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