Northern Marianas College graduate Lesley Ann Rapiz’s first task in an NMC classroom wasn’t to learn, it was to clean.
When Rapiz first came to Saipan in 2016, she was to work as a cleaner for her family’s cleaning company, Clean World Corporation. It was her first job, and her assignment was the College.
As she continued cleaning NMC, she saw multiple NMC students become successful nurses. This in turn, inspired her to start her journey in the field of nursing in 2019.
“I believe that through nursing, there would be a lot of opportunities for me,” Rapiz said. “Nursing also offers a unique opportunity for people like me to touch other people’s lives by providing quality care and helping them achieve a healthy state of being.”
However, her journey towards becoming a registered nurse wasn’t always easy. Rapiz, while taking classes, continued to clean offices and classrooms at NMC. While during the week she would continue on with her janitorial duties, Rapiz would take classes on the weekends.
“It was okay at first, when I could take classes on Saturdays,” Rapiz said. “But once I got into the nursing program, I had to attend class and clinicals during working hours, which was a bit hard.”
According to Rapiz, she would come into work at 4:00am, leave to attend class, then go back into work right after. In order to make up for her lost hours, she would work until 6:00pm most days.
“It was not easy studying while working, but I made sure to use my time properly to be able to work it out,” Rapiz said.
Rapiz is grateful for her coworkers, her supervisors, and her family for being understanding of her schedule.
“I am really grateful especially to my supervisors Barnaby Lizama and Greg Sablan, as well as Shirley Blas and Rachel Fusco from the facilities department for being understanding of my schedule and for always encouraging me in my studies,” Rapiz said. “I’d also like to thank all of the employees and the nursing instructors of the College for always supporting me, and especially to Piding Sablan from the Bookstore, who bought me my regalia for my commencement ceremony.”
Rapiz also credits her success to her coworkers at her family’s company – especially her mother, Nora Bondad and her uncle Nomer Florendo.
“My mom wanted to always become a nurse and wasn’t able to,” Rapiz said. “So when I got the chance, I decided to pursue nursing to honor her dreams.”
She also thanks her husband, Deorene for always being there for her. According to Rapiz, she and her husband would take additional work during their free time cleaning houses, in order to help pay for her tuition.
“I’d also really like to thank my husband for giving me the love and support I needed throughout my nursing journey,” Rapiz said.
Now, after graduating from the College in 2023 and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses or NCLEX-RN soon after, Rapiz is a nurse at Saipan Renal Care.
“It’s a great and fun experience at the clinic,” Rapiz said.
For students also planning to become a nurse or to just finish college, Rapiz advises them to manage their time wisely.
“If you’re going to take the NCLEX, take it as soon as you can right after graduating,” Rapiz said. “And most importantly – believe in yourself.”