First of all, hello to you all. For the past 2-evenings I've been reading the posts here and have come across so much valuable information already. Thank God for this site. I might be visiting it often in the months to come.
A little about me... I just turned 40 a few months ago. I'm married and have a 14-yr-old daughter. I worked as a medical transcriptionist for 12-years up until June 2007 when I finally quit to start school full-time working towards an ADN. (I've always wanted to be in nursing but could never afford to go to school until now). I took 11 classes at our local community college which included all of the pre-req's and also some additional psych classes (which I loved). I was a little worried about how I'd do going back to school after so many years, but I did terrific and have a GPA of 3.75. In August 2008, I applied for the RN program and was told that I'd probably be accepted for the January 2010 class, but they couldn't guarantee it because it's a very competitive program and with my lower GPA, higher GPA's would be considered first. So.... after about $8,000.00 already paid to them for the classes I already took (and with no guarantee of even getting into the program), I decided to apply to our local CTC school for the LPN program. By September I had already taken the NET and was registered to start LPN school in January.
So I pay the $200.00 registration fee, $179.00 for uniforms, $500.00 for books, and take out a $10,000.00 student loan. I'm so excited and can't wait to start.
Along comes January... school starts the 5th. (Class is M-F 8-3). And OMG! I was so unprepared.
Day one - orientation - starts with dividing the students (75 total) into 2-classes. Then an all day lecture about the rules and regulations. It's an adult class, but since we are in a CTC with high-school students, we have to follow all the rules of the high-school students, seriously - bathroom passes and cell-phone useage. The instructors don't even look at us when they talk - they talk at us. They treat us like we're beneath them. The "head-honcho" director of the nursing program tells us that only 40% of this class will make it to the end of level I and that since so many will be gone, both classes will be able to merge into one by the time level II starts. WHY tell us that???? OMG. Is it that hard? You mean only 4 out of the 10 people around me are actually going to make it to the next level? They tell us that if we fail this level, that our student loans won't pay for it because we failed and we'll have to pay for it ourselves with another type of loan. WHAT??? They tell us that "they" decide if we pass or fail - NOT just the scantrons. They tell us that even if we do great on the scantrons, we might do bad in clinicals and they'll fail us for the whole level if we do. WHAT?? Told us that if we were sick, we'd automatically get 10 points deducted from our test/quiz. If we were late, we'd get locked out of the room and get points deducted. If we were caught with a cell phone on us or in our handbag during a test, we'd automatically get a 0 and be dismissed from class. I went home the first night in shock. I thought this was going to be a great experience - but the first day was just so negative, to say the least. I felt like I was in military school or prison.
The week goes on and my nerves were shot already. I just couldn't seem to relax and get my head together. Everyday people were already getting written up for things (with points taken off their final grade) - things like wrinkled uniforms (we sit in class all day with no clinicals until March so nobody sees us), too large post earrings, hair not short enough, etc. These rules weren't even ligitimate rules in the handbook either! That particular instructor made them up. ?? We have to wear custom ordered white pants and a white zippered shirt with a white apron - we sit all day and of course it's gonna get wrinkled. God. I felt like I was constantly on edge about having wrinkled pants! All this and then they're piling the work on and talking to us like we're idiots. We had a test on a chapter that we didn't even review in class. The powerpoint was broke, so we didn't even have a presentation. We had to do all of our homework every night and it was checked every morning. If it wasn't completed in full, we got a 0. (sometimes it's kinda hard to do 6 pages of homework every night when you have 3 tests the next day that don't even pertain to that homework). The first Friday, we had to memorize over 150 medical words and were tested on them. I did ok on that test though and also the A&P test - amazingly.
By the end of the week, I was sicker than could be. My nerves, and apparently a stomach virus, got the best of me. I made a doctors appt and my bp and pulse were both sky high. I had diarrhea so bad I wouldn't dare to cough - especially in my white pants OMG! I had my period and was flooding. I hadn't slept more than 4 hours a night for the past week and felt like I was losing my mind. They put me on bp meds and lexapro - which I'd never been on before in my 40-yrs.
The second week comes and I'm drained. We had 7-tests that week. Monday was the first nursing foundations test. I bombed it. Only 6 out of 33 people passed it with a 75% or above. The instructor reviewed it with us and made it sound like we didn't know how to take tests and that's why we failed it. The questions were so tricky and were about stuff that we didn't even review or that I never even heard of. She just kept saying she went over all this in class and we should've known the answers. Come on. If it was all stuff she went over, then more than 6 people would've passed it. Stupid. Tuesday and Wednesday were just as bad. I came home every night and studied and cried. I felt so bad and since we had 7-tests that week, I couldn't call in sick (even with a doctors excuse) because they'd deduct points from my grade. I felt sooooooo hopeless.
Thursday I had no option but to call in sick. I had diarrhea pouring out of me and my stomach was just churning and churning. I had 2-tests that day and an oral presentation and there was no way it was gonna happen. So, by me calling in sick, I automatically got 30-points taken off.
Friday I withdrew. I was still sick and would've missed 2-more tests that day, so I really had no choice because I would've failed anyway and would've had to repay $3500.00 for failing.
So, I re-enrolled for the evening class (longer and less crammed together). Maybe I'm totally crazy!? I don't know. It's the only way I could roll over the $1800.00 I owed them onto my student loan. I just feel so uncertain now. I have until May to decide. I never even thought for a second that it would be like this. I'm not a complainer and have been through some tough jobs and bosses in my life. I've always adapted and never had a problem. I didn't expect to be treated like a pathetic loser and talked to like I'm 5 years old. College was a piece of cake compared to this! The instructors were nice and didn't try to trick you. If you were sick (which I never was), you'd just take the test when you came back with no points deducted. I mean, I'm paying them! They're not paying me.
I just don't understand any of it. Maybe it's the school? Maybe all schools are like this? What rights do we as students have? Any? What if we do great on the tests but a nasty instructor says she didn't like the way you did your clinicals and fails you? What right do you have? There's a lot of money involved here - money that my family can't afford to waste because some instructor doesn't like the way you did something or because your uniform was wrinkled.
Sorry this is so long. I'm so confused and bewildered with everything.
Thanks kindly for listening as I rambled on. Geez.