Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Two Year Journey

     My fate will be decided in just 27 days. That is when I will walk, or possibly be dragged crying (probably that), into my classroom at MCC for the last time as a nursing student. I will sit down, breathe into my paper bag, and begin the second biggest test of my life. The biggest being the NCLEX-RN. My nursing final is looming on the horizon and now that it is so close I am terrified.

     When I first started this career path I never could have imagined what a roller coaster my life would become. It truthfully felt like it would never end and now that the end is here. Well. Stuff gets real. I am really going to graduate and I really am going to have the distinct privilege of writing the letters R.N. after my name. Those two little letters mean everything. I have given so much to succeed in this program. Tears, a little bit of blood, sweat, and a rather large portion of my sanity and even larger portion of my social life. Not that the kids didn't annihilate the social life anyways, but I digress. Not to mention the money, oh God the money.

     So much has changed in these two years. I remember walking out of boot camp with my nurse pack all eager to begin. We celebrated our first assessment check off with fervor and went out for drinks to celebrate passing our bed bath check offs. Oh those were the days. We had no idea what was about to hit us. Now we've said so long to those check offs, we've passed our pharmacology courses, we've renewed our prescriptions for anxiety, and we are all hanging on to our sanity by a thread. Yup.

     Nursing school does things to you. When I see first or even second semester students I think, "Oh look at them all happy, bright and eager to learn! They'll learn." You can always tell the first semester student from the fourth semester. First will have this excited look on their face, whites pressed, chomping at the bit to get on the clinical floor. Fourth will have a look something like a zombie, whites clean enough not to be sent home, and finding any excuse possible to stretch out that lunch during clinical.
     I say this in jest (no I don't) we aren't that bad but there is a certain charm of nursing school that wears off after time. I'm no expert but it probably has to do with the inhuman amounts of work we are assigned and the library's worth of information we are expected to know. Again, not an expert.

     They say it is all worth it though. The constant stress, the feelings of sheer terror during every waking moment, the crying into your pillow at night as you recite your lab values. As the days quickly pass I find myself feeling as if I am ending a chapter in my life and beginning a new one. It's a huge change for me. Going from full time student to full time nurse. I don't know what I'm going to do with all my free time. Who knows, maybe the laundry might actually make it to the dryer before the mildew starts in. I might even have time to enjoy my hobbies like crochet again, but let's not get crazy. One thing at a time.

     There are few things in life like nursing school. It's the most grueling time of your life but it's also where you are molded, forged and forcibly stuffed into the mold of an amazing nurse. You form bonds that last a lifetime. There is no stronger bond that sobbing over the last test with your classmate while simultaneously downing a bottle of wine.  Ineffective coping anybody?
      I also have to say there is no better test to see who really will be there for you when you need it most. Without my family's support there is no way on this Earth I could even think about making it in this program. My husband has been supportive, positive, and encouraging every step of the way. Even when I am having a mental breakdown in his arms he is there to tell me it will be OK. My parents and my in-laws have been angels. Seriously. They are gifts from God. They have been taking on my two little tazmanian devil's for ridiculously long hours without so much as a grumble. My friends (that haven't been alienated from my hermit lifestyle) have also been my much needed support. Especially one of my former classmates, my nursing school mom, who has always been there to tell me exactly what I need to hear to keep my chin up. So to those who have been on this insane journey with me, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and I promise when you're on the sharp end of my needle I'll make sure to be gentle. 

     It's been a hellish nightmare at times, but it's all going to be over soon. Then life will shift once again as I try to find my place as a "baby nurse" in the big world. So, goodbye nursing school, it's been fun.

This is Roxas at my Nursing Boot Camp. Can you believe that?
 The day of my 3rd Semester Finals

Lucy chewing on mommy's ID badge

 My day in surgery rotation!

After passing our 3rd semester finals!
Good ol' clinical whites!