Southern’s Unsung Hero: Nursing department secretary, Lydia Vega
Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter
About six weeks ago, after missing a few days from work, students were thrilled when Lydia Vega, Nursing Department secretary, was back, saying the place could not run without her. But upon hearing her house burned down, students, faculty, and staff from a variety of departments rushed to her aid.
“When the fire happened, everybody helped me with sweaters, gift cards for food, and cans, that was just wonderful,” said Vega. “Faculty, staff and, students did that and that to me in itself, to know people care about you so much, is the best memory for me. I will never forget how everyone banded together to help me. I was really blessed during the time I needed it. They were really great; I am grateful to everybody.”
Vega said students were shocked upon seeing her return to work so quickly, but she is an “integral” part of the department and, despite the hardship, she knew brighter days were on their way.
“I had to [return],” said Vega, “it is good to know that even in spite of bad things happening in your life, you still have to continue on because there is always the sun on the other side.”
Vega said she has been with the university for about eight years, she previously worked inside the Bursar’s office and was then transferred to the Nursing Department about five years ago. But even before Southern, she has always worked at some kind of university and it has taught her patience and how to be more versatile when assisting students.
“I worked different departments, so it helps to know how all these offices run,” said Vega, “because when they come here, the students do not have to run around like crazy because, generally, I know what office they need to go to and what they need to do. If I do not know then I will sure find out.”
Vega said, as the secretary for the Nursing Department, she often goes above and beyond to ensure she is helping staff, faculty, and students to the best of her abilities: running various errands for professors, writing letters, helping students with information pertaining to various office and departments, locating missing items, and much more.
Vega added students also frequently seek her out when they are in need of support. She often reminds them that some things are beyond their control, but they can get through it.
“They come in here and talk when they are having a bad day, and they do have their bad days, let me tell you,” said Vega. “But sometimes they make a big deal out of something in their mind that really was not anything that could have been taken care of, you know? So I will remind them of that, ‘you got into this program, that was not an easy thing to do, you can do this, if you could just set your mind on doing this.’”
Vega said she is there for everyone whenever they need her, whatever they need her for and that she will do her best to help them. They can be assured that if she does not know the answer, then they can be absolutely sure she will find one.
Photo Credit: Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter