Crisis of faith

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    Well, it's been about four or five weeks since school started, and I've been having a bit of a hard time coping thusfar. We got our first AP2 test back yesterday, which was over blood, the cardiovascular system, and the lymphatic system. I felt so confident. I finished the test, I went back over my answers, and I felt great about it. I made a 60. Lowest score in the class.

    I studied as best I could. But I also work full time in a LTC, where they told me to begin with I could study as much as I wanted to after the residents went to bed, so long as I caught my call lights. Then they put me on a hall where three women in particular stay on their call lights from the time we put them to bed until we make final round. They swore to me they would assign me to the rehab hall, where most of the pts are self sufficient, only two of which are incontinent, and I wouldn't have to be on my feet the whole 8 hours. But, no, they put me on the more populated long term hall.

    By the time I get off of work, I'm exhausted, having been up since 6 in the morning. I do my best to study when I get home, but it's all I can do to keep my eyes open. I'm no spring chicken, I get tired. I can't pull all nighters like most of my fellow students.

    So I came to the realization that if I can't get a decent grade in AP, I'm going to have a helluva time in Chem and Micro, neither of which I have studied before. I didn't take biology OR chemistry in high school, which was years ago anyway. I did take AP, and in AP1, I had a solid B (one point shy of an A). Now I'm starting out this semester with a D. I don't want to drop and lose my funding, but I'm scared I'm not going to be able to recover from this first test.

    I've considered cutting my hours back at work, but I can't really afford to do that. I have already talked to my other teacher whose class I'm having a problem with and he was real helpful. "If you don't get poetry, there's no sense in staying in Comp 2. You might as well drop." Gee, thanks. I'm still going to have to take it again later. What do I do then? Fake my way through it? Poetry makes NO sense to me. Yes, I read the poems assigned, but I have no idea what they are about. It's like I'm reading Russian. And, before anyone asks, the only learning disability I have is ADD. I'm not dyslexic.


    So I have narrowed down the possibilities. I can tough it out for this semester then not return (which would suck, because I atleast need a degree in SOMETHING), or I can switch my major. I had originally planned on going to school for my Bachelors in Agricultural Education, and now I'm considering this course instead of what I'm doing. I can finish this semester, hope for a C on my nursing pre-reqs, and change majors when I go to register for classes for Spring. Most everyone would understand. I can maintain my job as a CNA through school, as it's the first job I've ever had that I find atleast tolerable. But then I could graduate with my degree and be an Agri teacher at (hopefully) a local school. I already know I can teach just about every shop course, only needing a slight refresher in Forestry and small engine repair. Welding, general shop, animal sciences are no brainers for me. I know this stuff like the back of my hand. Maybe I was fooling myself thinking I could be a nurse. Maybe -- just maybe -- it's more than I expected it to be. Or maybe I'm just overwhelmed with work and school.

    So, my question is this. Is nursing, a career that I have kicked around in my head for the past ten years, really worth the stress and sacrifices I'm about to have to make to make it happen? Or would I be better off going down my original career path, becoming an Agri teacher, and touch the lives of people in a different way?
  2. 13 Comments so far...

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    First, I don’t know whether nursing will be worth the stressand sacrifices. It seems likely, sincethe CNA job is the first one you have really liked. I agree you will touch the lives of peopleeither way.

    Second, I do think you are “overwhelmed with work and school”right now. I don’t know how far thisreality is from what you expected but I think you can be a nurse if that iswhat you decide to do – but that it will take some changes from what you aredoing.

    Third, I think youhave more options than the ones you mentioned…. Both as far as these twoclasses in particular go and as far as your long term plans go.

    About the poetry… comp II is usually about research papers, notpoetry. If the course outline and/orobjectives talk about research and the poetry is just a quirk of this professor– then you might be able to muddle through the poetry part and pass on thestrength of the research part. I wouldprobably drop the class though, after checking out the options below, based onwhat the prof said. If you do try tomuddle through it, check out what writing resources your school offers. I go to two colleges right now, one has awalk-in resource room staffed with trained tutors and the other offers feedback(you email your ideas or rough draft in and they critique it for you) and sometutoring appointments. Your's might havesomething. You can also try teachingyourself with online resources. And/orcamping out in the prof’s office hoursasking him to help you “get poetry”. You might check the Comp II course outline and/or courseobjectives at your school. It willprobably not be worth the time/money/hassle to challenge the issue even if itdoesn’t specify a poetry component but it will tell you whether you can takethe class without poetry. If it doesspecify poetry or you can’t find a section taught by a different prof, checknearby schools and the page on the school’s website about what courses transferas comp II. Look in ratemyprofessor.comand at syllabi and at the books required for the various sections to tellwhether a particular prof incorporates a lot of poetry.

    About the A&P… it sounds like you know your studysituation is not very good. That isprobably most of the issue because you did fine in your last A&P class. Ithink you will need to find some way to fix that but there are more choicesthan cutting back on work hours or dropping the class. Most obvious to me is to take care ofyourself first – get your full amount of sleep even if it means less hoursstudying (and eat right and exercise). You will be further ahead in the long run. At least, I know I can keep my eyelids openfor much longer than I can keep my brain functioning.


    Related to that is to designate your most productive time ofthe day as study time. Sleep when youget off work (or do laundry or whatever if there isn’t time before your class)and study when you first wake up (or just before going to work if you are moreof a night owl type).
    Also check out the myriad of post on here, your school’sacademic resource department and online info about how to study mosteffectively and/or the psychology of learning. In a nutshell – start early; do a little at a time often; review;incorporate vision, audio, and kinetic; set up study cues like a set place tostudy or a certain kind of background noise.
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    Continuing...

    Realize you are basically working (almost) two full timejobs. There isn’t going to be time formuch besides school, work, and sleeping. But it is for just a limited time – you will get your life backeventually.

    Always look at your tests and try to tell what kinds ofthings you missed. Especially the firsttest… sometimes not doing too well is just a disconnect between how the profworded the questions and what you think he was asking for. It doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t learnthe material very well.

    LONG TERM PLANS… you could do the Agri teacher for just acouple of years while you prepared yourself for going to school for nursing - eitherby studying on your own or by working as a CNA too to pile up money enough togo to school without having to work as many hours.

    In your shoes, I would take time off from studying to sleepas much as I could for a few days. Then,evaluate whether I thought I rearrange my life enough to study considerably moreeffectively – either by dropping some outside interests or just restructuring.

    My first choice would be to keep both classes if I thoughtthe changes would give me a decent chance to do well in both. My second choice would be to do well in theA&P, keeping the comp only if it didn’t pull down the A&P and I thoughtI could get at least a C in it and dropping it otherwise. My third choice would be to drop both classesby the last day to drop without a W on my record and do some ground work to stackthe deck in my favor when I went back (doing stuff like working the hours nowspent on school to pile up enough cash to not have to work as much, learning alot of the material on my own before taking the class, handpicking the sectionI took, giving notice to take a leave of absence from whatever non-school andnon-work obligations I had).
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    I've been thinking about it all day since I posted. And since yesterday, nonstop, to the point that I didn't even sleep last night. I have looked everything up and know, pretty much, what I need to do in order to change my major. I am going to try to see a couselor tomorrow when I get to school. For starters, I'm dropping Comp 2 for the semester. There is another teacher, who it is my understanding doesn't rely so much on poetry. It doesn't help that my current Comp 2 teacher threw away my first two "in-depth reading" essays because I "didn't use proper MLA format." Okay, I'm sorry, but it's been 12 years since I took Comp 1. I kinda forgot what "proper MLA format" is. So I will be taking that class over next semester, regardless of what I decide to do.

    I am convinced that I am staying in school, whether I pursue nursing or Ag Ed. Ag Ed will be more time consuming, will pay less, but I feel it might, in the end, be a better fit for me. Yes, I would LOVE to be a nurse, to help people in their time of need, and I will toot my own horn and say that I would probably be one helluva nurse. I care, deeply, about others, often putting my own needs/wants aside to take care of those around me. I am deeply interested in the human body and it's functions. I understand how most of what makes us humans happens. But at the same time, I am very hands-on. I like working with metal, wood, etc. I can weld like nobody's business. I can look at something and make an exact copy of it. I have single-handedly framed a house, I have made numerous bird-houses (a staple in the general shop classroom), and I'm overall very handy. I have a great understanding of things such as electricity, metalurgy, gardening, farming, farm animals, etc.

    I'm just at a point, right this minute, that I am torn between the two. My high school Agri teacher thought I would be the perfect candidate for an Ag Ed degree. His wife, a nurse supervisor, thinks I would be the perfect candidate for my BSN. One of the local Ag teachers has even told me that if I get that Ag Ed degree, he will recommend me to be his replacement.

    I don't know that I want to stay where I'm at. Too many bad memories. I have an ex-wife that I can't go 24 hours without bumping into. I would like to get out of this town. I can with either degree. The question becomes quality of life. Teachers don't make spectacular money unless they're a football coach (around here). But, at the same time, MOST teachers get off for a couple of months during the summer. I know that being an Agri teacher, if the school district I go to work for has a working farm, I will have to keep that up during the summer, but honestly I like doing things like that. I like bush-hogging fields, feeding cattle, looking after pigs and sheep. I like building barns and making additions to them. I like being out in the woods measuring trees.

    The only thing slowing me down is that if I decide to go the Ag Ed route, I will likely max out my financial aid ability (that holy 150% rule). But maybe not. I have an associates degree in Indurstrial Maintenance, and there is a possibility that some of my classes could translate. I will speak to the counselor about this. I'm not making a decision tonight, or tomorrow for that matter, so I have a little time.
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    You can always appeal after the 150% mark. Its not guaranteed but I appealed and they gave me an extra year of FA.
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    Have you though of welding as a career? or a short term career while you set yourself up for nursing?

    My kids are in an engineering magnet school which mostly heads them toward engineering careers but also has quite a lot of welding/shop connections.

    I hate to see you give up what makes you happy just (or mostly) because of that bad prof.... MLA? is easy to fix - go to citationmachine.com. Several of my profs tell us to go there. Yours should have too.

    FYI - do you know about ratemyprofessor.com? That has been a lifesaver for me as I do much, much better with compatible profs.
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    It seems you have things figured out pretty well, so my only two pieces of advice are related to Comp II and making decisions.

    Comp II -- Mine was pretty much all poetry. Had a so-so teacher, but because I like to read and like poetry I did alright. The key with that class is to take time to read. Reading through once isn't going to get you anywhere because poetry is about looking beyond the written words and experiencing the message. Yeah, not for everyone, but a good teacher will help you through it.

    Making decisions -- I, much like you, am one to ponder a particular problem for hours on end, toss and turn all night thinking about it, and then rush off an email or call to change whatever it is that I'm pondering. Don't be too hasty. However, now is probably the time to drop whatever you need to drop (my school has the whole drop before this date and receive a "W" and not an "F" on your transcript that's coming up soon). So consider this: what is it that you really want to do and what do you need to do to get there? Is it wiser to hold off on school until you save enough money to be able to work fewer hours during the semester? Is it wiser to go the ag ed route, or is it just a fallback because you're too worried about this nursing thing? I have no idea because I'm not you. Yeah, I would talk to a counselor, but be a bit wary because my experience with counselors has been more "sure, that's great" and then a semester in you find out the classes they said would work don't work and the classes they said wouldn't translate over did. But maybe I'm just bitter...
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    Saysfaa- I have done welding for the past 10 years professionally. That's one reason I got so good at it. When I was taking welding classes for my AAS, the teacher basically let me teach the class because I had far more experience than he did. I also had a hand in grading. I will admit, some people didn't pass basic welding because of me. Not because I have ridiculously high standards (it was the first time most of them had been anywhere near molten metal), but because they made no progress.


    wordsofmymouth- I am still going over the possibilities on this. I know, for a fact, that I am going to stick it out as best I can this semester. The only class I'm dropping is Comp 2. There are two other professors that teach Comp 2, so I am going to talk to them next week (I've been out of school this week for a different reason) and see which one will either rely less on poetry or will at least help me to understand what is I'm reading. I wish the teacher I took Comp 1 under was still teaching in this area.

    I am fairly convinced that I will be changing my major for next semester. I know it seems like a knee-jerk reaction to receiving a bad grade, but in all honesty, I haven't been as excited about nursing as I should be. I had also considered RT, and was considerably more excited about that, but the fact is that RRT jobs are hard to find in this state. There is an RRT at the hospital here making less than a CRTT.

    I am not doing this lightly. I know that if I could make it through nursing school, I would love being a nurse. I know that I would make a good nurse. But something deep inside me has always wanted to be a teacher. It may be the feelings of yearning I had in high school for a teacher that would care about me, met only by my agri teachers. And I think I can handle teaching agri better than any other subject. English, while I am good with words, does not appeal to me that much. Yes, I like editting essays, but the reading would bore me to death. History is lost on me. Science would be fine, except I would be stuck with students that aren't interested. Math is just beyond my comfort.

    I know that as an agri teacher I will get kids that aren't interested in doing the projects that I will assign. That's fine. They can fail and I will be able to explain why. "Well, Mrs. Smith, little Johnny thought it would be more fun to sit around and flirt with Susie than do the assigned project, therefore he received a substandard grade." I don't believe that every student in a general shop class should be passed because the class "doesn't mean anything." Perhaps, as I further my career, my view points will change, but at least at first, I won't be everyone's buddy the agri teacher.

    So I think it's an education in education for me. There will be less competition, less stress, and better nights of sleep. Yes, I still have to take a few classes I wish I didn't (Chem, Lit, etc), but all-in-all, I think the outcome afterwards will be a happier rivershark2005.
    Last edit by rivershark2005 on Oct 11, '12 : Reason: Missed a word...
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    I agree that knowing you would love something and be very good at it doesn't mean you woudn't be happy doing something else. Best of luck to you!
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    I made up my mind today that next semester I will start classes for Agricultural Education. I have wanted to do it for so long; 16 years now. I know I will miss out on saving lives, the adrenalin rush that comes with a code, and things like that. But I will make a difference. Hopefully during my career there will come a time that I touch one kid just enough to change his or her life. Maybe not, but I can stay hopeful.

    So, it is with a heavy heart yet a sigh of relief that I bid you pre-nursing student adieu. Good luck with nursing school and I wish you the best.


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