Starting A New Kind Of Semester

Starting A Brand New Kind Of Semester

The semester of fresh air.

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Looking back, I made one major mistake when I started school at Emory. I compared myself too much to my peers and subconsciously convinced myself that if I didn't keep up with them then that automatically made me less of a student than they were. If I didn't keep up or get the grades they were getting I was somehow unfit to be at a school like Emory with them. Each time I compared myself I somehow convinced myself that I was inferior in some way. That mindset started to stick, I am started feeling overwhelmed by the comparisons and trying to pursue my two majors.

I had convinced myself that I need to go straight from my undergrad to medical school without taking a year off, but I also wanted to finish undergrad in four years. All the built-up pressure I had on myself began to pile up until last semester it began to all fall to pieces. I had overloaded myself on classes for three semesters straight and I was unhappy most days, to say the least. The struggle that I found myself having every day was knowing in my heart what my end goal for myself was, but hating the current process I was going through to get there.

I knew I needed to figure out a regrouping plan. The first step I took was just pushing through to get to the end of the last semester. It wasn't pretty but I made it. Next step was I dropped half the classes I was originally going to take and added a few classes that really interested me like a psychology class in child development and biology and anthropology class about food and culture. Within the switching around I made sure to keep myself at the normal number of credit hours. The final step (that is still an ongoing process) was and is reminding myself constantly that I know the career path that I feel called to be in, and that it doesn't matter how long it takes me to get there, the important thing is that I get there.

I shadowed a pediatrician over the break and when I asked him about his overall school experience he told me "the nights are long, but the years are short". I did a lot of thinking after he said that and remember that has been a daily encouragement. Yes, right now shifting my schedule around and adding a year between degrees seems crazy and was not my plan at all when I came to college, when I am on the other side of this doing what I love and am called to do, this blip that seems to be throwing my world for a loop will just be remembered as a slight inconvenience or even a huge blessing. I need to be remembering that my plan is not necessarily the best plan when it comes to anything, but especially when it comes to my future.

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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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