Gisela Olalde Granados is creating the life she wants, and it starts with a plan.
“Set every morning to make a plan,” she says. “What things you need to do, what things can wait, and what things you don’t have to do.”
Gisela never dreamed she would be a nursing student at Vol State. She grew up in Mexico, earned a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, and had a full-time job working on computers. A career in nursing was not part of her plan, not at the time.
Then, on a trip to visit her mother in Nashville, she met a man and fell in love. They got married, had one child, then another.
Fast forward a few years and Gisela found herself as a single mother raising two kids on her own, also not part of her plan. But Gisela is not one to give up or give in; she took charge and enrolled at Vol State to create a better life for her family and to make a career change, which is not common in her culture.
“In your 30s, it’s not the time to pick another career,” she says. “Either you made it or you don’t.”
Today, Gisela is so very close to making it. She will graduate from the Vol State nursing program in August. While she is not certain where she will work, she hopes to continue learning and growing, setting an example for her kids and others.
“My culture needs me,” she says. “They need more people like us from different cultures stepping into different jobs, not just being a laborer.”
Gisela’s eight siblings back in Mexico are all professionals. She never dreamed she would one day pack up and leave her brothers and sisters, let alone her country. She takes her children to visit when her hectic schedule and finances allow it, but this is home now. She wants to raise her kids here and serve the community by nursing people back to health.
“America has given me so much and it’s my way to pay it back.”
Gisela’s journey has been full of the unexpected, still, she is creating the life that she wants.
“If you really want it, you have to make a plan, you have to work, you have to find the resources, your people, your tribe, whatever,” she says. “Find the school that fits you and Vol State fits me in all ways, from the very beginning to right now.”