I Survived My First Semester Of College, Which Taught Me College Isn't Actually About Partying

I Survived My First Semester Of College, Which Taught Me College Isn't Actually About Partying

It's about meeting lifelong friends.

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Going into my first semester of college, I was terrified. I had never lived so far away from home before. I wasn't used to being on my own, and I none of my friends from high school were going to the university as me. I was so nervous that I would never make any friends, or that my classes would be too hard, or that going to college would change me. But I did make friends. And my professors were more than happy to help me if and when I struggled. And while college has changed me, I fully believe that it has changed me for the better.

This semester taught me that I can't always be the best at everything, and that's okay. When I was in high school, I had an almost obsession with being the smartest, the most involved. I wanted to be someone people would remember after graduation, and I believe that I am. But I can see now that having everyone know you doesn't really matter. Having everyone remember you doesn't really matter. What matters is that you make time for the people who really care about you, and who you really care about. Because in the end, people aren't going to remember that you were involved in every club or good at every subject, they're going to remember how you treated them.

This semester taught me that God will never ever leave me alone. I prayed and prayed for God to send me someone at college that would accept me for me. I was so terrified coming into college that I wouldn't make any new friends, and that my friends at home would forget about me. Neither of those things turned out to be true. My prayers were answered. I've met so many amazing, strong, Godly young women this semester, and I am so incredibly thankful for each and every one of them. I know that no matter what, I can count on them. They love the woman I am, and they love the woman I am becoming.

Most importantly, this semester taught me that when people say college changes you, they aren't wrong, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. College does change you. It teaches you about yourself. It tests your morals, your willpower, your patience. It causes you to question things you thought you were absolutely sure of. But it doesn't have to turn you into someone that you don't want to be. It doesn't have to break you. It didn't break me; it made me stronger. And for that, I am so thankful.

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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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12 Things Only People Under 30 Fully Understand

Only young millennials and Gen Z will know

Jenn
Jenn
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Being a young adult in 2019 is full of a lot of random stuff that our parents and grandparents didn't have. We have more opportunities, different lifestyles, and just really weird stuff we didn't normal.

1. Our obsession with avocados

A super food with a huge place in our hearts.

2. College debt

An actual representation of me giving colleges my money, with no questions asked.

3. Buying jeans with wholes in them.

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4. Memes

The hero we needed, but don't deserve

5. Gifs

A sort of sibling to the meme, but powerful in its own right.

6. Spending five dollars on coffee

Not a want, but a need

7. YouTube/Instagram influencers

They make the world go round.

8. Mason jars as cups, decorations basically anything that isn’t for their intended purpose.

So versatile

9. Our love of succulents

Why have kids when you could have ten cute succulents that don't talk back.

10. Renting instead of buying

Besides have like no actual financial stability, we prefer to live less conventional lives than our predecessors.

11. Our imminent downfall as a society

We never grew up in a time of prosperity, and also know the earth may be dying unless we make a significant change to how we treat it. I guess that’s what happens after we treat it like shit.

12. Being non-binary or gender fluid

A new concept where people don't have to conform to gender norms or even acknowledge them.

Jenn
Jenn

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