According to UrbanDictionary.com, Boston College is “a place with gothic architecture, where Jesuits and other freakishly intelligent people try to teach collar-popping, Plex-obsessed, hopelessly drunk and self-centered rich folks’ kids.” As unflattering as that depiction is, there is a grain of truth hidden in it.
Yet, amid this fast-paced campus culture, exceptions can be found. One such exception is junior nursing student Nick Raposo. A native of Fall River, Mass., Raposo exudes friendliness and has a profound dedication to serving others. It was this dedication that determined his path at BC.
Raposo defies BC’s sometimes cold and unfriendly culture by being its complete antithesis. He walks through the crowded Chocolate Bar smiling at everyone he passes, not allowing the early morning exhaustion of those around him dampen his mood. His small talk carries a heavy undercurrent of genuine interest, and it seems as if there is no place Raposo would rather be than exactly where he is.
Even to the casual observer, it is clear that Raposo has every quality that makes a good nurse. His blatant warmth, attention to detail, and passion for the profession all form a path upon which he almost did not stumble.
Deciding to take a risk, Raposo enrolled in a nursing vocational program offered by his high school. One teacher, Ms. Pittman, blew Raposo away with her incredible selflessness. She inspired him to dive into the profession.
“To see that someone could take all of this that they have and continually give, give, give,” Raposo said. “I was like, ‘I wanna do that. I want to be like Ms. Pittman.’”
When Raposo applied to college, all that he was sure of was his desire to study nursing—everything else he had to figure out along the way. He eventually settled on the Connell School of Nursing because of BC’s Jesuit values and a desire to serve that the University endorses. So, in the fall of 2014, Raposo and his fearlessly sunny disposition began to defy every BC stereotype.
As with most new students, Raposo had some difficulties adjusting his freshman year, especially as one of only 10 male nursing students in his class.
“I think more toward the beginning it felt weird because I felt that I had to, somehow, maintain this idea of masculinity, this mask of masculinity,” Raposo said.
By the end of his first year, Raposo had developed strong relationships with his fellow nursing students and hallmates. This, however, was not enough for Raposo. The desire to serve was still burning brightly within him, and suddenly he felt drawn toward a new role—he wanted to become a resident assistant. In many ways, it was similar to his chosen future career.
“I think some of the reasons why I was called to nursing, nursing is very much a helping role,” Raposo said. “It’s recognizing where you can insert yourself into another’s life and make a difference and that is probably also why I was called toward the RA role.”
Over the past two years, Raposo has been the RA for Gonzaga 1 and Fitzpatrick 1. Although balancing RA duties and the nursing school workload can sometimes be difficult for him, Raposo says that his residents make juggling it all worth it.
“To recognize that my residents, in turn, give me such a great sense of purpose and meaning, that they allow me to be a part of their lives and their first year experience, that gives me meaning,” he said.
During freshman orientation, new students are all given the same piece of advice: make BC a little bit smaller, and find a community within the community where you can thrive. For Raposo, the intersection of nursing and being an RA is that sweet spot.
Raposo marries these roles with his insatiable appetite to give back, be more, and contribute to his community. It is from this unadulterated selflessness that Raposo has transcended the collar-popping, Plex-going mold and form his own unique identity.
As Raposo looks toward the next big step in his life, he plans to continue what he has started here at BC.
“I’m just looking for more of that community-based care,” he said. “The idea will be that I go wherever the need is, and we’ll see where that is.”
For now, Raposo continues to look for the need wherever it can be found. Whether that is helping freshmen find their way, learning as much as he can during his clinical rotations, or insisting that having an article written about him gives him chills, Raposo gives a bit of his kindness to anyone who will accept it. While this constant giving might leave others feeling depraived, it is exactly the life Raposo wants, and he shows no signs of changing anytime soon.
Featured Image Courtesy of Nick Raposo