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Thursday, July 18, 2024

17-year-old girl graduates US university before finishing high school, becomes the first Nursing graduate in her family

A 17-year-old girl named Imunique Triplett has achieved an outstanding feat after earning her Nursing diploma at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC while still in high school.

Imunique Triplett, a high school senior at Rufus King High School in Wisconsin, earned a remarkable feat by obtaining a Nursing degree before her high school graduation. She proudly claims to be the first individual in her family to achieve a college degree.

She earned her Nursing diploma through the M-Cubed College Connections program which allows students from Milwaukee Public School to earn college credits in nursing, teaching, and general education.

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The program allows eligible students to complete their high school graduation requirements while earning college credits from Milwaukee Area Technical College or the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

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Imunique mentioned that she was adopted by her great aunt and great uncle when she was just 10 months old. She said the circumstances around her growing up made her work hard to succeed academically to make them proud.

She enrolled for Nursing in the program, starting the program just before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Imunique said she had to work on both her 3 to 4 college classes and high school coursework during the pandemic.

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“I work so hard because I’ve seen how people can struggle. I have seen my parents live from paycheck to paycheck and I knew that I wanted to change that narrative. I have tried to surround myself with people who inspire me and that I can inspire,” she said.

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Imunique mentioned that her first assignment during the pandemic was working in a nursing home, noting that the assignment made her more cautious about COVID-19 exposure. 

“I knew maybe my immune system could bounce back but if I were to pass it to a patient they might not be able to survive. I had to keep myself, my parents, and the people I was taking care of in mind,” she said. 

She also added that she spent her time once a week, working at the care home answering call lights, helping the patients eat, moving around, and keeping them company while they were away from their loved ones.

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Imunique said that at first, she was scared she would not enjoy the nursing program but she quickly realized, working in the nursing home, that she had it in her. “If I had let myself continue to tell myself I couldn’t do something, I wouldn’t have known and missed out on a huge opportunity,” she explained. 

She said that being a nurse helped her relate to patients, some of whom were lonely or in need of compassion. She mentioned that as a child, she experienced bullying, so she understands the feeling of having no one to turn to or feeling excluded.

” At first, I really did not want to go into healthcare. I thought I would be squeamish about the body fluids. I cowered easily to movies that featured blood and all these wounds. Even after I started the program, I still wasn’t sure. It wasn’t until I actually got some hands-on experience that I realized nursing is what I wanted to do,” she said.

She added that she was able to channel her energy into things she enjoyed learning, including mindfulness, a skill she took with her to work with her patients. 

“Even just stopping before going into a patient’s room and just breathing before physical assessments. I would take a deep breath and think about the steps in my head, and focus on the patient,” she said.

When Immunique began the program, she was part of a group of other Milwaukee Public Schools students, many of whom left due to various reasons throughout the pandemic. Now at the end of the program, she is the only one still standing.

She joined the Milwaukee Area Technical College nursing students at their graduation, earning her practical nursing diploma ahead of her high school diploma. Imunique was chosen by her colleagues to give a speech at their graduation.

“You always made me feel at home. All of us have persevered when we felt there was no strength left in us,” she said while giving her speech. 

Imunique mentioned that she will be pursuing her registered nursing degree in a pre-med program at Marquette University, United States on a full scholarship. She stated that looking ahead, she plans to become a doctor or medical practitioner.

“I want to keep my options open so that when I’m done, I won’t be able to say, ‘Oh, I wish I had done this [pre-med] because now I want to do this.’”

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Imunique said she is yet to decide whether to pursue a higher degree in nursing or enroll in medical school. She stated that she is interested in labor and delivery nursing, becoming a midwife or pursuing a career as an obstetrician-gynecologist with a focus on improving healthcare for Black populations. 

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