Spartans of UD: Megan Collister

Nov 11, 2020

Spartans of UD highlights what makes University of Dubuque special – the people.

Megan Collister, of Maquoketa, Iowa, is a senior majoring in nursing. She was an intelligence specialist in the Marine Corps with the rank of sergeant.

1. What inspired you to major in nursing? 

“Ever since I was little, I always knew I was going to end up in the medical field. However, once I was nearing the end of high school, I realized that I really wanted to make a difference in the world. To fulfill that dream, I decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps and spend those five years exploring the world and meeting others from different walks of life. As I made my way up the ladder and started fulfilling leadership positions, I fell in love with advocating and taking care of those who were in my charge. Towards the end on my enlistment, I knew I still had a calling towards the medical community but felt like I had to do something that encompassed advocating for others who may not be able to advocate for themselves. I wanted to be in a role where I was not only advocating for a patient but being there for them, on a personal level, during their hardships. I felt like nursing encompassed all of those attributes and that’s what drew me towards the profession.”

2. How has your experience in the Marine Corps helped you as a nursing student? 

“I feel like I know how to manage stress so much better than I did before joining the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps also did a great job at breaking my shell which made it so much easier to speak up for myself and on behalf of others. My experiences really led me to being a more confident individual which also gave me the ability to adapt to different situations very effectively. All of these experiences really gave me a great foundation to do well in nursing school.”

3. What does Veterans Day mean to you as a Marine Corps veteran? 

“As a veteran, Veterans Day is a special day where I think back on not only my time in the military but also the reason why I joined the military in the first place. I wanted to make a difference in any way I could. I wanted to fight for the rights, freedom, and protection of all Americans. It’s also a day where I can celebrate with my Marine Corps brothers and sisters and reminisce on the times we spent together.”

4. What advice do you have for other students who are veterans? 

“My advice for student veterans is don’t be afraid to get involved with organizations and put yourself out there. It’s so easy to go through college alone as a veteran, but getting involved will give you that extra sense of purpose and will expose you to great friendships along the way. If that’s not something you feel comfortable with then definitely visit the Sergeant Jeffery B. Dodge Veterans Center and spend time with your military brothers and sisters.”

5. Where is your favorite spot on campus? Why? 

“The Charles C. Myers Library! I spend a lot of time studying for all of my nursing exams with my friends and love the atmosphere our library brings.”