Grace Conn prepares for her future with KCTC with the help of her family and friends

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Grace Conn prepares for her future with KCTC with the help of her family and friends

Five days a week, junior Grace Conn takes to the classrooms and labs at KCTC to hone in her skills. Five days a week, she must make the voyage to the Downtown Market and be integrated with unique ideas and new people. Five days a week, she has the opportunity to strengthen her passion for nursing.

Through the KCTC program on the downtown GR Ferris campus, Grace is taking courses that will qualify her as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). While KCTC is only a recent addition to her life, her interest in pursuing a medical occupation was not a recent realization.

“I was always interested in the medical field,” Grace said. “I thought that doing KCTC would be a good start, and even if I didn’t like it, then I would know before I went to college. I looked into the program [after someone suggested it] and shadowed last year. It just clicked. It has definitely prepared me for what college is going to be like with a lot of independent work.”

For Grace, however, the medical field is much more than just learning the text and being able to perform the skills. The more personal and intimate side of the job is what initially interested her.

“I think I’m drawn to the medical field because I like helping people who are in need,” Grace said. “It’s also interesting to see how the body works. Sometimes it’s weird- don’t get me wrong- but there are a lot of fascinating mysteries that could be explored.”

Even though she is becoming much more independent and future-focused through KCTC, Grace stayed very involved at FHC through competitive cheer, which made all the difference in her life.

“I did competitive cheer my freshman year as a continuation of sideline,” Grace said. “A lot of the upperclassmen who had done it before thought that I should try it, and I did and ended up really enjoying it. Overall, it’s helped me with time management because competitive cheer takes a lot of time.”

Other than through time management, competitive cheer has proved to be a positive influence by giving her a new outlook.

“[Cheer has] taught me that you win as a team and lose as a team,” Grace said, “and that no matter what you’re doing- in sports or in life- you always have to be in it together. Also, if it involves other people and you don’t put in the time or the effort, then you’re going to not get results.”

Through all the challenges that Grace faces from cheerleading, her family has been her biggest support system; ever since the move to Grand Rapids in sixth grade, they have been incredibly close.

“My family has always been there for me for everything,” Grace said. “My brother by far is my best friend, and it’s definitely been an adjustment with him moving to Tennessee for college. My parents and I are super close; we’re a unit. Ever since I was young, my dad has always told me that the four of us are all each other has because friends will come and go, and things will change, but you’ll always have your family to keep you strong.”

At the core of her bond with her family is her especially strong relationship with her brother, Kevin. They are practically inseparable and constantly make time for each other.

“My brother and I are like two peas in a pod,” Grace said. “He’ll come to me with anything, and I’ll come to him with anything. We do everything together. It’s so hard for me to put it into words. I honestly would describe it as a beautiful relationship. He is my best friend, and I don’t know where I would be without my brother. He has taught me a lot, and he has always been the person who was there for me.”

With her brother gone, she has leaned on her friends much more. This past summer, she went to California with them for the experience of a lifetime that has had a lasting impact on her.

“My trip to California was honestly life-changing,” Grace said. “It allowed me to become more comfortable [with] myself, respect other people’s thought and opinions, and also not be afraid to voice your opinions, even if people don’t agree with you. It also taught me to be more mentally and physically strong.”

Simply through experience, Grace has learned so much and is wise beyond her years. Time has revealed more and more about her character and knowing herself has been key in helping her step out of her comfort zone and truly be herself.

Because of her open mindset, life has been full of many new opportunities for Grace. Although her future isn’t certain, she is readily prepared to face it.

“I approach life as a big picture, trying to look at it from different angles and such,” Grace said. “I also try to face life head-on and just really try to get it done. Or [I try to take] a step back and look at it to make sure you’re doing the right thing. I just like thinking about life and thinking about what it offers me now and continues to offer me, so I can be appreciative of what’s been given to me.”

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