Valedictorian’s support system helps her rise above insecurities

Valedictorian’s support system helps her rise above insecurities

Valedictorian’s support system helps her rise above insecurities


Reggie Mae Dionisio
Reggie Mae Dionisio, Fañomnåkan Class of 2021 Valedictorian

When Reggie Mae Dionisio started nursing school, she spent hours in the lab meticulously folding sheets and tucking in corners until they were perfect. She also studied the different types of sheets and which direction they should face because she was determined to master her first skill. However, there were times when self-doubt sank in, making her question whether or not she was capable of accomplishing her goals.

Bedmaking eventually became second nature as she shifted her focus to increasingly more complex tasks. It wasn't until she looked back at the end of her undergraduate journey that she could see how far she'd come and that she had proven her self-doubt wrong time and again.
“Throughout the years, I’ve always been nervous if I’m doing things correctly or if I’m up to par with the expectations of others,” she said. “Eventually, I realized that I should only be trying to meet my own expectations, and I should be confident in who I am and the knowledge I have.” 

Now, five years later, Reggie is receiving her bachelor’s degree in nursing and graduating as UOG’s Fañomnåkan 2021 valedictorian. 

Finding her passion

As a student at George Washington High School, Dionisio researched different career paths in the medical field. Nursing immediately stood out to her because of its patient-centered approach and hands-on learning environment. After receiving the Merit scholarship — a full-ride government of Guam scholarship that she earned as the salutatorian of her school — Dionisio enrolled at the University of Guam to begin her nursing journey.  
“I grew up wanting to be in the medical field. I fell in love with how patient-centered nursing is and how it aims to help people,” she said. “You’re really there with the patient every single day, helping them get better.” 

A strong support system

At the beginning of her student nursing journey, Dionisio found it challenging to learn the medical concepts and develop her skills. Her biggest challenge of all was overcoming self-doubt, so she reached out to her peers who were going through a similar experience. Over time, they built a close-knit community that supported, helped, and guided each other throughout their college years.

“We bonded over studying for the nursing entrance exam. We spent late nights studying at UOG, different cafés, and at each other’s houses. They helped me realize that I’m not alone and if I’m able to give support to them, then I should be able to give support to myself.” 

Her support system also consisted of her family, her other half, and childhood friends. Dionisio mentioned that her biggest supporter was her mother. 

“My mom always encouraged me to do my best and told me she was proud of me no matter what. Whenever she noticed that I was studying late at night, she would cut me fruit and make me coffee. She would always tell me that she loves me.”

For Dionisio, the people in her life and having a strong support system were the major factors in helping her overcome her self-doubt. 

The next chapter

After graduation, Dionisio plans to take a short break before studying for the NCLEX board exam. Her goal is to become a registered nurse for the operating room at the Guam Memorial Hospital.

Group photo of Reggie Mae Dionisio with fellow nursing classmates and their professor
Reggie Mae Dionisio and her fellow nursing classmates join their professor for a group photo on their last day of medical-surgical clinical rotation at the Guam Memorial Hospital’s medical-surgical ward. (Back row, from left) Emy Ilagas, Assistant Professor Annamma Varghese, John Gozum, Jeanelle Sabangan, Marilyn Magbitang, Angelina Miguel, (front row, from left) Dionisio, Zannah Togawa, Dianne Angeles, and Neri Jingco.
Reggie Mae Dionisio
Reggie Mae Dionisio stands in front of the Guam Memorial Hospital after her medical-surgical rotation.
Reggie Mae Dionisio with fellow classmates and UOG faculty
Reggie Mae Dionisio joins her fellow classmates and UOG faculty in welcoming incoming sophomores to the nursing program at Family Night. (From left) Assistant Professor Annamma Varghese, Veronica Alave, Lian Nacianceno, Neri Jingco, Dianne Angeles, Emy Ilagas, and Dionisio.