Have you ever had a friend whom you admire so much, that you are inspired to write an article about them? I have lots of those friends, but my focus today is on my friend Cassie. If you know Cassie, then you will not question why she is being featured as a Woman of Empowerment. If you do not know Cassie, you are missing out. Let me introduce you to her!
I have been friends with Cassie just shy of a decade, and in that time, we have grown exceptionally close. I have learned so much about her, from her upbringing, to what feeds her soul. It is rare for her to not have a smile on her face, and most of our time together has been spent laughing. We share a love of all things spiritual, as well as being in nature. There isn't anything that Cassie doesn't know about me. With her, I can be transparent. I know that her other friends feel the same. Finding a person like her to include in your support system is a true blessing.
A few fun facts about Cass are:
She is the middle of three children and the only daughter of two parents who immigrated to Canada from the Czech Republic
She loves spending her time near the ocean, more specifically in Hawaii
She loves the mountains just as much
She enjoys golf
She ran a Disney half-marathon race in Orlando in 2016; I met her in Orlando but definitely did not partake in the race. The sweepers would have swept me off the side of the road, without a doubt.
She has a fondness for brunch
She loves kids and they love her
She is a registered OR nurse
She is also the co-owner of a business
She is a fiercely loyal friend
Cassie is compassionate, loving, empathetic, trustworthy, and honest. She encompasses all of the qualities that so many of us aspire towards, myself included.
When asked to describe an event in our lives that has impacted us the most, we can usually pinpoint one. For Cassie, losing her father unexpectedly in January 2015 would be it. As someone who has also lost a parent, I fully understand how such a loss can weigh on every facet of life. However, she has always handled her grief with such love and grace, giving herself time to heal when she needs, yet still helping others before herself. Though Cassie's dad was unable to physically be here to walk her down the aisle when she got married or witness her journey to becoming a registered nurse, she has always believed in her heart that he is with her in spirit, every day. Like air, just because you can't see him does not mean that he's not there. This leads me to Cassie's greatest accomplishment, thus far.
Shortly after her dad's passing, Cassie was scheduled to write her exam to become a licensed registered nurse. Without passing this exam, you cannot practice as a registered nurse. Understandably, she was not in the best headspace to write her exam and did not pass. Although the outcome was hard to hear, it was not devastating; she still had two more chances to write the exam, and she knew that failing the exam was not due to a lack of knowledge. She studied endlessly and put all of her efforts into writing the next exam, but again, did not pass.
At this point, she realized that it would be beneficial to seek therapy in order to help her work through the grief accompanying losing her dad, as well as the test anxiety that was developing as a result of failing two exams; she only had one chance left to challenge the test, and if she should fail, she would not be able to pursue her career. It was quite a significant amount of pressure. However, she went to therapy, discussed her concerns, and took steps towards healing.
When the time came to make the third and final attempt, Cassie felt extremely nervous. She had studied more than seemingly possible, had sought therapy, and was trying her best to stay calm. However, her nerves won, and she failed for the third and final time. I remember feeling heartbroken for her. I knew that she had genuinely done everything that she could possibly do. She had passed all of her practice exams, and she had already practiced as a graduate nurse previously. Her nursing ability was inherent, without a doubt. The only obstacle in her way was an exam.
Now, most people would give up. They would acknowledge that they failed all of the given attempts and would throw away their dreams of a nursing career. But, Cassie isn't most people. Rather than give up, she contacted the exam committee and explained her situation to them. She wanted to try one more time. They agreed to let her sit in front of a panel who would decide if her personal circumstances would warrant a fourth attempt. Well, she won them over just as she has won everyone over, and they allowed her to write for a fourth time, with special provisions set in place to help her manage her test anxiety. She passed. I remember her calling to tell me. I instantly started crying tears of pure joy and relief.
Cassie did not let her dream of becoming a nurse diminish because of an extremely difficult written exam. She pushed herself as far as she could, and accomplished what she set out to do, for herself, and in honor of her father. Although I am sure that there were points when she wanted to give up, her heart and her courage did not let her. For this, she is a true inspiration. More than that, she is simply an incredible human being. Her compassion, willpower, courage, and kindness are only a handful of examples of why Cassie is this week's Woman of Empowerment.
When asked what advice she has for women everywhere, Cassie replies:
"Never give up on your dreams, work hard, and believe in yourself; you can accomplish anything you truly want".
Cassie, thank you for letting me share a small part of your life's journey thus far. I admire you so much and have never felt anything except positivity from you. You are truly a Godsend to all of us, and I know that your dad would be so proud of you whether you had become a nurse or not. Thank you for showing us that hard work, dedication, and resilience can get us to where we need to be. Love you lots!