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Career & College Promise allowed Beaufort CCC ambassador Jacob Taylor to keep playing three high school sports while positioning himself for success at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Running with the Wind: Southside Success and Future Nurse Jacob Taylor

Jacob Taylor is sprinting forward where the wind takes him. The Southside High School graduate and valedictorian heads off to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study nursing this fall, having put in late nights balancing work, sports, and earning an Associate in Arts from Beaufort County Community College. By attending Beaufort CCC through Career and College Promise (CCP), he could continue to play three sports throughout high school.

After finishing a summer class at Beaufort CCC, he will only have two classes remaining before applying to nursing school at UNC-Chapel Hill. The associate degree he earned will help to shorten the otherwise long education ahead by about two years.

CCP allows qualifying juniors and seniors at traditional high schools to take free college classes through Beaufort CCC. The program means that they can continue to participate in activities like band or sports that may not be available through an early college high school. Students have the option of completing a degree, but they can also take just a few college credit courses for transfer to a university.

The busy student’s typical day involved going to work at Mama’s Pizza in Williamston, going to a sports practice, putting time in at the gym, and working on college classes until late at night. During high school, he had played football in the fall, swam in the winter, and ran track in the spring. Track was his favorite sport, and he served as captain of the Southside team.

With only one in-person class on campus, Taylor’s mostly-online college schedule worked well with his sports and work schedule.

Attending the community college has prepared him for continuing at a university. “It's definitely taught me that you're not going to get babied in college, you're going be treated as an adult, and you're going be held responsible for a lot of things. It's definitely taught me time management and having to be on my own with other things, especially being online.”

It was the customer service side of restaurant work that helped Taylor to see that he wants to work with people.

“Being a server at a restaurant, I feel like there's a lot of similarities between waiting tables and being a nurse, so I decided I wanted to go the nursing route,” he says. “Probably my sophomore year, I started taking health science and my science teacher really convinced me into doing it, and I think I think I do pretty decent at it. I have the personality for it.”

“I really love anatomy,” Taylor says of his strengths. “Biology, math, and science are more my strong suit than English.”

His long-term goal is to become a nurse anesthetist. “I just know I don't want to be just a regular RN,” he says of his goals. “I always have known I want to do something different, so I considered being a physician's assistant for a while, I've looked into nurse practitioner, and I really think nurse anesthesia is the best route to go because it's kind of like being a doctor. You can just make your own schedule, but there’s still patient care in it, and there're always opportunities in the job market. It is a lot of responsibility for that job because you're keeping someone alive during surgeries.”

He chose to attend nursing school at UNC-Chapel, where he will be in the honor’s program, because he was ready to attend a larger university. As far as whether he plans to return to the area after university, he says he will go to “wherever the wind takes me.”

With the wind behind him, Taylor is speeding ahead in his healthcare career. CCP taught him time management and allowed him to balance the mental and physical rewards of sports with the educational rewards of a degree, positioning himself for success at UNC-Chapel Hill.