Thinking Ahead

Being a career student has its ups and downs. The first four years of my nursing education were rough. Rougher than expected. And I’m still decompressing from that experience and thankful for the time and space of not being in school for the moment.

BUT…it’s been a little over a month since graduation and I am already climbing the walls. Searching for something new to learn. A new interest to grab me in unexpected ways. I’m bored at work because being a graduate student AND a nurse at the same time energized me (when it wasn’t physically exhausting me) … it gave me ideas for improving my work environment, it inspired me to imagine how I could contribute to making our work better.

I know that for the sake of my sanity, my relationships, my marriage, my very soul, this break is important. I know that there is some level of bitterness and some sense of injustice lingering from an experience that tested me and my coping skills, that stretched me in uncomfortable and sometimes traumatic ways. I am thankful to be a nurse, but I am unfortunately not entirely thankful for the path that got me here. And I know that I need time to heal from those wounds and figure out how to deal with being uncomfortably stretched in more healthy, proactive ways. There are no guarantees that it won’t happen again (knowing the past five years, I’m betting that it will).

But perhaps that is why going back to school is actually more compelling than less. Perhaps I am looking for something to believe in, for a program that stretches and tests me, but also supports and inspires me.

I feel as if I have two voices warring against each other. One says to suck it up, to be thankful for what I have, to be impressed with the nursing education I did receive, realize that the economy is the economy, and I should make the most of where I’m at. The other says that yes I am thankful, but I am also frustrated, that I had dreams that still have yet to come true, and that I still need to go for it.

There is a danger in idealizing the unknown (don’t I know it). It is likely that expecting too much out of any program is going to result in disappointment and frustration. The only person I can count on at the end of the day is me. But I have to believe that there are nursing programs that match my interests, that will help me continue moving forward in my journey, rather than feeling limited or stuck.

The only question is where?

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