Yes, School Is My Top Priority And No, I Do Not Regret Saying That

Yes, School Is My Top Priority And No, I Do Not Regret Saying That

Seriously, my education will always rank higher than any other factor in my life.

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I am halfway through the third year of my undergraduate career. It wasn't until this academic year that I realized just how much I value my higher education. Despite all of the additional stress and workload, it has recently resonated with me the magnitude to which I truly appreciate attending college.

I had this realization as I became an upperclassman undergraduate student. Now I am fully immersed in my chosen fields of study after passing all of the general education requirements and introductory courses, and I absolutely love it. While I do admit there are definitely days where things are more challenging and I probably question my intentions a hundred times, at the end of the day, I would never give up the experience of furthering my education.

Through the time I have put forth toward my undergraduate degree thus far, I have been exposed to numerous ideologies, challenged to think critically, developed a sense of value preferences, enhanced my public speaking and writing skills, defended my stance on issues, remained open to new perspectives, perfected my time management skills, been rewarded for hard work, motivated to persevere, and inspired by some exceptional faculty. Every second is a learning experience; every second has been worth it.

Life is all about balance and learning how to juggle multiple factors that will hopefully result in a well-rounded, quality means of living. However, there are going to be instances where you have to prioritize these factors in your life in order to achieve whatever it is that you are aiming to do. This means making sacrifices because it is impossible to do everything all of the time.

Personally, I am proud to say that my education is my top priority at this point in my life. School comes first over relationships of any kind, social events, hobbies, health, work, physical appearance, or any type of distraction. Of course, these things all are important to value and intertwined, and I do value them; however, just not to the extent to which I value my journey through higher education.

I did not realize it until this year after it really stands out to me whenever somebody makes a decision that puts their schoolwork on the backburner. While this is OK to do sometimes, it is just mind-boggling for me to fathom why some people do this so frequently. Shouldn't you want to put your education first, at least most of the time, because, without it, the potential for opportunity would be gone?

At the end of the day, whatever gives you purpose and makes you feel as if you are living a fulfilled life in which you are satisfied, then that is all that truly matters. The determinants are individualized for each person. However, after recently resonating with the idea that, at this point in time, my top priority is excelling in my educational experience, I want other people who have priorities similar to mine to embrace their preference. Don't ever question whether school should be your top priority, because, if it is, then there must be a reason why you feel this way. Don't ever compare yourself to what other people are choosing to do with their time because if it's not affecting you, then you should not care too much about it.

Finally, don't ever feel bad about saying no to other activities because you want to make time to sufficiently complete your homework assignment and study; you will reap the benefits of this sacrifice later as you are successful in school and land your dream job.

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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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Yes, I Know The Drawbacks Of My Major

Contrary to popular belief, I think the pros of being a teacher outweigh the cons.

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When someone says that they are studying to become a teacher, they will get one of two responses. The first is most commonly just a blunt question asking why. The second is a comment on how little money they will be making. I will start out by simply saying yes, this profession on paper is not appealing nor is it rewarding to most people. It is a job where you teach students that are not always pleased to be in your classroom. This job does make little money, you do make significantly less than in my opinion, you deserve. I could sit here, and list out every nitty gritty drawback being a teacher has but I feel as though it would be better to list out the reasons why being a teacher is worth it.

I am going to let everyone in on a little secret; every education major knows exactly what they are going to make. I did not choose education to be a millionaire or make six figures. I did not select it for material benefits. I chose to become a teacher because I felt it was what I was meant to do. Teaching to me is more than all the things society says is bad about the profession. I want to be a teacher because I want to impact students life as my teachers did for me. My teachers specifically in high school were some of the most helpful and kindest people I had ever met. I had a math teacher who was so patient with me and genuinely wanted to see me succeed in his class. He was so willing to help me work through the subject and bless his soul I was not easy to teach math to. However, he worked with me until I understood. That was the first math class I earned a B in, in high school. I had a drama teacher who gave me an activity that I was genuinely passionate about, and a sense of belonging in the school. An English professor in high school that caused me to fall in love with my subject even more. The teacher that made me want to be a teacher was my junior year English teacher. She impacted my life in ways that meant more than she would ever know. She was not just my teacher who taught enthusiastically about a subject I adored; she was my mentor, confidant, sounding board, and someone I looked up to. I want to help other students the same way she helped and impacted me. Teachers can make or break a students experience in school. They can be the light that helps them, but without helpful teachers, students can really not have a good experience.

This is why I want to be a teacher because of the possibility of even impacting/changing one student's life outweighs every con. I want to change students lives for the better. I want to be their support system and help them succeed. No amount of money could compare to the feeling of doing something you love and helping people.

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