Reflecting on the years past

repost from facebook notes June 23, 2011

There is a story that I like to tell….my first day in grad school.

So there I was, sitting in my “Theories in Nursing” class, the instructor going trough the syllabus.  I must have tuned out because the next thing I heard was the deadline for our first paper for the term, a 5-page concept paper.  I looked at the sea of eager students and I sensed that they were all in the same page with the instructor.  I, on the other hand, was on the verge of a panic attack.  “Concept paper?  WTH?!”

You see, this was ten years after I did anything remotely academic in nature.  After graduation, passing my RN boards and a short stint in the hospital, I refused to use my brain any longer.  For 7 years, my work was routine, from day-to-day, I delivered a spiel.  And if my boss thought I did any thinking and planning at all on how to achieve my quota, he was mistaken.  I was lazily going through life, mentally, that is.  My ultimate goal was to get a job that required no thinking at all.  I stopped writing altogether, not an essay, nor a short story, nor a poem.  Not even one line of a quote. I wasn’t even reading anything.

When the international doors opened anew for nurses, and the people in my circle started leaving one by one, I got apprehensive.  I didn’t want to go back to nursing.  By God, how could I?  I could still do vital signs, but most of my nursing knowledge were either forgotten or had gone obsolete.  But I also could not stay where I was, knowing that there’s something better out there.  It was a struggle.  I scanned through every ad, looking for the perfect way to ease back into nursing, one that will not give me a splash of cold water.  And then it came, a US work-study program.

From the moment I saw the ad, I knew it was perfect.  But it was also too good to be true, I had my doubts.  I went for it anyway.  Long story short, I flew to San Antonio Texas, with $70 in my pocket, a credit card that had minimal credit limit, a contact number that has been changed, and a pretend optimism.  I figured I could just wing it, the way I winged my undergrad, get an MSN degree, earn a little and go from there.  Boy was I so wrong!

So that fateful day in August, when I sat in class almost biting away all my fingernails, the “verge” became a full-blown panic attack.  I didn’t talk at all on the way home, and as soon as we got into the apartment, I hid in my room and scolded myself.  “WTF did you get yourself into?”  I cried myself to sleep that night, thinking about how I can not allow myself go home a failure.

The next day though, I found a friend that would help me conquer the uncertainty – the internet.  Before that day, the internet and I were only acquaintances.  Save for email, I have never come to really appreciate its power.  All day I searched for examples of a concept paper, and when I was satisfied about my newly gained knowledge, I started to write.  I never stopped writing since.

Through this experience, I befriended yet another that would make my life in graduate school easier – the library.  My whole academic life before this, I have entered the library one time, and it was not even for studying or researching.  It just happened to be a meeting place.  But, oh, how we bonded through grad school.

I was happy to be writing again, and was ecstatic at having valuable resources at my fingertips.  I probably called in at least ten times, favoring writing over earning some $$$$.  If I could write instead of go to work, I was a happy girl.

LaraThinks: to be continued

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