'God was Calling Me Here'

‘God was Calling Me Here’

Scholarship Recipient from South Korea Finds Her Passion in Nursing

By Emily Rust

Growing up in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Kelly Kim’s life revolved around school and studying. After a full day of traditional school, Kim would head off to “cram school” for private tutoring and wouldn’t return home until around 10 p.m. — facing at least an hour of homework to complete for the next day.

And this was elementary school.

“South Korea is too competitive; it’s all about studying,” Kim says. “There’s no such thing as extracurricular opportunities.”

At age 12, Kim moved in with a family in Canada — the mother was a friend of her parents’ who had previously taught English in South Korea. She studied for eight months in Mississauga, Ontario, before returning to South Korea.

“It was a different life because we were going swimming, we were going to drama club,” Kim says.

Disillusioned with the educational environ­ment and the competitive college-admission and job-search climate in South Korea, Kim’s parents decided that she and her brother would move with their mother to the United States.

After a short stint in Chicago, Kim’s family moved to be with other family members in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she went to high school.

“I love that the United States is all about indi­viduality and the person’s own unique­ness,” Kim says. “South Korea’s more about conforming.”

In high school, Kim finally was able to participate in things other than studying. She was a cheerleader and played flute in the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra.

As she began her college search, Kim dis­cov­ered Creighton’s great health care programs. She also received the Diane McCabe Endowed Scholarship.

“I thought that God was calling me to come here,” Kim says.

Her father’s career as a surgeon inspired Kim to enter the medical field. She wanted a hands-on experience and found it with nursing and its undergraduate clinical rotations.

“Even from junior year, we have clinicals to learn about all the medical terminology and take care of patients,” Kim says.

She draws inspiration from the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.

“Nightingale said that, when she first started nursing, she was questioning God, asking, ‘How can I serve other people with love, and how can I serve you?’ ” Kim says. “Nursing is so spiritual for me.”

And despite the years of intense studying in South Korea, Kim has come to enjoy hitting the books.

“I feel like I really am studying what I love.”