Feature

Kirkwood alumnus finds success

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague
Photo by Juana Jones.

After graduating from Kirkwood Community College, students go on to pursue their chosen career paths, some moving far away and others staying closer to home. Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague moved to Iowa at the age of 17, graduated from the Kirkwood nursing program, and later ran for mayor.  

Q: What brought you to Iowa? 

A: I wanted to graduate with my graduating class. To go on to chemistry 1, chemistry 2 was a requirement for you to take and to pass and I didn’t see any way of making that possible. I would have had to take chemistry 1 during the day and chemistry 2 at a night class and I didn’t see any way out of that. So, I’m transferring to schools within my neighborhood, which was a challenge for me. So, my sister noticed that Iowa City West High School didn’t require chemistry. My parents bought into allowing my sister, whose name is Juan, to become my legal guardian at the age of 17 and I moved here with her and I finished school. 

Q: How did you choose the nursing program? 

A: I had two aunts who had cancer and I assisted both in their home them, on a minor level, which was essentially just being present at night in the home because I had to give them ice water.  

At the age of 18, I started working at Iowa City Hospice and during my time there I fell in love with caring for other individuals and their families and so that really did create this true love for the passion of healthcare.  

I was actually I over at the University of Iowa at some point getting my psychology degree, in the middle sports, and I was like, “I really wanted to do the nursing track.” So, I was simultaneously attending the University of Iowa and Kirkwood. 

Q: What kind of struggles did you face while being a student? 

 A: There were a lot of struggles. For one, school didn’t come easy for me and so where some individuals maybe didn’t need to study a lot. I would study and the retention of the information didn’t come easy for me.  I was always re-establishing how I learn or rediscovering how I learn based on the contents of that class. Some of it came easy for me, like philosophy, so that easy for me to retain. 

I love small groups they allow me to see knowledge about the other individuals and how they process the information and even prepared for test in assignments. I began to really learn from other people how they learned and I would associate or I would adopt some of those strategies.  

Q: What got you into politics? 

A: So you use the word “politics” and I continue to use the words “service call.” In the political realm I see service to our community and so I have served our community through caring for the most intimate parts of people to keep them safe and in their home. Now I, through city government,  have the opportunity to care for people and serve in a very impactful way but also one that I take great pride in being very thoughtful and intentional in the processes. 

 Q: What advice do you have for students?

A: There are so many that run through my head and I’m trying to figure out what is the greatest. I honestly think that the one piece of advice that I know now that I didn’t quite know back then was ‘Do what you love to do  because that will make you happy and money will follow.’ Happiness is key, if you’re a paycheck man okay, but will it make the core of you happy? So I think that’s the number one thing is do what I love and money will follow.

Image courtesy of Juana Jones | Kirkwood Communiqué

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