone and go to another country with the guidance of the big man upstairs.

Singleton, a senior nursing major and Chico local, is spending May 21 to Aug. 10 in Nicaragua doing social work counseling abused women.

“Personally, I have never been to Nicaragua,” Singleton said. “I am most excited about going out of my comfort zone, entering a new culture for an extended period and spending time with the women who are experiencing hurt, tending to their needs as best I can.”

Singleton heard about the opportunity to serve in Nicaragua from one of her friends who served there last summer, she said.

“When I heard that the social work site in Nicaragua involves working with at risk or abused women, loving, supporting, and counseling them, I knew this is something I would love to do,” she said. “The idea of showing them Christ’s love through serving, teaching them basic skills and even crafting, all while building beautiful relationships with them really tugged at my heart.”

As a nursing major, Singleton said she plans to apply bedside manner while in Nicaragua. This is a huge part of nursing and involves selflessly caring for the patient the best that one can, she said.

“Nursing extends past tending to physical needs, to nurturing the needs of patients emotionally as well,” she said. “Spending a little bit more time at their bedside and offering a listening ear or encouraging word, giving them joy and a glimmer of hope is such a wonderful reward that goes along with nursing.”

In addition to helping others, she looks forward to broadening her lens of the world.

“Often we are not used to seeing the brokenness of the world, given that our culture is very comfortable,” Singleton said. “Sometimes, we do not know what pain is out there and the fact that I have the opportunity to experience how poverty and pain manifest themselves in a developing country is something I know is a blessing.”

Working in Nicaragua will be a transition from the jobs she has held in Chico.

Since her freshman year, Singleton has always had a job. She started working 15 hours a week in the supplies department of the Wildcat Store. She then spent Saturdays working at a hair salon and currently she is a nanny to three children on the days she doesn’t have class.

“Although having these jobs alongside school has been challenging, I now see how much having these jobs has taught me proper time management,” she said.

If it weren’t for her faith driving her to pull her strength from God instead of herself, she said she would not be able to juggle so much at once in terms of being a nursing major and having a job.

“My faith has truly sustained me through the days after I get three hours of sleep or work an eight-hour day and run off to night class,” she said. “I would not be able to do any of the balancing without the Lord. This reminds me to hold fast to what is good, and using it to bring me through the long days of school and work when I feel overwhelmed.”

Singleton became involved with Cru, a christian organization on campus, that welcomed her in from the beginning and has really invested in her, she said.

“This group has impacted my life so much, because there are so many people who are walking with the Lord so strongly and this really encourages me in my faith, especially through hardship, and encouraged me to look outward on the needs of others, serving and loving them as Christ would,” Singleton said.

With the help of organizations like Cru, Singleton has grown to appreciate Chico as the beautiful town it is, she said.

“To be honest, I was not set on going to Chico State,” she said. “I wanted to go to San Diego to experience Southern California and I was upset at first about staying in town, because I wanted a sense of independence. I lived at home for the first year of college, and after saving up money, I moved out my sophomore year to experience living on my own.”

Singleton said she never regretted that decision because it caused her to step out of her comfort zone.

“I love the nine women that I live with,” she said. “We are all in Cru, and this gives me a wonderful opportunity to grow in community. I cannot imagine being anywhere else but Chico with such wonderful people and a fantastic group of nursing students.”

Nicole Santos can be reached at [email protected] or at Iam_NicoleS on Twitter.

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