Thursday, November 17, 2005

when I grow up

I have a book at home in my hope chest that has all of my report cards in it, accompanied with the school pictures of that year. It has sections to identify your favorite classes, best friends, and among other things, what you want to be when you grow up.

I remember one of my classmates in kindergarten telling the teacher he wanted to be a loaf of bread. I wonder if he's been successful in those endeavors. For me, the journey to becoming a nurse was a lot like wanting to be a loaf of bread. I was an artsy-right-brained gal struggling through a science-driven-left-brain-mad world of torture.

But that's probably putting it nicely.

My first lap through MTSU was in the education department. I wanted to teach middle school English. I liked writing. It came natural to me and I didn't have to put forth much effort to succeed. Kids liked me. My parents were teachers, and I'd helped them in years past, so the road was mostly already paved for me to follow their footsteps. It was relatively simple.

I took overloads in hours ever semester and never had less than 18 hours. My top was having 21 hours and being on the debate team. That was busy. The next semester I took 20 hours and was in a musical. I had a good time.

But when I was student teaching I looked around the classroom and wondered if I could stand doing the same thing for thirty years. I looked out the windows and imagined bars. I tried to justify to myself that if I was a teacher I could write my great American novel during the summers or after school. My parents urged me to do anything else but teach.

Dad wanted me to be a pharmacist. But I'd heard too many scary things about organic chemistry. So he suggested computer tech stuff. But it sounded too technical to me. I looked at engineering. (I would've looked at English, but knew that nobody in their right mind would actually pay me to write what I wanted to write.) And somehow I happened upon nursing --- sciency, but compassionate. I asked around and found an advisor.

I graduated and immediately started pre-requisits for the nursing program. Talk about jumping into a pool if ice water. I found quickly that 19 hours of sciencey classes was way different than 19 hours of education and english classes. I cried a lot.

And made it into nursing school. I had worked as a CNA at a nursing home previously, so I thougth that would help me through. Man, was I wrong. It gave me an advantage for about two weeks. After which point I cried about every night. (The Hater can best tell the story of my journey through nursing school. Maybe if you chide him, he'll post something on those lines.)

The love of my life, The Hater, had since moved to Oklahoma to work on his master's at UCO. My buddy, his roomate, had since moved to California to go to law school and learn how to drink excessive amounts of alcohol. It was hard times.

And now I've made it almost three years out of school. I would've never guessed ten years ago that I'd be a nurse today. That I'd like what I'm doing. I don't know if going back in time and telling me any of this would have changed anything, and if it would, I'm not so sure that I'd try to make the changes. But it's been a long row to hoe to get where I am.

And now I'm stuck in a place where young people think I'm old and old people think I'm young. I'm certainly not middle-aged and don't have any gray hair yet. It's hard to think of myself as an adult, even though I do adult-things. I think about the future --- my "five year plan", what I want to be doing in ten years, silly things.

When I grow up? When I grow up I want to be a super nurse writing the next great American novel. Or teach. Or go back to school. Maybe I'll just be a loaf of bread.

1 comment:

unsinkablemb said...

Loved this post. I like the stories of how someone ended up in nursing. I would buy your book if you wrote it. :) Cheers