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Achieving campus and classroom balance

Fifth semester student thrives in nursing school, campus involvement

Photo: Courtney ZajicUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Bachelor of Science in Nursing student Courtney Zajic always knew she wanted to help people. Now in her final semester of nursing school, she is one step closer to accomplishing that goal along with several others.

“Being a nurse is such an amazing job, and you can be someone that people can lean on in the happiest of times or the hardest of times,” Zajic said. “You can hold a hand bringing a life into the world or hold a hand when that life ends. I look forward to making a difference as a nurse.”

Zajic, a fifth semester student, also knew UAB was the right fit for her. After growing up in Helena, she toured UAB and chose to only apply here.

“I knew it was exactly what I needed,” she said. “And I would not change my decision for anything. We’re such a close-knit family that just cares for each other and will do anything for each other. UAB will step up and participate and work to give back. We have such an abundant amount of resources—we have hospitals and so many opportunities for students.”

Those resources extend to the UAB School of Nursing experience as well, through the School’s partnerships and clinical opportunities for students.

Since coming to UAB, she has worked hard to be a full part of the community. Zajic is also Captain of the UAB Golden Girls, a Student Alumni Society representative, UAB Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representative for athletics, and a member of several student organizations, including Delta Gamma at UAB, Order of Omega Honor Society, Sigma Theta Tau-International Honor Society of Nursing, and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

“This is my fourth years as a Golden Girl, and it has been difficult at times, but it has also been the most amazing experience in my life,” she said. “I tell people that I love to dance, but I don’t do this to dance. I do it to wear my University’s letters, to be an ambassador. I’m so grateful to be able to support the athletes, the school and the community.”

As a heavily involved member of campus, Zajic has worked with UAB School of Nursing faculty and with her coaches to balance her schoolwork, practice schedule and events.

“Of course nursing comes first and school comes first, and I take that to heart,” she said. “If something comes up, I immediately talk to my coaches. Even if I miss practice, they send me videos, and I’m able to learn the dances myself. Overall the experience has definitely helped with time management.”

Zajic is the first Golden Girl to balance the team and nursing school, but she hopes that her example helps other students remain involved while they pursue a nursing degree.

“My teammates are really supportive of me, and I can text them when I get a good grade, or they’ll quiz me at practice,” she said. “And a lot of the younger girls, who are freshmen, are also pre-nursing majors. I hope that I can be that role model for them and help them through nursing school.”

Entering her final semester is also a bittersweet moment, but Zajic is excited to look back on her time at UAB and look forward to staying involved on campus.

“I have already accepted at job at UAB Main Emergency Room, so I’m very excited about that. I’ll start there, work on progressing my skills, and then eventually I hope to start travel nursing,” she said. “I am excited to be a nurse and practice all of the skills I have worked so hard to master. I want to one day become a preceptor for nursing school students, orient new hires, and be a resource for new graduates and all of my coworkers. The nurses that have helped me in my preceptorship and throughout my time at the school of nursing have helped me grow and be ready to work on my own.”

Last modified on March 05, 2021