Dedication drives ‘Nova senior

Katie Roth

Jonathan Messing’s four years here at the University resemble the quote by Robert Byrne, “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” As a senior nursing major, Messing has worked hard to get to where he is and anticipates the next phase of his life post-graduation.

Luckily for Messing, he has been able to experience the many opportunities that Villanova has to offer. He fills his spare time as the head RA of St. Monica’s residence hall, a co-chair of a Campus Ministry bi-weekly small group, the president of Omicron Delta Kappa, a member of the Blue Key Society for all but one semester, a co-head leader of the most recent SEARCH retreat and a member of the Gay-Straight Coalition steering committee.

“Of course, I always try to place my academics and friends at the top of my list too, so it hasn’t been easy,” Messing says.

Messing also had to make tough choices when it came to choosing what his top priorities were in regards to his activities. To many, it seems like he keeps himself busy day-in and day-out.

From his first day, the University and Messing meshed well.

“I can’t exactly put my thumb on it … the sense of community [at Villanova] appeared better than anywhere else,” Messing says of the deciding factors of why he became a part of ‘Nova Nation. But it was also the slight influence of his father and brother, since both of them graduated from Villanova as well.

How did Messing become so involved? He attributes it to several things, including his desire to try new things, his stubbornness to give up on what he begins, Villanova’s annual activities forum and the example set by the great upperclassmen who he became acquainted with his freshman year.

As a kid, Messing dreamt of becoming a doctor, like most others his age. But it wasn’t until the end of his freshman year that he understood that nursing was just as good in the way of an occupation, if not better.

“I do think that majoring in nursing is highly underrated on this campus … students don’t realize that you can do virtually anything with nursing that the other colleges at Villanova offer,” Messing says. “Not only that, but it has a 100 percent job placement, and it has recently been identified as one of the most prestigious careers [next to firefighters and doctors]. Furthermore, because of the current shortage [of nurses], the ball is completely in your hands.”

It is visible that Messing’s role model has aided him in becoming the person that he is.

“I have to admit that my father has been that for me,” Messing says, although he knows that most people resort to that answer when asked the same question. But in Messing’s case, it is apparent why.

“His ability to overcome so many hardships while growing up makes him a role model for me,” he said. “The fact that his father died when he was seven, his mother died when he was 14, his only brother died and that he was able to overcome all that, go to college, have a family and then eventually start his own company says a lot to me. Through his experiences, I have become more determined and more willing to get the most out of life.”

After graduation, Messing plans on taking his National Council Licensure Examination. This tests entry-level nursing competence, and passing the exam is required for all candidates applying for licensure as a registered nurse in all U.S. states. Also, he will be moving into his first apartment and backpacking through Europe for a couple months before he begins his work as a critical care nurse.

“However, this all depends on the date of my NCLEX exam, when I’ll be moving into my apartment, where my apartment will be and my start date for work,” Messing says, hoping that a trip to Europe will be in his future.

After working in the Intensive Care Unit or Emergency Department for two years, he hopes to take graduate level courses in order to pursue a degree as a nurse anesthetist or a nurse practitioner, but most likely the former.

Messing is unsure if he is actually leaving a “legacy” behind after he graduates.

“If I do, it is nothing more special than what others have left before me,” he says.

He hopes that people become tolerant and accepting of others since he has been working tirelessly to do so ever since he was comfortable in that position.

“I would like to see more of the closeted students on campus feel comfortable about who they are and be able to come out,” Messing says. “Whether it’s speaking with Kathy Byrnes or someone in campus ministry, contacting BGLOV, visiting the counseling center or confiding in a Safe Zones volunteer, just know that you have people you can speak with.”

“The Gay-Straight Coalition will be coming up on its four-year anniversary this spring and has come a very long way since a few students began the process for creating an organization years ago,” he said. “Whether you’re straight or gay, take a risk and get involved.”

Messing is happy with whatever legacy he leaves behind. He’s happy with the progress that GSC has made and with the progress that he himself has made.

“I feel I’ve been able to help make this school a better place for underrepresented students as well as help other students become more aware of life outside of the Villanova bubble,” Messing says. “However, I’d be nowhere if it wasn’t for the people here that have helped me along the way.”