After working in healthcare for years, Mariane Gosselin set out to take the next step by studying nursing, and found her true calling in psychology.

“Everyone wanted me to go to nursing school. I worked as a medical assistant for almost 14 years, and people assume the next level is nursing,” said Mariane, speaking shortly before the fall 2023 semester.

“But in the last year, I started having a lot of patients with depression, and I changed my mind,” she said.

The College Experience

Mariane enrolled in the psychology program in January, getting back to her roots. She worked in a mental health facility 14 years ago, and currently works in Nashua as an administrative medical assistant with Lamprey Health Care. “It’s funny how the world goes around, I’m back where I started.”

On top of navigating her college journey, Mariane had to adjust to her adopted country. “I came from Brazil when I was almost 21 years old, I came alone over here,” she said. After trying another educational program in Nashua that wasn’t a good fit, she came to NCC, and connected with Pat Klein, who was then an academic advisor.

“She is amazing, I could not do this if it wasn’t for her. She was one of the most amazing counselors that I’ve had, she explained everything in detail, knowing I’ve been here 23 years, but English is still not my first language, and college is confusing. She was able to explain everything. If it wasn’t for Pat Klein, I wouldn’t have started at NCC. It isn’t just the language barrier, I didn’t know anything about college here. She sat me down and explained everything and made sure I took English class and got help from teachers with essays and everything, that is amazing help for people like me.”

Pat stayed with Mariane as she navigated her studies, eventually switching majors from nursing to psychology. “She very sweet, and takes her time with students. When I switched majors, I was so confused. She really helped me.”

“Mariane was wonderful to work with.  She is very motivated and has overcome some challenges and obstacles that life brought her way but has landed on her feet.  I know she will meet any goals she has set for herself,” said Pat Klein.

Hands-on Internship

As part of her psychology program, she completed a capstone internship. Mariane worked with Stepping Stones, a drop-in facility for youth experiencing homelessness.

“That was a totally new experience working with these kids. There are protective of themselves. They don’t like new people coming around, they try to figure out if you’re a good or bad person before letting you into their lives. I learned a lot, like how you can’t rush things; I have to give it time. We were on their time, not on my time. They need to make the decision if they want to approach me – I had to let them take the time to get to know me.”

Studying psychology, Mariane said she was able to apply what she learned into practice during her internship at Stepping Stones. “We learned about a lot of the types of behaviors in psychology and I was able to handle it better when I saw it in real life in the internship.”

Through the capstone course’s ‘critical incident reports,’ Mariane documented everything she learned, and was able to communicate a detailed experience to the course instructor. “The critical incident report was a good tool because I was able to communicate it all to the teacher, especially if I was dealing with a type of behavior:  I was able to write about it, and Professor Barnes was able to help me to understand it. If it wasn’t for the critical incident report, helping to communicate between the teacher and the field work, and I wouldn’t have the same understanding of how to deal with the internship,” she said.

“The internship at Stepping stones changed how I see people, I still want to do what I set out to do; but it changed the way I want to help people. I still have kids from Stepping Stones, I still visit. I made sure they could reach out to me if they need me.”

The program helped her to not only understand other people better, but also herself. As part of the psychology curriculum, Mariane completed an integration paper, which she said shed light on struggles going on in her personal life, “It actually helped me understand what I went through. The integration paper was me coming to terms with my life and how it was.”

Psychology deals with heavy themes and topics that resonate with students’ personal experiences, but the campus community is there to offer support. “The students all tried to help each other, and I always try to get people laughing. I do have the tendency to get close to people. Usually the students were very sweet, very nice.”

Faculty are part of the campus support network as well. “My psych teacher, Jayne Barnes – she embraced my culture, and you don’t see that always in the United States. When I told her I was Brazilian, her face lit up, I was so happy. My statistic teacher John Kasparek and anatomy teacher Ammara Khan were amazing too; all the teachers I had at NCC; knowing what I’m going through, they helped me pull through. They never let me give up, I cannot say enough about how the college helped me over the last two years and all the ups and downs I went through.”

Professor Barnes said she’s been impressed with Mariane’s maturity and insight combined with her ability to logically assess a situation. “At her summer internship, she used her reflection skills to formulate judgments, reach conclusions and solve problems. Highly motivated, Mariane can get things done.  A reliable empathic and trustworthy student, Mariane continues to learn from experience and feedback. We continue to learn from her as well.”

Next, Mariane has three classes to go before she’s due to graduate in December, and is looking at transferring into a bachelor’s program. “I’ve been through a lot, and I love helping other people because I wish someone did it for me in the past.”

Advice for Future Students

“Take the leap of faith. Your priorities may change, but always go with your heart. At the end of the day, it’s about how you feel. You may be afraid it’s a mistake, but as the time passes by, everything will fall into place.”


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