Student comes to US, pursues education


Photo by: Caleb Reeves

FMU pre-nursing major Marie Virgile is a single parent and immigrant from Haiti.

Aspiring nursing student, Marie Virgile says that her time spent at FMU since she began attending in 2015 has helped prepare her for a field that she loves.

Virgile, who was born in Haiti, said her aspiration was to be a teacher when she was young. It wasn’t until her move to the U.S. when she was 16 years old that she realized her true passion was in nursing. Virgile said the move to the U.S. had many educational and cultural challenges for her as a young person.

When she first moved, she realized how different teaching positions in the U.S. were than in Haiti. According to Virgile, the level of reverence and respect for teachers in Haiti is much higher than for teachers in the U.S. Being in America was like being in a completely different world, according to Virgile. Leaving her home country was a decision that shaped her future in many different ways.

After high school, Virgile moved to Palm Beach, Fla. and attended Palm Beach Community College for a short time before getting married and starting a family. Virgile said that after she had children she still had a deep love for school and learning and desired to continue following her passions.

“After the birth of my first child, I went back to school because I love learning,” Virgile said. “That’s why I am 43 years old and still in school. The biggest reason is because I still desire to reach the goals I have set for myself.”

Virgile said after attending community college in Palm Beach, she started doing things step-by-step as she learned to juggle motherhood and being in school at the same time. She first went back to school and became a medical assistant. After that, she started focusing on becoming a physician’s assistant.

“Once I had a family, the whole idea changed about how I was going to achieve my goals,” Virgile said. “All of this was challenging because of being a mother and a student all at once. Having to find someone to watch my son for me as well as trying to make sure times corresponded felt impossible. That’s why everything has been in steps.”

Virgile received her licensed practical nurse certification and worked in many different hospitals and doctor’s offices. She said she enjoyed her work but knew she wanted to continue growing in nursing because of her love for the field and a desire to further her education.

“In my mind I knew that I had not reached my final destination as far as education was concerned,” Virgile said. “I always knew that I would go back again because my goals are important to me and I still had more to do to get there.”

Virgile has attended FMU for the past two years. Biology classes and the associated workload are difficult according to Virgile, but she said she knows this is only a part of the journey to reach her final goals.

Virgile patiently anticipates entering the nursing program and is working hard to reach her goals and aspirations for an occupation she has a strong passion for. Virgile said being in the nursing field has allowed her to be who she really is and that being a people person is what makes her love the job so much. Virgile also said that the job calls for someone who is trustworthy.

“You have to love what you do, especially in nursing,” Virgile said. “The life of a person is in your hands. You have to be the person they can trust. Being able to put yourself in that person’s shoes and embrace and empathize with what they’re going through is one of the biggest aspects of the job.”