COVINGTON, Ga.—The script tattooed on Raven Canionero’s left forearm simply says, “Keep going.”
For Canionero, a Georgia State University Newton Campus health sciences student, it’s a daily reminder to focus on her studies and her dreams. That focus was missing a few months ago when her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It was during the summer, and I was taking Anatomy and Physiology II (lecture and lab) and working as a lab assistant, when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer,” she said.
With a full load of classes and work, she was overwhelmed with the news.
Canionero entered Perimeter College in fall 2016 without the HOPE scholarship, but had worked to get her grade point up, receiving the HOPE scholarship in the spring of 2018. It was a big help financially for her family, she said.
Then her mom’s diagnosis made her lose focus on her studies. Her grades started slipping, and she became depressed.
“I was really worried about her,” Canionero said.
Talking to her anatomy and physiology instructor, Dr. Rebecca Falkenberg, helped her through the rough time, she said.
“Her mom had passed away from breast cancer, and she really listened and talked to me,” Canionero said. “Dr. Falkenberg helped me not to get down and encouraged me not to give up.”
To Canionero’s relief, her mom’s cancer has responded to radiation, and she is doing well now, she said.
“Raven is an outstanding example of a strong student who has overcome the obstacles in her way,”Falkenberg said. “She was one of my top students in AP1 (anatomy and physiology) and AP2, even though she struggled with her mother’s cancer diagnosis. She is a great representative of our smart, strong and resilient student body.”
Canionero is set on graduating in December with her associate of science degree and hopes to apply for the health informatics program at Georgia State’s Atlanta Campus.
“I’m interested in leadership roles, and as part of this program, now I have to take many business courses, including accounting and computer science,” she said.
The Conyers resident has advice for other students going through rough times.
“If you are depressed, don’t bottle it in, always talk to someone — a professor or counselor or a family member. When you’re figuring out your next step, just keep pushing on and keep going — don’t give up.”
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