I'm Graduating Late And It Sucks, But It'll Be OK

I'm Graduating Late And It Sucks, But It'll Be OK

Hearing exclamations about "it's the last year!" can sting when it's not true.

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Coming into college, I was undecided. But I still figured that I'd find my major soon enough and be ready to graduate in the usual four years.

But college threw me a curveball. My initial declared major turned out to be the wrong one for me, and I ended up switching majors in the first semester of junior year.

Needless to say, this put a crimp in those "graduating in four years" plan.

When I decided to switch, I took a look at the classes I'd need to fill my new major...and panicked. Despite my major being my former minor, I still had many classes to complete--and definitely wouldn't be done by my original graduation date.

College up to that point had seriously sucked for me. I wasn't having a good college experience and had spent most of the first two years unhappy and alone, struggling to make friends in college. I was struggling with my mental health and just wanted to be out of college. To be past this point in my life and living in the real world. I most definitely did not want to stay in school for any longer than I had to.

With my new major, the classes have to be taken in a specific order. Because of that, and assuming everything works out, I'll be doing an extra semester come fall 2019 as a super senior and hopefully graduating that December.

The fact that it's only an extra semester doesn't make things any easier. Because the second I tell anyone I'm a senior in college, the immediate reactions are either, "Oh wow it's your last year!" and/or "That's awesome, so you're almost done!" I've hit the point where I don't even bother to explain that it's not, in fact, my last year and I am not almost done.

Frankly, hearing those phrases and any variation thereof sucks hard. They feel like a reminder that I failed at my first major, that I didn't have the skills I needed to go through with it. Hearing those words reminds me that I'll be seeing pictures on social media from my old high school classmates and college friends graduating when they're supposed to be, and I'll be getting ready for one more semester.

They feel like just another reason I'm different from everyone else, in a way that I can never make up for.

I'm still getting used to the fact that I'll be graduating late. I know I'm not the only one, and I know quite a few people who either graduated late or will be graduating late. This is a small comfort.

At the end of the day, I know it's not the end of the world that I won't be graduating come spring. Because now I'm in a major that is an infinitely better fit for me and my skills, and I'm learning things that I am actually good at and gaining valuable skills that I'll be able to use once I officially enter the "adult world" job market.

Not graduating on time does suck. Being in school for longer than you once planned isn't always fun. But in the end, it'll be worth it.

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

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To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.

Sincerely,

The nursing student with just one year left.

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Sometimes Life Brings You Down, But You Have To Get Back Up

"Knock me down nine times, but I get up ten." - Cardi B

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When I was younger, becoming an adult was my only dream. I could not wait to be an independent woman who lived life on her own terms and rules. However, having lived as an adult for almost three years, I have come to realize that adulthood is not what it is made out to be. I have gotten to the part where life is finally hitting me hard in the face — I now have to pay my own bills, do my own tax returns and the worst of all, apply for jobs and get rejection letters.

I had always thought life would be as easy as what I saw on TV shows.

If I worked hard enough, when I graduated, everything I wanted would come to me as easily as the snap of a finger. But now I'm learning that that isn't true. I'm learning that sometimes even if you work harder than you've ever worked, things will not happen. And that's fine because it just means that it isn't your time yet. Sometimes when I see my friends get accepted for the same job I applied for and got rejected, I find myself asking: "What exactly am I doing wrong?" But now I'm realizing that is just life. Sometimes things do not happen when you really want it to, but that does not mean that it will not happen, it just means its not yet your time.

When I fall into these moments of despair and anger, I keep reminding myself that things will most definitely work out and I channel those sad feelings into something positive. I try to look for what I did wrong — if I actually did something wrong — or I try to learn from others to improve myself. Sometimes life fails us when we need it the most, but that's how it is. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to keep pushing so you can reach it.

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