It’s 2 a.m., and University of Miami junior Aline Jean is working the night shift as a respiratory therapist at Jackson Memorial Ryder Trauma Center. When she gets off, she will only have a few short hours to complete her class assignments and get some rest for class later that day.
Working 40 hours each week while trying to get a degree in journalism and music business takes its toll, Jean said.
“It is really tough,” Jean said. “With everything, I have to give 100 percent. I can’t half step anything.”
Jean said she summons her spiritual foundation to make it through the day.
“When I wake up in the morning and I just meditate and spend quality time with the Lord, like my day just tends to go smooth,” Jean said. “I am ready for whatever the storm brings.”
Many would wonder why Jean would go back to school when she already has a career.
The answer – to follow her dreams.
Jean is working full time to pay for school and eventually start a women’s magazine, dedicated to women of all shapes and sizes. It would focus on faith and fashion. A singer, Jean also wants to break into the music industry and release an album.
“I can’t just stick to the safety of health care,” Jean said.
Jean, who hopes to have children some day, said she “couldn’t bring kids into this world and tell them to follow their dreams when mommy never did.”
Jean received her associate’s degree at Miami-Dade College’s Respiratory Care Program, a career she chose because she was born with bronchitis and her brother, born premature, died of a lung condition. When she went to college, she wanted to be in a field in which she could be like the professionals who changed her life as a child.
Nevertheless, after doing respiratory therapy for some time, Jean said she realized that it was not her passion: Singing and fashion were. She enrolled at UM as a full-time student and took on two majors – journalism and music business.
“You know, you just feel as though God is calling you to do something greater,” Jean said. “Not that what I am doing is not amazing. It is beautiful and rewarding to save lives, but I just felt like I just have to move on with my passion.”
Jean said she feels as though God is telling her to listen to her heart and to follow her dreams just like she did when she suffered from dyslexia as a child.
Her teachers – and even family members – discouraged Jean. Jean said her “reading level was not up to par” and in high school and middle school, she was told she’d never graduate with honors, get a scholarship or go to a university.
“But I did all of that,” Jean said.