Celebrate Every Little Win

Every Little Win #1

This week has been really intense for me. I have had two competency tests. luckily, I managed to fit in numerous practice sessions before my final assessment. Then I went for my exams and passed it. one of my instructors was curious about how the semester was going. My friend and I mentioned casually that we had passed our competency testing. And she looked at us and said, “you should say it with a smile. This semester is really hard and you need to celebrate every little win. It would help you build your confidence.” So inspired by her comments, I have decided to start celebrating every little win during nursing school.

Celebrate Every Little Win

This week, I am celebrating passing my competency testings. On Wednesday, I had to demonstrate that I could efficiently do a physical assessment on a person. It was done in a random fashion. I had to pick the system I was assessing from a hat and then demonstrate it immediately. Of course, I was filled with dread. I had my favorite and worst option. Luckily, I got my favorite option to exam the Head, Neck, Nose, and Mouth. I aced it! Getting that “You Passed” email at night from my instructor was the best feeling to get me set for my next test.

The next morning, I had to get in my scrubs to demonstrate my sterile technique and catheter insertion skills. This particular skill set I have been practicing for a few weeks. I was confident that I knew what I was doing so it made it easier to get into the exam room. As soon as I realized that I was going to be getting gloves in my hand size, I knew it was going to be okay. I made one tiny error that I corrected immediately during my demonstration. And I passed.

This week has probably been one of the least stressful weeks I have had recently. But I still felt so tired throughout the whole week. I feel like I slept more this week because I just felt exhausted all the time. But now that the weekend is here, I am looking forward to getting ready for next week. I have two written exams on consecutive days in the upcoming week. I will have to master a few concepts and learn how to think critically. This weekend, I have to carve out time for both work and studying. Hopefully, I’ll squeeze in some me-time in there as well.

Things I am doing to prepare for Fall Semester

Fall Semester is Coming!

a black woman in a light blue denim dress with dark blue denim jacket in front of the mystic river

Just as I am getting into the groove of summer, I am reminded by all the paperwork I have to sign that the fall semester is around the corner. It is my first clinical semester. Everything I have heard tells me that this one of the hardest semesters in nursing school. I have been told that the difficulty comes from having to adapt to a new learning style. I won’t lie and told you I haven’t had my moment of anxiety. I have had plenty of anxiety. Beyond the moments when I question my ability to survive the first semester, I am preparing myself for what is coming.

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Dreams don't materialize because you wish hard and worked hard.

A New School

Dreams don't materialize because you wish hard and worked hard.

I am writing this in between classes in school. I have just finished a psychology exam. My next class starts in about an hour. It seems like a good time to update this blog.

My nursing school journey so far has taken many dips and turns but I am glad I keep figuring it out. The past five weeks of classes at my new school has been amazing. I feel like my decision to drop out of the old nursing school and restart was definitely a solid one.

It may seem crazy and financially frivolous to be have dropped out. However, I am a big believer in finding a good fit. Honestly, when I was making the decisions, I felt like had no choice. It seemed at the time there was no way to go forward because I just couldn’t figure out how to afford the school I was attending. I felt ashamed, lost and frustrated. Most of all, I felt scared. What if this was the end of the road and I could not get into another nursing school?

Alas, after a couple of weeks of feeling depressed, I got myself together and started all over again. Somehow, I ended up in a better situation than I had imagined. I am happy now with the school I am attending. One thing that I have learned during this journey is that the path to success is not linear. Dreams don’t materialize because you wish hard and worked hard. Things take time. Disappointment happen. If it is possible to keep going, keep going. If you can’t keep going, rest and figure out a new plan.

Talking Numbers

Suddenly, I  feel like I have the headache of planning out my nursing school budget for the next few months. I am starting the four class nursing clinical sequence in the fall. Registration is in a few days and I have to figure out how to pay for the bill. In the past couple of years of schooling, I did not really have to worry about a budget because I chose to take classes slowly.

Taking classes slowly meant that my tuition was covered by the financial aid I received from the federal government student loan program. I pretty much qualified for 9500 each year of school. That was enough to pay for the classes. It was enough because I went to a cheap community college for my science prerequisites. Any leftover bill, I covered by working mostly fulltime and dipping into my savings.

Now that I am starting the first nursing class though, I am a bit nervous about money. The cost of living in the Boston area is high. I don’t think I am going to be able to work full time while taking nursing classes. Plus, I transferred to a new school and my tuition is now higher. The 9500 that I qualify for the year now only cover approximately half of my tuition. So, I am still on the line for books, health insurance which I have to get from the school and other costs of living.

I am choosing to invest in myself to build a career that is rewarding

I have known since I started this journey that this moment would arrive. I have been playing with the nursing school budget numbers in my head for a while. Still, finally sitting down and writing on paper, it is a huge number. I am trying very hard not to become anxious. Every time I look at the nursing school budget number and how much I might have to borrow, I remind myself that this is an investment. I am choosing to invest in myself so that I can build a career that is rewarding.

Sometimes when I ask myself why I chose to go into nursing, I feel ashamed to admit to even myself that I like the fact that it is a growing field with good earning potential. A lot of the nursing conversations we have focuses a lot on how it is a field of service. I personally like to talk about my journey to nursing as a calling.

However, as much as I feel like my transition to nursing is a calling, is it shameful to admit that my earning potential is also important to me? At the age of 31, I am not a naive young person for the most part. I understand that I will greater financial burden as I get older and build a family. I understand that I will have to save for retirement. I understand that I want to have a decent standard of living.

I understand the reality of my financial lifespan. Yet, I still feel ashamed to admit that money is important in this process, including how much money I have to borrow to pay for school. Calling my school’s financial aid office today, I felt nervous. Will she judge me if I ask her about how much money I can borrow?

There is a popular narrative about on tuition and other related expenses that focuses a lot on making sure you don’t borrow money. I get that there is a financial aid crisis and I am trying to be cautious. I don’t graduate with unbearable loan burden. I also don’t want to underestimate my needs so much that I spend the rest of the school year stressed out about money.

The perfect scenario eludes me in this situation. What I do understand is that my goal is to become a registered nurse. I am just not sure what the right price to pay is yet.

28 Days To TEAS V

OMG! Can I panic for a moment here? I just took my first TEAS V test prep and I am scared!!!! I guess I underestimated how knowledge I need to pass the TEAS. I had assumed that I needed to basic science knowledge. Maybe in 4 weeks after taking the test understanding how peptides function would be basic knowledge for me. I am scared shit-less.

I hate taking tests. I just hate all these standardized tests. I have avoided them all of my college career by the mercy of going to community college and going to grad school in England. Now I have to take the TEAS after being out of school for about 6 years at this point. The last biology class I took was about 10 years ago.

I feel old. I feel like I have so many sleepless nights coming trying to cram key concepts and sharpen my test taking skills. This is worth it, though. As scared as I am, I am sure that this is worth all of the worry. I am going to take a deep breath and calm myself. It is time to focus and get learning.

I can do this. I can and I will do this.

In The Beginning

I have known that I needed a career transition for more than a year. I think I outgrew my current job in retail a while back. As I am not rich, I figured I would keep my current job and find a new one. I have been applying to other jobs consistently but nothing seems to happen. I kept praying and hoping that something would happen. But nothing seems to happen. The longer I stay in my retail job, the more I realize that the joy is no longer there.

Despite being sad, I stayed in my job. I honestly need the money to pay my bills and survive. Then a couple of months back I was talking to my friend who drives for Uber and he mentioned in passing that I should go part-time with my regular job.  He was like, “And you can just go part-time with your regular job and drive Uber full-time.” This he said after the umpteenth conversation about being broke and needing a new job or a second job. I just know that I needed extra income. When he said that I should go part-time, I balked. Certainly, I couldn’t get off the career path and go part-time.

The truth is I do not have a career path if I am unhappy with my job. I think I realized I need to do something radically different. I started talking to my sister about the idea. Then we both decided that I should buy a car and drive Uber part-time for a while to build my savings then quit my job. Then I could become a full-time Uber driver. I thought about it. I was excited about it. But somewhere in the excitement, I realized this was just a temporary solution to a long-term problem. I needed something that would allow me to feel like I had a career path. I needed to feel some longevity in my plan. Uber, ubiquitous as it is at the moment, does not make a life-long plan. What if they lose market share? What if they decide to compete and cut prices? What if people decide that quick rides are out and something else is in? I did not want to be trapped in a cycle of looking for something hot to make a good income.

So I decided that I needed to bite the bullet and do a career transition. I had a few criteria for a new career. The most important being longevity. It has to be a career that would be around for a long time. I also wanted something that had space for me to grow. I did not  want to go into a clustered industry and have to throw my elbows around to find a job. I want to be in demand. I also needed a field that was woman and minority friendly. After much thought and consideration, I sent my sister a message it middle of the night: “Nursing or Programming?”

This is how I started my career transition from retail to nursing.