“I want to change people’s lives and their worlds in a positive way.”
CAN student, Raven Burleson, is studying to be a nurse practitioner at Langston University, the only Historically Black College and University in the state of Oklahoma. This past winter she shared her college experience and advice with our current high school students as part of a college panel.
Raven graduated from Franklin High School in 2013. She is the eldest of two and will be the first in her family to obtain a college degree. In 10 years she hopes to be well established in her career as a nurse practitioner and taking care of her family. Continue reading below to learn more about Raven!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Raven Burleson from Seattle, Washington. I come from a single parent household and I am the eldest of two siblings. I will be the first to obtain a degree from higher education in my immediate family. I am a huge basketball fan and I love me some LeBron James and Isaiah Thomas.
How did you come to be involved in CAN?
My best friend’s older brother was involved with CAN and told us to get involved and so we did. I’m glad we actually listened to him because I would’ve been running around like a chicken with their head cut off trying to apply to schools, apply for scholarships, and complete my FAFSA.
Where did you go to high school and college? What did you major in and why?
I went to Franklin High School, class of 2013, we were the 13est. I currently am obtaining a degree in Nursing at Langston University, which is the only Historically Black College and University in the state of Oklahoma. I want to be a nurse because I want to care for people holistically. I want to change people lives and their worlds in positive way by being whatever they need me to be, at that moment, to help heal them or become at peace with their situation.
What came to your mind when you received your first college acceptance lettter?
I was like, “okay this is real.” I was confident in being accepted into a school but it was still a shock when I actually received the first letter. After that first letter, other school acceptance letters started rolling in. I had options and had to think about which school I was actually going to attend.
Tell me about a particular event/person/time that stands out to you while you have been in the CAN program?
The whole CAN crew at Franklin High School, Wahidah, Nakeya, Alex, Dilom, Christina, Bill, and everyone else that was in the office. I swear we had the best CAN crew, I was always in the office right after school before my basketball practice. They helped me apply for so many scholarships and supported the whole process of applying to schools.
One event I remember was the day we were completing our FAFSA and every time someone completed their financial aid, a CAN staff would shout “[their name] submitted their FAFSA” and everyone would shout and cheer. The office was so cheerful all the time and everyone was so helpful. Even the little care packages I received from CAN while in college and the check-in emails mean so much to me, it lets me know that you guys didn’t forgot about me all the way in Oklahoma.
Tell us about a time where you feel you made a difference.
It was my sophomore year at Langston and I was in this organization called the Langston University Ambassadors where we did a lot of things on campus, one being a mentor towards new students at the University. I met this freshman during Lion camp and she came in not knowing anybody and out in Oklahoma by herself, similar to me my first year. I invited her to do things with me and my friends, I would go to events with her and just talk to her as often as I could. We became really close that semester and the next semester she applied to become an ambassador. During her interview she expressed how I was the reason she decided to come back to Langston and spoke about the impact I made on her during the school year.
Tell us about a time where you felt like a leader in your community?
A time I felt like a leader was when I was in a meeting with other student leaders and the president of the university to voice some concerns from some of the student body. During this meeting we were able to accomplish some tasks and requests from the student body which resulted in a more cohesive community at the school.
How does it feel to be in college?
With my undergrad days slowly coming to an end, I think back to the whirlwind of emotions during college that makes you love the process. There are going to be late nights, early mornings, days where you are exhausted and ready to give up, great days and not so great days, that’s just college. It’s a learning process in college. You learn so much about yourself and during that time you meet some of your best friends. It really is a beautiful process
In 10 years, what do you hope to be doing?
In 10 years, I hope to be well established in my career as a Nurse Practitioner and taking care of my family. I hope to start implementing a business plan to start a clinic for low income and underinsured families.
Your tip to future college students?
Choose a school based on what you want from the school. Do not choose the school solely because it sounds good or because your best friend is going there. Do your research when picking your school, chose the school that aligns with what you want.