Working for my family’s business was my first real job. It was flexible and an opportunity for me to get some work experience, develop my communication skills, and it was an opportunity for me to learn the basic foundations of working in the world of retail. New Visions forced me to adapt in ways that were unfamiliar to me. It forced me to throw myself into chaotic environments and allowed me to explore a field I thought I wanted to be part of.
After I graduated high school, college was next. Because I struggled in high school academically and socially, I had no interest in going away to experience “college life.” I was not into socializing with other students my age, and clubs and organizations, to me were a waste of time. I decided to live at home and commute to a local, two-year community college. I set the goal to become a registered nurse. The first year, I took all entry-level college classes geared towards application to nursing school. While going to school, I continued to work part-time for my family’s business and during my free time, I helped take care of my grandfather who was developing dementia. At the time, becoming a registered nurse was all I knew. I had no life experience in anything else. This was a goal that motivated me to keep going to school.
After getting through my first year of college, I entered my second year. The dates to apply for nursing school were approaching. Whenever I struck up a conversation with someone, I always told them about my pursuit to becoming a nurse. It made me feel good to know that they were happy for me. So, I kept crossing items off of the list: prerequisite courses? Done. Another internship? Done. ATI-TEAS test? Done. Submission of two applications to nursing programs? Done. Although I was getting closer and closer to reaching my goal, I never felt truly satisfied. “Why?”
Moving forward to spring 2015, my mother had sent me a text message stating that there was an envelope in the mail for me. I rushed home. I opened it to find out that I was accepted into nursing school. I was so proud. I told everyone at my family’s business and others who were close to me. My grandfather who had dementia and who was under full-time home health care had a big smile on his face when I told him. The smile on his face made me realize why I wanted to be a nurse.
August of 2015: nursing school was quickly approaching. I was excited to go purchase all of the required materials to be a nursing student, but, that was only a teeny piece of the package. The first couple of weeks went by fast. Classes were just introductions and clinical rotations were nothing but the lay of the land. After the first couple of weeks, the challenge became: rise by 5 A.M., be on the road by 6 A.M., meet your clinical group by 6:45 A.M., be at the hospital by 7AM, get to work, go back to school, and work on coursework. Unfortunately, this challenge turned into poor eating habits, unmanageable stomach distress, headaches, sleep deprivation and a disorganized mess, similar to what I went through in New Visions. I was realizing a pattern. . .
October 2015: I was losing control fast. I was unable to manage my responsibilities as a nursing student. I was not confident in my ability to safely and properly take care of another human being. My course grades were falling. My grandfather was declining. I was commuting day in and day out, and I was trying to hold unto my part-time job on the weekends. The day arrived: I had an emotional breakdown. I cried myself home to tell my family I was withdrawing from nursing school at the end of the week. My family advised that I find a way to adapt and to give it some time, but I am stubborn. I had to make a choice. Adapt or become defeated?
What happened next? Stay tuned.
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