Jesus Vega knew from an early age that he would be going to college.
The plan? Go to college. Get an education. Get a great career. Live a great life.
“I was raised by a single mother and, from the time I could read, I knew that is what I wanted to do. I think that’s common with many young people, the goal of a college education.”
He started that journey at an area four-year college, and it didn’t go well. Despite his optimistic outlook, Jesus says, “I fell flat on my face.”
He decided to shift his focus to another career field at another college. With a change of venue and a change of program, Jesus succeeded. And boy oh boy, did he succeed.
Jesus enrolled at Gateway Technical College, seeking to earn an Emergency Medical Technician diploma.
“I always had a drive in me to help people. I did some research and chose to enroll at Gateway’s EMT program. I absolutely fell in love with the field and what I was doing.”
After earning that diploma, Jesus decided to earn his Nursing degree as well. Along the way, he also made the dean’s list and was selected as the Gateway District Ambassador, which means he is the college’s official student voice to the college, community and state.
“I earned my EMT license and started working at emergency rooms in Kenosha,” says Jesus. “I ended up working with plenty of nurses who were very inspiring to me and loved their jobs, too. Listening to them made me think maybe I wanted to be a nurse.
“I re-enrolled at Gateway in the Nursing program. What seems like 15 long months later, I graduate with my degree. I am looking forward to it, and to helping people.”
Jesus — known also as JJ — says the training he received at Gateway “prepared me for any task in front of me.”
“There are days you might feel like you are at your wit’s end. But, through all the training, conversations and scenarios we went through at the college, there is nothing I am not prepared for.”
Jesus says he loves his career just as much as he loves helping people and, while his professional journey has just begun, he says Gateway instructors encouraged him to expand his vision and goals to include work he might not have considered to begin with.
“I wanted to help people, and this career allows me to do that. My instructors also encouraged me to consider the possibilities that have been opened to me, and I have. My possibilities are endless.”