Joseph Gray 

There’s definitely a strong sense of community with the students at YVC. I have a lot of great people to lean on. 

Joseph Gray Student Story Featured Image


Degree/Certificate & Class Year  
Associate in Nursing, 2024 


What three words would you use to describe YVC? 
Equitable, Transitionary, Accessible 

What’s your favorite class? Why? How has it expanded your knowledge?  
I love being in clinicals, which is nursing practice. You really get to do the nursing, rather than just study it and all the theory, which is great because it is super applicable to actually working with patients. 

Who is your mentor on campus? Why do you consider this person your mentor? 
No, but there’s definitely a strong sense of community with the students. The students ahead of you will share quite a bit about their experiences to help you anticipate what’s going to happen as the weeks go on. I definitely have a lot of great people to lean on because we have a good program. 

What made you want to come to YVC? 
The cost is really affordable. If I had gone to another college it would have meant being out of town, and that also means I have to pay rent, I can’t stay with family. Getting my degree like this is a pretty incredible way to become an RN without having to be $50,000 in debt, which is huge. 

How did you decide on a major?  
I had someone say to me, “You know, most of us aren’t Noah. You’re not going to have some message from the sky and be like ‘this is what you need to do with your life.’ You can just kind of pick something that you enjoy and that the world needs and that you are good at and that’s enough. You can have a good life with that.”  

And so I was actually watching a YouTube video and it was explaining that for the amount of money that you’re going to spend compared to the amount of money that you would make, nursing is kind of the ideal spot. This is a great opportunity for me to get a degree that can make me a solid amount of money without having a lot of debt, which is a big goal. 

Are there any barriers that you’ve overcome to be successful at YVC? Please describe.  
Getting my prerequisites done during the pandemic was hard. I was working full-time at nights at the time and anatomy and physiology and chemistry were either fully online or hybrid so just figuring out a way to work and still complete those challenging classes. 

What do you like or find most interesting about your major? 
You can take this degree and go into a pretty wide variety of fields. I’ve been just really fascinated by that. Like, you can do everything from flight nursing to hospice to retirement homes and home care. I expect that I will never be bored as a nurse, there is so much to learn and so many different areas that you can be in. 

Where do you find your community on campus? 
The other nursing students, that’s my community. We have to spend a lot of time together; we’re all going through the same thing so we have that very strong camaraderie. 

What advice do you have for prospective students? 
There is a lot of help for you if you’re willing to go out and ask. If you’re worried about money, there are a lot of scholarships. If you don’t understand what you need to do, there are staff that their whole job is to help you navigate and understand what you need to do with your degree. I was never shy about asking for help. Speak up and advocate for yourself. 

What’s your favorite spot on campus?  
I really like the area right around the [Coyotes and Chickens] statue that we have right by the nursing building. There’s very nice trees and you have a pretty solid amount of shade and there’s a coffee shop right next to it. It’s a nice place to enjoy nature a little bit before we’re heading back into class. 

How has Yakima Valley College changed you? 
I’ve grown more in my communication and just kind of learning and understanding that professional communication. And I think I’m more determined now around all of my goals in general, just because of having to pursue something hard and experiencing that I can do it encourages me and the rest of my goals in life. 

How do you manage stress? 
I do game nights with friends and also hiking. 

What do you view is your biggest achievement at YVC?  
Just getting through the nursing program. I do already have my regular AA but [it] did not feel as hard as this has. The nursing program is an intensive program. 

Did you receive any financial aid or scholarship funding to attend YVC? If so, please describe how this helped you on your journey. 
I do get the Pell Grant and I’ve been awarded the YVC Foundation Scholarship so that’ll be a huge help. People can come here to YVC, start getting education and then move on to even greater things after that and I think that’s really cool. 

What is your ultimate goal? Where would you like to end up?  
I really want to become a flight nurse, which is going back and forth between different hospitals and working with search and rescue. If I decide to go for even more schooling eventually, I would love to become a nurse practitioner and specifically a psychiatric nurse practitioner. My experience with the medical field prior to getting into YVC’s program was abnormal psychology working with Comprehensive Mental Health and so I got to work with people with schizophrenia and affective personality disorders. I think our culture and media has a tendency to really stigmatize and mischaracterize people with mental illnesses, so I’d like to help change that. 

Interested in getting started at YVC? Visit our admissions page or request information.