Meeting new people was something Chad Gornay looked forward to most about going to college. For the Yucaipa native and graduate of Redlands East Valley High School, the 30,000-plus student body at UCI offered plenty of opportunities, which he eagerly pursued. Between classes, clubs, athletics, his fraternity and just walking Ring Road, Gornay has made a wide range of friends with diverse qualities and skills from whom he has gained valuable insights. He is grateful to UCI for offering an environment that encouraged him to seek out novel experiences, be engaged with the community and form new relationships, no matter how unlikely they may have seemed.
Can you describe a time you felt most proud to be an Anteater?
In two instances: when working clinical shifts at UCI Medical Center for my degree requirements and earning a nomination to the Golden Coast Conference All-Freshman Water Polo Team. Having the opportunity to work bedside at one of the most renowned hospitals and directly contribute to and observe patient improvement has been an amazing and valuable experience. Secondly, during my freshman water polo season, we traveled to Berkeley, and although we lost, I was lucky enough to represent my school beyond its campus as we competed and challenged a nationally top-ranked team.
“Chad’s presence as a professional within the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing is felt by faculty, staff and fellow classmates. He has shown the ability to balance the critical scientific knowledge of health and compassion to be an empathetic, holistic nurse. That will make him a future leader in healthcare.”– Mike Bueno, assistant clinical professor of nursing
What are your plans after graduation?
My first objective is to travel. Barcelona will be my first experience overseas, and upon returning, I’ll continue to study for the NCLEX, the registered nurse licensing exam, and apply to new graduate nursing residencies. During my free time, I may road-trip the California coast to surf and hike new trails between the various state and national parks.
Who has been your biggest influence at UCI?
The faculty in both the School of Nursing and the School of Biological Sciences have made an immense impact. Huy Nguyen and Mike Bueno have consistently taken the extra time to have after-class discussions, whether they be related to course content or about how to navigate through the chaos that is nursing school. Also, the diverse friends I have made all helped me persevere through the multitude of stressors I’ve experienced. They’ve been dependable and motivational and consistently challenge me to better myself in all aspects of life.
What advice would you give to your first-year self?
At moments, the challenges you face will be overwhelming, and your feelings of anxiety and stress are justified. Experience them! However, do not let them discourage you from taking pride in what you have already accomplished.