We are continuing our Celebrating Phenomenal Women with an interview with Amber Gochoel! I started the series at the beginning of the year and it was not only popular with you all, I really enjoyed doing it. For more information on the series, check out the link above, otherwise, keep scrolling to read about this amazing woman.
Instead of introducing her myself, I’ll let her do the talking…
Amber: I’m a first year nursing student, but my story is more complicated than that. I graduated college with a BA in communications, and eventually worked at some of the biggest television companies in the world… but something was missing… I realized that I was lacking the personal connection and compassion that comes with caring for people. Thus, a new dream was born, and I’m so excited for what the future holds!
Samantha: I don’t know if you remember, but we actually took classes at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco – the student summer program. It’s a small world that you ended up being nominated on my series! When I first met you, I remember you had dreams to become a newscaster. I noticed now that you’re a producer and soon to be nurse. What caused the switch?
A: I though you looked so familiar!! Wow, the world is so freaking small. I originally went to college thinking that I would be a news anchor one day. I idolized Anderson Cooper, and wanted to be just like him. As I got farther into the program, I realized that these news anchors worked essentially 24/7 365 and often times did not get to write their own stories. I wanted something a little more creative, so I moved more into the digital marketing space, where I worked for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and National Geographic for five years. The projects at these companies are interesting and you get to meet famous people, but I just felt like I wasn’t doing enough to help the world. I took six months and really dove down into my brain to figure out what I wanted to do in order to help others. Finally it hit me that nursing is basically everything I’ve ever wanted in job! I love that it isn’t just another desk job, and I can experience caring for people first hand.
S: How do you make time for yourself? Do you ever get burnt out?
A: I make time for myself wherever I can! It’s so hard being a student and working at the same time. Many times, it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day, especially when you’re trying to learn and retain information instead of simply memorizing and dumping it. My go to “me time” is after I get home from work I promise myself a set amount of Netflix time and then some sort of wellness activity, either going to the gym, doing a face mask, or taking a bath usually. After that, I’m feeling refreshed, and ready to study or work on projects! Burning out is such a real threat to our mental wellness. I try to do everything that I can to keep the positive vibes and energy up!
S: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: Ooof this is a rough one at the moment, and I think I’m mostly surviving off of sheer will and determination at the moment haha. On weekdays, I wake up at 5am and go to the gym. After that I go to my job at National Geographic, and study study study on the metro ride there. After work, I usually have to go to class or clinicals for a few hours. After all of that is done (I’m tired just thinking of it haha), I go home and do my self care routine and study a bit before bed. I’m hoping to transition from full to part time at a job soonish, so I can have a little more down time!
S: Have you faced any disappointments in your career/hobbies?
A: I have definitely faced disappointments through the years. Like we’ve talked about before, I’m currently switching careers to go into nursing. When I first started feeling doubt about my current job, I was so disappointed in myself. I just kept saying “how could you go to college and go through so much work to get here and still be unhappy?” I really beat myself up over it, and I thought my family would be bummed because I’ve always been the cousin/sister/daughter/etc with “the cool job.” It took a long time to get over these feelings, but once I started talking through my new timeline and plans with everyone, they were SO supportive. I’ve also found a bunch of other people on Instagram and Reddit who are switching careers to go into the medical field. It’s so important to know that we’re not alone in this crazy transition period!
S: Can you share some goals you’re currently working towards?
A: Obviously my biggest goal at the moment is to get through nursing school in one piece and pass the NCLEX! I’m excitedly anxious about the challenges I will face during my nursing school journey, and I can’t wait to conquer them! In addition to nursing, I’m working through a bucket list of activities I want to experience! So far I’ve been able to cross off skydiving, swimming with whale sharks, and seeing the James Webb Space Telescope in person! While nursing is #1 in my life, I think it’s also important to have these fun goals as motivators!
S: Who is your biggest motivator – your cheerleader, the one that helps get you through the rough days?
A: My mom is my biggest cheerleader through all of this! She’s the best combination of tough love and encouragement. I know she has my back, and will support me no matter what happens!
S: Do you have some mentors that you try to model yourself or your business off of?
A: Fred Rogers from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood is one of my biggest mentors in life.
S: What is the most important thing he taught you?
A: Kindness, respect, and love are the most important things we can share in this world, and I think he really did his best to stay positive and kind, even in hard moments. Even as an adult, I learn so much by watching episodes of his show. Everything from expressing emotions in a constructive way to making others feel more included. There really is a Mister Rogers’ episode for every topic! Whenever I’m frustrated, angry, or sad I think what he would say or do. It really helps!
S: What was your biggest struggle, getting to where you are and the person you’ve become?
I relate a lot to Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy in the sense that wild things just seem to happen around me all the time. I went from having a typical family as a kid to losing my dad and only grandparents in a span of a couple years as a teenager. All three of them received home health care in our house, and then eventually died there. As an adult, I’m super thankful they were able to live out their last months in the comfort of their own home, but at the time it was really hard to deal with. A combination of those events and a near death experience while I was on assignment for Science Channel, left me with anxiety and panic attacks for many years. Anyone who’s ever had mental health struggles will tell you that it feels almost impossible to pull yourself out of that hole of despair. Luckily, over time I was able to find a group of friends who recognized that I was struggling, and they helped me find ways to slowly help my brain heal. I’m not perfect, but at the time of writing this I’m over 100 days panic attack free and can control my anxiety.
S: What would you say to the younger Amber?
A: If I could go back in time and talk to my younger self, I would tell her that she is so much stronger and awesome than she thinks she is. At this point I’m totally happy being 100% Amber in front of my friends, internet strangers, and more. I embrace what makes me unique, and that alone gives a person a huge confidence boost! I just wish I would’ve been more comfortable being me sooner!
S: One of the motivations for this series is to prove that we women can raise each other up without having to tear someone down in the process. What advice do you have for the woman who feels torn down right now?
A: I think everyone is a little guilty of being jealous of another person’s accomplishments or life events, but instead of tearing each other down or dwelling on the jealousy, we should be celebrating that life is so joyous for everyone. For anyone who is feeling torn down, remember that your worthiness as a person has nothing to do with measuring up to someone else or their opinions of you. You do not need to be accomplished in the eyes of another person to feel worthy. Refuse to listen to others who say you are not enough. Choose to feel worthy right now.
Thanks, Amber for taking the time to talk! If Amber brings you as much inspiration as she brings me and those who nominated her, be sure to follow her on Instagram @sparklyscrubs.