Alumni Spotlight: Zhiying, RN to BSN, “My Life Is Renewed”

We proudly share this beyond inspiring personal essay from Zhiying Wu who completed Aspen’s RN to BSN program in April of 2020. When Zhiying’s husband sadly succumbed to illness, “Aspen remained as a Light for me. The busy assignments and projects kept me from the darkness of the grief.”…“One of my past professors, my dearest friends and family kept me motivated.”

I started my RN to BSN program at Aspen University in October 2018, which was right after I graduated with my second AA Degree from Bucks County Community College and completed my ADN. Mind you, I had previously earned an education in my homeland China, and previously an AA Degree here after a three-year registered and certified culinary arts apprenticeship from BCCC in Pastry and Baking Arts. I always loved baking and cake decoration, and I still do. I found though, as my future unfolded…it was not to be.

I passed the board and began working as an RN. I then started my studies with Aspen. Everything seemed to go so smoothly. I was earning a better wage, and my husband also got a new job with a better salary. However, in less than two months, my life had taken a huge turn. My husband began getting very ill. He was in and out of the hospital. I had to travel from home and hospital with him frequently. I was always packing my laptop computer when I’d go to the hospital, even as I waited for my husband. I knew I could still continue my education. I finished the first couple of courses through hospital waiting rooms, while in hallways, emergency rooms. I thought all along he would get full recovery and eventually back to where we were…my son, my husband, and me. It never happened.

As my husband continued to become more ill, he had to transfer from our local hospital to the largest hospital in Philadelphia. I had to continue my education even in the ICU waiting room. Finally, the doctors found out the cause of his sudden illness. My young, healthy, never smoked, or drank husband had the worst one. Angiosarcoma was found behind his heart. His diagnosis was in January 2019 in stage 3 and progressed to stage 4 in less than a month. He did everything he could…open-heart surgery, chemotherapy. By April, all the treatments failed. He was in hospice for less than two months. God brought him back in May. My husband was no longer in pain. His suffering ended.

My world felt like it had ended. I would never be the same. I knew I could not stay in that place. I knew my 10-year-old son needed me. Aspen was my Hope. Aspen remained as a Light for me. The busy assignments and projects kept me from the darkness of the grief. The positivity I found kept me going. One of my past professors, my dearest friends and family, kept me motivated.

Aspen University, the advisors, professors, and distant fellow online – sharing students helped me achieve my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Because of the flexible online schedule and assistance, Aspen University offered me the goal and supportive hope I needed.

With my BSN completion, my life is renewed. I would tell others still working on their goal that online education can be very challenging and stressful, especially when you have to work and take care of family. I don’t know if I have any great words of wisdom; however, what I do know is I am going to be a good nurse for a multitude of reasons. The story I have just shared is one of those reasons. Aspen University is also a wonderful reason.


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