Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Graduation Day

Pivotal moments along this journey...
Growing up I always wanted to be a nurse. As a young child I would read books on lamaze and diabetes. When I was homeschooled in 8th grade I'd go to the Syracuse University library with my dad, who was a student there, and I'd read their nursing textbooks. Medical science was always a favorite subject of mine, weather it was a book about the flu of 1918 or The Zone. Most of the nursing learning I did was self- motivated. It's a true testament to the unschooling theory that I learned so much in a casual way like I did. It was for the best anyway, because I didn't have time for the standard reading and studying as the mother of three, then four. I never did read the assignments and only owned the first semester text books. I couldn't afford the rest anyway.

There was a moment, four years ago, when I realized my kids needed me to have a back up plan... a degree or a job. I remember that exact moment in time. I was standing in the front doorway in West Townsend one cold night. I needed something I could rely on if my husband ever screwed up again. As much as I wanted to stay at home and raise them full time, I knew it was even more important for us to have security. So the next day I looked up medical positions, decided that the MCC RN program was the best bang for the buck, and then applied to UPS to load boxes and pay my tuition and signed up for Anatomy and Physiology class.

My lab partner in A+P was named Carol. We got along so well and helped each other dissect and experiment. She helped me study to pass the cardiac test. We both wanted to be pregnant. She beat me to it though- getting pregnant with her baby girl a year before me. I miss her.

I was slowly working on my co-requisites, unaware of the two year waiting list for the nursing program. One night while loading trailers at UPS a co-worker inspired me to start the application process. I got on it the next day and it was just in the nick of time. My name came up on the list just as I finished the last co-requisite. I was the very last one admitted to my class.

Our first lab tests were nerve-wracking. If you can't get the correct pulse, heart rate, or blood pressure within three trys you were out of the program- all of your lifelong dreams dashed, like that. I didn't get the pulse on the first attempt because I was so nervous I pressed so hard I obliterated it. Got it on the second attempt though.

Fundamentals class was a little boring/disappointing. Blogging about my frustrations got me in trouble with the Dean and the President. The rest of the semesters were more challenging though. I learned my lesson, to keep my opinions to myself though.

Summer of 2007 I applied for and got into the "China Experience". This was truly the highlight of my Middlesex career. Those two weeks in China were the most amazing of my life and the people I got to know were incredible. I came back to America with the souveneir I wanted most of all, a positive pregnancy test. (Timmy's baby, FTR. lol.)

Some of my clinical professors were truly inspirational: Forgacz, Cormio, Mizzoni, Spellman. Thank you. I will repay them someday by inspiring and teaching future nurses myself.

Two of my professors were borderline psychologically abusive. I am grateful to put them in my past. I did what I had to do to get that degree.

Clinicals were by far the most challenging part of the nursing program. They were stress filled days, starting before the crack of dawn; the night before spent researching your patient and studying their meds. Some nights I didn't get a wink of sleep beforehand. This is when I learned to drink coffee. This is when the nursing students bonded-going through this unusual torture together. It was a pleasure to get to know the nursing students in two different classes. I got to meet so many friends. One of my favorites from the full time program was Emma. It's funny to say that looking back because, at first, I saw her as my competition. In the part time program I got to know Laurie. It didn't surprise me when she won the coveted nursing award for clinical excellence. I cried on her shoulders many a clinical. She was like a mother hen to us.

Pregnancy brought its own challenges. I was so lucky to be able to arrange to transfer to the part time program. I threw up at several clinical sites. And this pregnancy also brought depression and psychosis. At the time I was doing my clinical in the psychiatric ward, I was suicidal. The only thing keeping me from checking in to a psychiatric ward, myself, was I didn't want to have to drop out of or redo the nursing program. My dedication to the goal though, gave me something to live for. I was able to focus on nursing when I was at class and clinical.

Today was my graduation. I did a cartwheel across the stage when I got my diploma. I am so happy it's over and so proud to join the nursing profession.

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  • At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't believe this day is finally here ... I am so proud of you! Watching you over the past years going thru this step by step even encouraged me to return to school. WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am in tears reading your story. Thank you for sharing. I will one day follow you and my dream of being a nurse.



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