Thought you guys would want to read this article:

James White can tell you exactly when his life took a major turn.

It was December 8, 2008. He was called into his boss’s office at Courtesy Ford for an uncomfortable conversation. White was being laid off.

Like most people who are hit with an unexpected job loss, White didn’t have time to sit around. He had a family to help support, and plenty of bills to pay.

But White’s job loss came with a silver lining. For the past few years, he’d been thinking about becoming a nurse. He enjoyed helping people, and although he was able to do a bit of that in the car business, he wanted to do it more often.

“They were far and in between, but those moments made me really feel good about the job that I had,” White said, referring to the times when he felt like he was helping others. “And nursing, what I’ve found is, you have many days like that.”

But the fears associated with giving up his income for a new career always stopped him from making a change.

“I had been thinking about a change for a while, but because I made pretty good money, and you know you’ve got a mortgage, you’ve got car payments, you’re not necessarily prepared to stop everything that you’re doing and decide that you’re going to come to school and pursue an alternative career,” White said.

Being laid off made that decision a lot easier. With encouragement from his wife, White decided to pursue his dream. Within months of being laid off, White began taking classes at College of The Albemarle in the spring semester of 2009. One year later, he was accepted into the nursing program.

Looking back, White admits that he wasn’t totally sure what he was getting himself into. He says he was “naïve” about the process. He assumed that the program would be easy to get into, and easy to complete. He soon found that the course load was challenging, and that the program was competitive.

“This program is one of the toughest things I ever did,” White said. “You think of nursing as nurturing and caring, and it’s all those things, but it’s more intense than that.”

Although the program has been more difficult than White anticipated, he’s doing well.

He still has a way to go until he graduates in the spring of 2012, but he’s already looking forward to starting his new career.

“It’s challenging intellectually, it’s stimulating, and I think it’s one of the few professions where people can actually feel good about what they do. You know you’re making a difference, you know you’re helping, and you feel good about the things that you do,” White said.