Commencement Stories: Keylla Capote, first generation college student accelerates her drive for learning in nursing field

Keylla Capote from East Greenbush, New York, has earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Excelsior College. As an Excelsior College academic partner student, Capote received her associate degree from Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC). Capote sat down with Excelsior Life as she discussed her educational background, journey, and experience.


Excelsior Life: When did you decide to go back to school? Why did you want to secure a degree?

Capote: I started college at the age of 24 after my daughter was born. I always knew I wanted to go college but, as an immigrant, my priority was to learn English and acclimate to the culture. Unlike most Americans that go to college after high school, I started later in life. My motivation at the time I started my associate degree in nursing was to pursue self-education in addition to being a stay-at-home mom. I discovered I loved the field of nursing and thus, I pursued my Bachelor of Science in nursing through Excelsior after that.


Excelsior Life: What programs and/or courses were most influential to you?

Capote: Ethics and Public Health were my favorite courses and very influential. Perhaps because as an immigrant, I am sensitive to the issues of patient rights, community health and access to health care for vulnerable populations. It is a great opportunity to pursue an education from the comfort of your own home. The teachers were excellent and the classes interesting and engaging.


Excelsior Life: Did you face any academic challenges along the way?  How did you overcome?

Capote: As a single mother and head of household, managing time for a full time job, family, pets and a house in addition to school required time management skills that were short of magic tricks! My family was very supportive and understanding of my limited time for social events. I would wake up at 4 am to do school work and tests, even on weekends, so that I would be free earlier in the day or evenings to have quality dinners with my family or enjoy an afternoon in the park. Many days I cried and felt I wasn’t going to make it, especially at the beginning of every semester. My family’s love and support kept me strong and and helped me visualize my goals.


Excelsior Life: How did your support system help you along the way?

Capote: My family, friends and partner were very helpful. They always allowed me ample time and quiet space to do my work. They were patient when I couldn’t attend functions or was too tired to stay up for movie nights. My friends volunteered to be my subjects for school projects and were my practice audience when I had to give presentations. Also, my employer was very supportive of my education and their tuition reimbursement benefits helped me pay for my entire education.


Excelsior Life: How do you think your education will position you for life beyond the military/your educational journey? What are your future plans?

Capote: I currently work in a care management company and my bachelor’s degree in nursing has opened doors for me to grow professionally within the company. Aside from that, the education I received at Excelsior for my BSN made me a better nurse with a broader understanding of nursing and health care.


On July 8, hundreds of graduates from across the world will convene in Albany, New York for Excelsior College’s 2016 Commencement, to be held at the Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany, New YorkCommencement Stories” explores the stories of a few of this year’s notable grads.