….a long, long, (very) long time ago, there was a young girl who decided that she wanted to grow up and become a nurse. it’s all that she ever could remember wanting to be, and she worked very hard toward reaching that goal. while many of her classmates were killing time in study halls, she was taking all of the extra classes that she needed to get into nursing school. it wasn’t always fun, but it was something that she felt so strongly about.
finally, after several years of hard work and studying, she got accepted into a nursing school. oh the joy! she was finally on her way….or so she thought. her excitement quickly went south when she was told that she wouldn’t be getting any financial help to pay for this dream. seeing that she only worked part time making $3.05 an hour, she quickly realized that her dream was not going to become a reality. she laid that dream aside and, after many tears, moved on with her life.
time went on, as time does, and the girl got married and had 2 children. she loved being a mother and wife. it was, by far, the hardest thing she had ever done, but the rewards couldn’t be matched. while most of her high school friends were off to college and then working in their careers, she was happily at home changing diapers and cooking 3 meals a day. never once did she feel like she was missing out on something. life was good.
through the years, her health started to fail. tasks that she could once do so easily became increasingly difficult. she sought out the advice of many doctors and specialists who could never pinpoint what the problem was. after many years of living with the constant pain and fatigue, she found herself almost bedridden. the pain was more then she could handle. in desperation, she went back to the doctors who were finally able to diagnose her. she was told that it was something that would never go away and there was very limited options to treat it. she was sent to a specialist and was put on an experimental drug to try and give her some of her life back. the girl (now a woman) was so very scared. she was reminded, yet again, how fragile life is.
the drugs worked and the woman hadn’t felt that good in over 15 years. but she soon realized that, with that diagnosis, life had changed for her. she was dependent on a very expensive drug at an age when most people are still living full, carefree lives. what would happen if her husband lost his job or got sick? she could never go to work without her medicine….but to be able to afford that medicine, she had to have a good paying job with very good health care. it was something that she prayed about so often….looking for answers.
over the course of a couple years, the woman continued praying over the feelings she was having. she strongly felt that life was going to change for her, yet but she didn’t have a clue as to what direction it would take. her immediate thought was to go back to school and become a nurse, however, she quickly disregarded that. she remembered back when she was going through the process in her teens that any of the nursing programs around her area had to be done full time. that wasn’t even a considered option for her now. she would not uproot her children’s everyday lives. another option would have to be found…but when you’re faced with needing a drug that costs $26,000 a year, your choices get narrowed down significantly. the task seemed daunting.
she also had to work through some of her own personal reservations. her life was not her own-she knew that she was simply a vessel in which God worked through. was this whole line of thought something that God wanted for her? she knew that there were some really strong feelings with some on whether a married woman with children should go out into the work place. but what was hers? were her opinions on that formed from her own inquiries and prayers, or were they placed there and influenced by others? more questions… much more praying.
in early june of her 39th year she visited the website of a college not too far from her home on a whim…just to see what they had to offer. she had yet to decide on anything that she desired to do other than nursing, and she was starting to get rather irritated with herself. she browsed their online catalog but found nothing that interested her in the least. just as she was getting ready to log-off, she saw a link for their nursing program. she sighed and clicked on it. it was only a lpn program, and that’s not what she was looking for. her goal always had been to get her bsn. as she read down through the page, she was stunned to find out that they offered a part-time program with classes three evenings during the week and the clinicals done every other weekend. it all sounded too perfect. she clicked off the page and worked on putting it all out of her mind.
a couple weeks later, she found that she just couldn’t get it all out of her head. she called the director of the nursing school and talked with her for over 45 minutes. that evening, she sat down and talked about it with her husband. up until this time, she had not spoken about her concerns/thoughts on this to anyone. the next day she talk to her girls about it. to her surprise, everyone was excited about it and told her that it was something she most definitely should do. a few days later she filled out the application and sent it in.
from previous experience she knew that there was more than just filling out an application to get into nursing school. there are character references to obtain, various clearances to get…and then there was the entrance exam. she hadn’t taken a test in over 20 years. when she filled out her application, she hadn’t thought that her brain was up to all of this and that the entrance exam would prove exactly that. however, she figured she may as well give it a try instead of wondering and having the ‘what-if’s’ about it years later. since she was sending in all of her info late into the deadline period, her testing would be only a few weeks away. her nerves reminded her of that fact often.
during the few weeks before her entrance exam, she picked up another college’s handbook and started browsing through. their nursing program was not a part-time one. however, she found out that, if you were to apply as an lpn, you were given advanced standing and was then able to continue on to become an rn part-time. in talking with the director at that school, she found out that it wasn’t quite that simple though. since she had been out of school for over 10 years (eh hm), all of the extra classes she had taken back in high school did not count. she would have to take some additional classes before she could even apply to their lpn to rn program. but, even before she was allowed to sign up for those classes, she had to test into them. she hung up the phone and, two hours later, found herself in a room filled with kids that were all young enough to be her own children taking the same test she was-a fact that amused her as well as cause to ask herself, “exactly WHAT are you thinking here?”. almost two hours later, she found out that her brain was indeed alive and still kicking. she had tested right into all of the classes she needed. she walked out of that college registered as a student. at 39.5 years of age.
the pressure was on. if she couldn’t pass the entrance exam to get into the part-time nursing school she had applied to, there was no point in taking these extra classes to begin with. her nerves reminded her of that fact often.
at the end of july, she went and took THE TEST. that’s 4 hours of fun. she walked out of the school sure that she had bombed it…not because the material was too hard (surprise!), but that she had made a stupid mistake and had accidentally skipped marking a question, which therefore put all of her other answers in the wrong slots. she had quickly switched them, but wasn’t able to go back and check to see that she had put them into the correct slots. thoroughly disgusted with herself, she was pretty sure that her chances were slim at best. and she had 2 weeks to wait for her results. to pass the time, she cleaned like a crazed woman. she even hit all of those “forgotten” spots…the basement corners, the attic, etc. she figured that at least she’d have a clean house out of the deal if nothing else. it was two very long weeks to ponder even harder on all of it-is this what i’m suppose to do? if not, then what, if anything?
finally, two weeks later,she got her answer.
so, at the age of thirty-nine and a half (that half is important, ya know), she is going back to school. to nursing school.
although she doesn’t start into the nursing part of things until next spring (when she’ll most definitely be 40), her prerequisite classes begin next thursday (all on-line!). she figured that since she had a few months to twiddle her thumbs, she may as well get them out of the way. as a friend of hers said, she’s on the “8 year plan”. since she will only do this part-time, it’s going to take awhile. she will still continue to homeschool her youngest daughter as well (priorities haven’t changed). but at least now, she’s on her way.
but really…it’s just beginning!
p.s I’M IN!!!