Remember that time I spent 120 days in jail for a felony conviction? Good times. I'd rather not disclose why I ended up there, but I deserved it. My wife & I operated a successful business at the time. We decided to sell it when we had our first child (Leonidas, 6 now). Working 12 hours a day 7 days a week wasn't going to cut it for me any more if I wanted to be around. The call to nursing was too strong to deny, so I started investigating the process.
Try as I might, I couldn't get the State to assure me that I would be eligible for licensure if I graduated nursing school. I figured this would be a good place to start before I even thought about applying to programs. I retained that communication just in case some of the verbiage was ambiguous enough to imply that I would be okay (it kinda wasn't, though), and I began taking my pre-reqs. I do recall having to write an essay about my experience as a criminal when it came time to apply to nursing school. I forget what I wrote, but it was heartfelt I would imagine. I could only assume that decisions like this are made on an individual basis taking into account a variety of factors. All I know is that I really wanted to become a nurse, so I initiated the process and before I knew it I was in nursing school.
Nursing school was not fun or easy. I was naive - I thought it would be. I enjoyed clinical, the camaraderie (commiseration), banging out the accelerated program in 15 months, and a single exceptional instructor (the rest were a bunch of "bad words", as my son would say); but it was pretty rough. But the real stress threatened to turn me inside out when it came time to apply for licensure. My memory is shot, but I think I had to submit another essay to the State. This would have ended me: working that hard, spending all that money, my family suffering along with me, all hopes and dreams for our future pinned to this one commitment, all of it - what if they didn't let me test?
They did, though. I love my job, it's been almost 3 years. I'm board-certified in my specialty, was elected chair of my unit council, am about to finish an RN-BSN program. The future is bright, professionally. My wife is pregnant again, professionally. Life is moving along. Those 4 months away may have been a setback in some regards, but they may have also provided me with the focus and determination to "do the right thing"; which, to me, means recognizing what is important, allowing yourself to dream, and doing what you can to consolidate those two things.