He earned a bachelor’s in nursing and is planning to pursue a career in emergency care. His mother was a nurse for more than 25 years, and he credits her with getting him interested in the profession.
“I wanted to be a doctor until I figured out that nurses really take care of people. I changed my major a year and a half in. I’ve been happy every since,” Wagner said.
His friend and classmate, Michael Zane, is getting ready for his third career. After working as a casino dealer in Atlantic City and a manager in home improvement superstores, he decided to go to nursing school. He came to USC three years ago after starting college in Savannah.
“I thought about nursing for a lot of years,” said Zane, 36. “I figure it has guaranteed job security.”
Zane was heading to Atlanta immediately after commencement, where he has applied for nursing positions in several hospitals.
Best friends Chaundrea Lee and Brittany Brown were in their seats 90 minutes before the ceremony began. The two have been friends since pre-school and attended Lower Richland High School in Columbia together before heading to USC. They were sitting seven rows apart in the Colonial Life Arena.
Brown received her bachelor’s in nursing. Lee was graduating with a broadcast journalism degree. She said she is hoping to find a job in sports broadcasting, “but I’m up for anything as long as it’s a job.”