As a senior at Middletown High School in Delaware, Justin Dossantos ’22 assumed he would follow many of his friends to the University of Delaware—maybe major in engineering. However, as more and more people inquired about his college plans and intended major, the Odessa, Delaware resident started to search his heart—and to forge his own path.
“People started to ask, ‘what do you want to do?’ That question weighed on my mind. I had to think of something. I knew I wanted to help people,” he adds. As someone who excels in the sciences and always wanted to be a firefighter, Justin found another way to save lives: through becoming a nurse.
Wrapping up his junior year at Immaculata as a nursing major, Justin admits that there were times when he questioned his decision. He is grateful for the extra time and attention that the nursing faculty give to him. He recounts how his professor, Lee Siwula, M.S.N., sat with him for over an hour after class exploring different study methods that would work best for him. Also, his academic advisor, Sharon Barnes, Ph.D., spent time with Justin discussing academic options. Justin is confident in his decision and excelling in his classes. With the myriad of nursing specialties and options, he is contemplating working in an ER or becoming a flight nurse.
Justin keeps in mind while exploring his career options that he prefers to stay in Delaware but would consider residing in a neighboring state.
Justin’s transition from high school to Immaculata was helped by his willingness to actively participate in the two-day New Student Orientation. He admits that many freshmen arrive with a pre-determined image of what college is like. “Oh, I’m going to party. I’m going to do this or that, but the big thing that they don’t really think about is making decisions,” he stresses. “Everything you do is on your own time now. Washing your clothes, that’s on your time,” he says laughing like only an upperclassman can. He acknowledges that he had to work on making decisions and managing his time, especially when it revolved around studying.
Justin thinks his college experience is mostly what he had hoped. He feels fully supported by the nursing faculty, loves living in the residence halls and is involved in activities. He spends his free time with friends watching movies in the student lounge, shopping at Target, working out at the gym and going to the Movie Tavern for Tuesday movie nights.
Justin remembers the tour guide who showed him and his dad around Immaculata’s campus when they were visiting colleges. When it came time to choose, the positive experience of his tour put Immaculata at the top. Now, Justin is happy to be the tour guide who helps other students recognize how Immaculata could be the perfect fit for them. He specifically enjoys showcasing the nursing facilities to prospective healthcare majors.
After his acceptance, he proudly displayed an Immaculata magnet on his car and drove around his hometown in central Delaware—making sure IU is represented right along with his friends at the University of Delaware. With one more year remaining, Justin is content that he made the right decision to study nursing at Immaculata University.