Sara Hull found refuge at Cox College


Story by Kyle DeVries 

Sara was at rock bottom. She was married, but didn’t anticipate the relationship surviving much longer. She had been unsuccessful in obtaining degrees from OTC and Drury University, had lost her confidence, and had little idea of what she wanted to do with her life. To make matters worse, she was struggling to put food on the table for her son.

It was time for a change. Sara moved back to Springfield, Missouri from Tennessee after her divorce. It was time to face these challenges head on. A nursing career sounded like a path to a better life, but she knew there were tremendous hurdles between her and that goal. At the minimum, she could expect two years of nursing classes before landing a job. She also had the echoes of her previous attempts to complete her education to contend with, and fears that this time might just be a repeat of the past.

Despite her misgivings, Sara decided to apply for the ASN program at Cox College, where she faced another blow—after failing the TEAS test twice, she was not allowed to continue in the ASN program. Down but not out, Sara decided to take a semester off, gather herself once more, then return to Cox College.

The impact of a good advisor should not be underestimated. Sara’s advisor proved to be a source of encouragement during a period where she was especially fragile. Through his support and guidance, she ended up taking general education courses at Cox College before applying to the BSN program.

Sara came to the BSN program with zero previous medical knowledge, which resulted in interesting experiences during clinicals. “I was in over my head,” she recalls. “I didn’t even know how to use a stethoscope.” After receiving one-on-one attention from instructors and nurses, who did everything they could to help her, including labeling buttons on patients’ beds, Sara’s confidence began to climb.

Once things started to fall into place in the classroom, Sara’s perspective altered. “I learned to think beyond the four walls of the patient’s room and think about the community at large,” she stated.

While completing a class assignment, Sara met a girl had been diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) on a city bus. This young woman could not afford a van to carry her wheelchair and did not want to be an inconvenience to her family. She told Sara that, as a nurse, it was her responsibility to step up for those in need in the community.

“Life was not about me anymore,” Sara said. “Life was about being there for my mom, my son, and my family. Nursing school brought me closer to what really matters.”

Sara’s relentless persistence to achieve her goal came to fruition in May of 2018 when she graduated with her BSN degree and already had a job lined up at Cox South on the new Jared Neuro-Orthopedic wing. This story is living proof that anything is possible. For those who hit bottom, there is nowhere to go but up. Sara still keeps her rejection letter from the ASN program just as a reminder of the awesome power of hope.

“All I wanted was a job to support myself and my son and I ended up gaining a better life and becoming a better person in the process,” Sara said. After feeling lost in large classes in traditional universities, Sara found refuge at Cox College.

“I know I would have not passed nursing school without Cox College. My professors would not let me fail. You only fail if you give up.”