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The purpose of this study was to identify the lived experience of nursing students who made the decision to pursue a nursing career. This study was significant because nursing education is advocating change in the educational process and the student body in nursing today is so diverse. One hundred and sixty (160) first and second year students enrolled in an Associate Degree Nursing Program responded in writing to the research question, "How has the decision to pursue a nursing degree affected you and your life?" The Phenomenological methodology of qualitative research was used to identify and present information collected in this study. Van Kamm's research process was followed in collecting and organizing the information from the students' lived experiences. The narrative descriptions were reviewed extensively and similar expressions were grouped together and labeled. Groups of expressions with close relationships were clustered together in themes. Eleven themes were identified from the groups of expressions of students lived experiences. These themes were: Impact on family life, Continuum of life change, Decisional conflict, Self care neglect, Economic constraints, Positive impact on self, Prevailing stress, Self imposed guilt, Hope to become, and The program of study. As the researcher dwelled with the narrative descriptions of the students lived experience, she became more aware of the other spectrum of nursing education, the nursing student. Reviewing the descriptions from the students' perspective provided a clearer understanding of what those individuals actually go through as students in a nursing program. Throughout the educational experience, positive and negative outcomes were addressed by the students. Although many adjustments had to be made, personal growth did occur. Several implications for nursing education were addressed. One important implication may be to develop a teaching model of empowerment.