Let's Talk About The Cycle Of Life

'The Lion King' Might Have Taught Us The Circle Of Life, But Let's Talk About The Cycle Of Life

Wake up. Go to class. Do work. Go to sleep. Repeat.

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Last weekend I went to Maple View Farm in Chapel Hill and ate the most amazing ice cream to reward myself for getting through a tough week. While relaxing in a rocking chair overlooking the ongoing fields filled with cows, I saw something so simple yet so pure.

I saw a little girl getting dropped off from a school bus. I could see a huge smile on her face as she enthusiastically waved goodbye to the bus driver. After waiting for the bus to get out of sight, she sprinted down a small path towards her house, and I could see her small pink backpack bouncing along behind her.

I thought back to what my life was like in elementary school and when I did not have anything to stress over. I didn't have to stress about getting into college, finding an internship, or writing a 20-page paper. I had so much time to play tennis in my neighborhood, play Mario Kart with my dad, and have hobbies like playing the piano and reading for pleasure. Now that I'm in college I feel like I'm in a non-stop cycle of trying to get to the weekend. I see that a lot of my peers are also in the constant slump of just trying to get through the week.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say they do things because "it'll look good on their resume." When did we stop doing things that we were passionate about in exchange for stuff that is supposed to make us "look good." It breaks my heart to see people push themselves past their physical and emotional limits because they feel like they have to sacrifice things like sleep and hobbies to succeed. It's true that college applications and job searching has gotten significantly more competitive over the years because people seem to be doing 10x more extra-curricular activities than people were in the past, and also seem to be mirroring that with stellar grades.

It is almost like as students, we have turned into automatons who have lost our sense of identity. If someone were to ask you to summarize yourself in three words, what would you say? Would you have something to say about yourself that isn't on your resume?

I'm not saying that hobbies can't be extra-curricular activities, but I think that we all need to be a little bit more selfish sometimes. We need to be able to do things just because we want to. We need to go on walks, sing, dance, play soccer, do yoga, re-watch Disney movies, bake cookies, read, paint, meditate, and explore who we want to be in this huge world.

I thought I wished that I could be as young as the little girl I saw at Maple View, but then realized that there is nothing stopping me from being that happy. I'm in control of my own life, and it's time for me to start being more spontaneous and doing things just because I want to.

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.

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Seniors,

I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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