I began my college career believing that I would one day be a prestigious doctor or world-renowned archaeologist or maybe even a famous forensic pathologist, and boy, was I way wrong. Although I did begin my collegiate career in the science field as a biomedical engineer, I quickly decided that I was definitely not meant to be an engineer nor would I ever be even remotely famous for doing so or for pursuing any other career for that matter. Anyway, after one semester of crazy engineering jargon and completely anti-social engineering students, I thought to myself, "I really need to do something with people because this lack of people, or just the lack of people who interact with one another, is ABSOLUTELY NOT for me!" (As a short side note, my first day of chemistry class I sat down beside some guy with a textbook in his hand, asked him how he was doing, and he quickly and ever so snidely answered, "Can't you see I am trying to study!" and that would be the last time I made that mistake). So, nursing school it was!
I began my nursing career as a BSN student in a small school in Georgia. I thought that not only would it be much easier than engineering school but it also would be a lot more fun and I could have a lot more free time to have some fun outside of school with people who actually spoke back to me! Boy, was I wrong yet again (seems to be a recurring theme in my life)! I ended up really struggling my first year of nursing school and falling way behind my classmates due to my lack of determination and commitment to the curriculum I was expected to retain and utilize. After my second semester of school, I had made many friends in the program, but again, my mindset was not in the right place; I ended up failing my family health class by 1.5 points. Not only was it the first class I had ever failed, but it was also the reason I had to move back home with my parents, the reason I lost my scholarship to pay for school, the reason I became a part-time student, and the reason I had to wait 6 more long, agonizing months to graduate AFTER all of my friends would be graduating. It was definitely a hard time for me, and after crying myself to sleep and awake every day for two weeks I quickly decided that this was what was meant to happen and that I would do my darnedest to make the best of it. I began to lift up my spirits with the thoughts that "everything happens for a reason" and little did I know at the time, but it would end up being just that and one of the best things to ever happen to me.
After this disaster of a previous semester, I ended up never seeing any of my friends from that program again because I was sent off to go to classes about an hour away from where I began nursing school. Although it was very hard at first, I quickly gained many new friends as well as many other benefits since I was now only a part-time nursing student with a HUGE chip on my shoulder. It was like they always say, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" (sorry for all of the cliche statements, but it's true!) and that's exactly what I did; I became the vice president of the SNA at my school, I gained two more scholarships for having such a high GPA (3.5+) for two consecutive years, I found one of my best friends, I was able to obtain a minor in sociology, and I was able to reestablish my faith, get my head back on straight, and relinquish my good academic standing. I also regained my self-esteem, confidence, motivation, and determination, which I know that I would have never gotten had I remained where I was initially and doing what I was doing an d making the choices that I was making. This slap in the face was truly a life-changing experience and in retrospect, I wouldn't have changed it a bit. I now know that I wouldn't have gotten the same life experiences and learning opportunities had my life gone as I had expected and as I had wanted. I would've been a true slacker, seriously unmotivated, completely undereducated and better yet, a very poor nurse.
Today, I still give thanks to these small blessings that I am given every single day. I graduated with a 3.29 GPA as a BSN this past December and have been working to get my dream job ever since. In fact, after applying 4 times since August (literally) to the position I really wanted at the hospital I really wanted to work in and getting told every time that I needed to reapply every so often to keep it updated and that they couldn't make a decision until more near my graduation date, I was finally offered the job as a cardiac nurse in my dream hospital this past Monday. I could not have been more excited and this is exactly where I wanted to end up, but there is still that little cloud looming over my head; I am scheduled to take the NCLEX tomorrow morning. And again with the cliches, "all good things must come to an end"... Ha!
I figured that writing my thoughts and experiences would not only help to alleviate some anxiety and tension before this very important and stressful exam but also help to remind me of what all I've been through to get to where I am today. I hope this story helps many of you out there who may be in the dumps or down on yourself or may just need a little laugh or way to get your mind off of things. I know that the best way for me to get through the most difficult times is to just reflect on how hard I have worked to get to where I am and have full faith that I am where I am for a reason and that again, all things truly happen for a reason. I was taught through nursing school that honest, trustworthy relationships are one of the most important things that anyone could have in life and the things that allow us to make it through the hard times, the good times, and any other times in between, especially in this profession. They are ever-present and all around us and are the means by which we all survive and thrive in this stressful and demanding field. They are the connections that brings us as nurses, nursing students, new graduates, nursing educators, and retirees together and the bonds that will forever keep us united no matter what paths we choose to take in life. We all have different experiences, but the fact that we are all related by this very strong bond and life-long relationship in this outstanding field is what keeps us sane, grounded, and above all, grateful for the truly wonderful profession we are all so fortunate to call our own. I love you all, I wish nothing but the best for each and every one of you, and remember, we are all nurses and that truly says it all.
"It is not how much you do but how much love you put in the doing."
"To accomplish great things, you must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe."
Orison Swett Marden:
"There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow."