Michael Phillips was on track for a professional basketball career two decades ago. But he took a yearlong break after college to focus on his newborn son and injured himself during training, which ended his career. However, that wasn’t his dream. His passion is nursing, which is probably because he’s battled severe arthritis for most of his life and spent time in hospitals growing up. His nurses inspired him and he wanted to have that same impact on others. But he was dissuaded from it and ended up in business, where he did DNA testing, worked as a lab technician, unloaded trucks, did temp work and ended up doing inventory for a computer manufacturer. When that job went overseas, he got the chance to reboot.
“The way I feel about life and work is that everyone is destined to do something,” he said. “If you’re not doing what you’re destined to do, every other thing you do is the same. So everything I’ve done in my life, as far as jobs, from DNA testing to unloading trucks to working in inventory, they all felt the same. The satisfaction wasn’t there because I wasn’t doing what I was destined to do. There was no motivation; it wasn’t in my heart. I was just doing it for the money until I could move forward. I had to put this dream on hold for 20 years because of other responsibilities, but I knew I was going to eventually go back to school.”
He is now a senior nursing major, with a 3.6 grade point average, and has learned to treat his arthritis more holistically through diet, which has allowed him to go off his prescription medications for the most part. He starts his day with a fruit smoothie and adds vegetables to it. He also takes fish-oil pills, celery seeds, herb supplements, and drinks plenty of red grape juice and water.
“Although I have to work a lot harder, arthritis is one of the driving forces behind my desire to excel. I want to help people because I understand chronic pain,” he said. “However, sometimes to progress forward, you must take a step back. One of the biggest advantages is more opportunity. A disadvantage is pretty much being back in that college, no-money mentality. But the best thing is that when you start over, you get to wipe the slate clean, down to the foundation, and build on top of the solid part.”