Jillian Rogers ’23, School of Nursing

Jillian Rogers reflects on her time at UConn

Portrait of Jillian Rogers

Portrait of Jillian Rogers, taken April 6, 2023. (Sydney Herdle/UConn Photo)

From a young age, Jillian Rogers knew she wanted to be a nurse. She feels she was destined to study at UConn, and through her studies has felt an amazing amount of encouragement from the UConn community. She will be carrying this support and compassion with her as she embarks on her career as an oncology nurse at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md.

What’s your major/field of study, and what drew you to it?

I am a nursing major, and it has been a dream of mine since I was little to be a nurse. From a young age, I was able to watch with bright eyes the nurses who cared for me growing up and see how impactful their compassion was. Although I only had a small glimpse into a much bigger window of responsibilities nurses have, I felt a glimmer of excitement knowing that I could someday be that “hero without a cape” for sick people.

Thanks to the clinical experiences I had as a student here, oncology nursing holds a special place in my heart too. I got a job opportunity as a nursing technician on an oncology floor at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, and last summer I completed a student nurse internship on a women’s oncology unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. Having these opportunities in oncology opened my eyes to see how this specialty truly ties together both the science and art of the nursing practice. Getting to hear patients’ resilient stories, hold their hands through new diagnoses, and hug family members as some patients take their last breaths, but also celebrating the joyful moments of patients finishing their last rounds of chemotherapy, has been a privilege to be a part of.

What activities were you involved in as a student?

As a student, I was the President of the Nursing Class of 2023, which was an absolute honor getting to work with an incredible group of class officers and faculty members who genuinely care about making a difference in our learning experiences and the future generations of nursing students. I was also a Floor Mentor for the Nursing Learning Community during my sophomore year which was so fun getting to build relationships with the nursing students a year below me and offer them advice as they navigated their first year at UConn. Non-nursing-related clubs I was a part of were Big Brother Big Sister Club and Kids and UConn Bridging Education (KUBE), because I love working with kids and wanted to do community outreach. I was also a HuskyTHON participant during my freshman and senior years which was one of the most rewarding organizations to have been a part of.

What’s one thing that surprised you about UConn?

One thing that surprised me about UConn was the unwavering support I received from other students and faculty starting the very first day I stepped on campus. I was apprehensive about choosing UConn at first because of how many people attend the university, but I am so glad I took that leap of faith because I have made some of the best friends and memories throughout my four years here. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the mentors, friendships, and opportunities I have found from being a UConn Husky.

What are your plans after graduation/receiving your degree?

I accepted an offer for my dream job as an oncology nurse at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. I am so excited to be starting there at the end of the summer in their new graduate residency program (after I pass my NCLEX, of course)! In the future, I hope to transition into a nurse educator or clinical instructor role for undergraduate nursing students because I have had many wonderful experiences with my professors and clinical instructors throughout my time in the nursing program.

How has UConn prepared you for the next chapter in life?

UConn has prepared me for the next chapter of my life in that it has given me a community of people that I can always count on no matter where I go. Despite moving out of the state, I know that Storrs will always be a second home to me thanks to the professors, clinical instructors, peers, and friends who have invested their time into helping me grow as both a student and person. When I become a registered nurse very shortly, I look forward to taking the lessons I have learned from my academic journey to lead and advocate for change in the profession. I feel indebted to the UConn School of Nursing for cultivating the love and excitement that I have for this career path.

Any advice for incoming students?

Passing down the advice I had received as an incoming student, there is a reason you ended up at UConn. Even if that reason is not obvious to you at first, trust that the people you will meet on this campus will uplift you to see the best version of yourself, challenge you to go out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to be a part of a community that goes beyond in advocating and caring for its students.