My Answer To If I am Ready to Graduate

Are You Ready To Graduate?

The question I always get asked as a senior in college that I now have an answer for

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In multiple articles, I have written and I have shared that I am a senior at the University of Cincinnati (UC). I have also shared that my situation is a little unique in that I am what is considered to be a "third-year senior," meaning that I am graduating from my undergrad in three years rather than four. Another element that makes my situation unique is that I am a double major and I am also receiving two certificates. I try not to talk about myself a lot in fear of coming across self-centered. However, whenever I am asked "what year are you?" or "what is your major?" and I share these details the typical response is a surprised "oh," usually followed by the "so you are pretty smart than" comment.

I want to clear up that I don't consider myself to be overly smart. At the same time, I pushed myself in high school by taking Honors, Advanced Placement (AP) and Dual Enrollment courses, thus, allowing me to enter college as a sophomore. I have continued to push myself in college by declaring two majors and two certificates to become the most well-rounded and marketable person I can be when I graduate and begin applying for jobs.

However, there is a third question I want to address that is always, at some point asked in the conversation. I was never sure how to answer until this weekend after talking with a friend. "Are you ready to graduate?" That is the burning question. And my answer: Yes. Also, my answer: No. As annoying as that may seem, yes and no is the answer that I have settled on, but also feel the need to explain.

Why yes. Well, being that I came into college as a sophomore I only had to take one general education class over the past four semesters. Therefore, I have spent almost all my time here at UC focusing on my majors, certificates and learning about what career path I would like to take. Through this journey I have taken classes that I have absolutely despised, some I have absolutely loved and would take again, and then others that fell in between. But when I take time to look back at the classes that I really loved, they are all classes that involved some type of application.

Whether it was a project, an application report, or several smaller projects throughout the semester, I was taking information that I had previously learned and finally applying it to a real-life situation. I was dipping my toe into the pool of what my future could possibly look like. Obviously, these classes are a more simplistic version and I would be naïve to think otherwise, but they have gotten me excited for what my future could hold and to simply put it, what I could be doing with my life.

Why no. Where I grew up you attended preschool all the way through high school with pretty much the same people. I came to have a great group of friends by the time I reached middle school, and it was in high school that by the time I graduated, the group of friends that I have feel more like extended family. I am lucky enough that several of my friends within my friend group also decided to come to UC. If they aren't at UC then they are most likely at OSU, however, I do have a few friends that are a little more up north or out of state.

Still, I am lucky enough that our break schedules align and we can hang out whenever we all come home. These friends I have laughed with, cried with, taken countless adventures with, traveled to different states, gone to concerts, amusement parks, celebrated holidays, the list goes on and on. But May 4, 2019, is a date within this academic year, and that is my graduation date. With no plans to attend graduate school I will be the only one of my friends that is "in the real world," the rest of my friends will still have another year, some even have two years, left of college to complete.

I am excited and feel prepared to enter "the real world" after what I have learned in the classes that I have loved. Nothing can take away the indescribable feeling that I get when I talk about dipping my toe in what I call my "future pool." In that sense, I am ready to graduate. But at the same time, I would be lying to myself if I don't acknowledge that I am still trying to accept the fact that I am graduating a year before my friends. No more daily hangouts in the summer, no more random adventures. We aren't all going to be graduating together and we aren't going to be experiencing "the real world" for the first time altogether. I will be on my own without my extended family there for me for the first time. That is why I am not completely ready to graduate.

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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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