Her first job was working at a child care center when she was 14 years old, Wilson said.
“I always knew I wanted to care for people. But, I thought it was going to be nursing,” said Wilson.
Caring for her grandfather, who she said can be so stubborn at times, revealed Wilson’s desire to care for the younger generation, she said.
“Once you get to a certain age, you can be set in your own ways. I don’t want to deal with that age group. I’d rather deal with kids who want to learn, are willing to learn and willing to change,” Wilson said.
After becoming clear on who she wanted to care for, Wilson was inspired to start a child care out of her new home in Auburn.
“Plus I have kids, so I thought why not?” Wilson said.
Started out wanting to be a nurse, but has decided instead to work with youth.
Rika Deveney • Staff Reporter
Samunique Wilson just can’t stop caring. At Highline she’s finding a way to do that and make a living.
Wilson is a mom of four, having newly adopted her 3-year-old niece into her family. Wilson is also the primary caregiver for her grandfather.
Before coming to Highline, Wilson was working in the medical field as a dialysis technician.
Her job offered to pay for her to go to school, which was perfect, Wilson said. She then enrolled at Highline at the start of the pandemic and after having her third child.
“I worked firsthand with nurses, so I thought I might as well become one,” Wilson said.
As a former foster child, Wilson qualified for the TriO program at Highline. TriO offers support and retention services to students who need additional help achieving their academic goals.
After joining TriO, Wilson took on a student-worker role and was involved in leadership.
Wilson credited Kathy Nguyen, the TriO program adviser, with helping her succeed in college.
“Kathy has always been my main support system here. She’s pushed me to do more than what I think I’m capable of,” Wilson said.
Everything was playing out well at Highline, but when her grandfather caught COVID she knew she had to take a break, said Wilson.
Wilson’s grandfather has chronic lymphoproliferative disorder, which affects the body’s lymphatic system. When he caught COVID at the end of 2021, it carried over to 2022. Then two of Wilson’s kids caught COVID
“I thought, ‘If I lose my grandpa, am I even going to want to care for people?’ I had to sit back and think,” Wilson said.
At that time, Wilson knew she needed a mental break with so many being sick in her household.
“Before I made the decision to go on my mental break, I talked with Dr. Mosby. He was very open minded about it and told me to do what I need to do for myself,” said Wilson.
She decided not enroll for Spring Quarter 2022 for that reason.
Wilson will pick back up this fall and graduate with her associate of arts degree.
“I came to Highline to pursue a nursing degree, but things changed,” Wilson said.
She is now enrolled in the Youth Development bachelor’s degree program. She plans to use her degree as credentials for her child care service.
Her child care center hasn’t opened yet. Wilson hopes to receive her license in June and open her doors for business in September, she said.
“In the near future, I want to start doing behavioral health at my daycare. I feel like that will bring more clientele because there’s a lot of kids at risk and in need of mental health services,” Wilson said.
Highline has helped her find a purpose, and given her the tools to realize that, she said.
“I’ve never felt judged or uncomfortable at Highline,” she said. “My opinion and ideas have always been taken into consideration. Having a community behind you that values you and pushes you to new limits definitely makes going after that degree very much worth it.
“I believe the biggest thing I’ve got out of Highline is the overall support and motivation that I lacked at home, being a first-generation college student.”