Why I Missed Home In College

Why I Missed Home In College

I was glad to be home for winter break.
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When choosing colleges this time last year I had three guidelines for myself:

1. Get as far away from Myrtle Beach as possible, don't apply in-state at all.

2. Go to a Liberal Arts School, don't want to be mixed with people with "realistic career goals".

3. Be in a city, preferably a cold one.

Being eighteen with the promise of freedom in my grasp I went so far to chose a school a timezone away and more miles away from my mom then I imagined. Myrtle Beach never really felt like home for me, from the moment we arrived I had always felt like it was against me. I hate the beach for one, so why not move 10 minutes down the road from it. I also am odd and enjoying being cold.

Searching for warmth or adding layers to become warm always sounds better to me then wanting to shed my skin in the blazing heat. I had never felt like I had a solid group of friends until the end of my senior year and after struggling for two years prior to "fit in" I was positive I wouldn't miss it. But alas I did, I found many people and reasons to miss the place I had hated for so long.

Although Chicago is beautiful and I have never been happier there, most days, I miss seeing the stars. Walking through the busy streets counting building lights isn't as interesting as counting the stars in the night sky. Sunsets and sunrises aren't the same between large skyscrapers as they are over the vast beach.

You're not giving the same blends of colors and there's too much in the skyline to notice anyway. Although I enjoy the cold I have missed wearing shorts for two-thirds of the year, for the obvious reason of absolutely hating to wear pants. I am glad to have finally been able to experience another fall because watching palm trees shed isn't as exciting as the wonderful earth tones springing to life in the brisk October air.

Another reason I missed home is again in college you're the new kid, but everyone is. It helps quicken up the friendship process, but it by no means quickens the right people to come around. I missed those I left behind and choosing to be so far away was hard when I had only been in Ilinois to see Columbia and surely didn't know anyone in the state.

Luckily coming home has allowed me to see my friends because luckily they're mostly seniors now. Lastly, I missed working, serving in Myrtle was possibly the best job I had ever had. I love all my coworkers and I love the atmosphere the restaurant has established. Not having a job in college can be terrible for never having money to do anything with as well as, for me, feeling worthless by not having a place to work.

All in all, reasons I missed Myrtle Beach now will most likely change next year when my friends aren't there and I now have a job for when I do head back to college. I will always miss the vast open sky and the heat, within my limits, but I will be glad to be back home in chicago soon.

Cover Image Credit: @travel.gypsy.photography

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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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What I Wish I Knew About Life After High School Before I Had To Live It

Life after high school isn't always what you expected it to be.

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So you're about to graduate high school and you think you have it all figured out. You and your best friends are going to stay close throughout college and you're going to take those long road trips in college to see each other. Think again.

Life after high school isn't always what you want it to be. You think you'll miss high school, you'll always be close with your high school besties, and you'll have all this free time in college. That's just not entirely true. I personally do not miss high school. I don't really talk to anyone I went to high school with on a regular basis, and I'm totally OK with that. I have friends in college that I believe will be my lifelong friends whereas my friends in high school didn't make an effort to keep in contact with me after high school.

I haven't had all the free time I've dreamed of in college, because I'm busy with school and meetings. When I'm not doing homework, I'm making sure the rest of my life is in order and all my stuff for school is in line. I'm not the crazy party girl that people think I am because of where I go to school. I'd rather sit in bed and watch Netflix than go out with my friends. I'm not a 4.0 student, but I work so hard in my classes just to make sure that I'm passing. I study a week before tests and still don't always make A's. And that's OK. It's not what I expected during my college years, but it's what's happening, and most of my friends are the same way.

Anne Marie Bonadio

Just know that life in college isn't all easy, breezy, and beautiful like Covergirl. It's hard and you will struggle whether it be in school or with your friends. College isn't always complete freedom. You'll be tied down with school and life and you won't have the free time that you always imagined. You won't always be best friends with your high school friends. You won't be taking those road trips because you won't be able to afford them, and if you're like me, your parents won't let you.

College won't be exactly what you dreamed it'll be, but it'll be some of the best years of your life.

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