Third Quarter Jitters

In the United States, there’s arguably always been a “pioneer” mentality. For all that America is a melting pot of people from different cultures, we’re known collectively as individuals who value foresight, innovation, and the willingness to take a risk . . . or several. Personally, I’ve always been more of a reflector and – while I do appreciate innovation- I tend to take comfort in the familiar.

I’ve never been someone who could be accused of being an adrenaline junkie and “play it safe,” could be my catch phrase. The things I enjoy that some people may consider unnecessarily risky – like riding motorcycles in my “vanilla” life, or breath play in my kinky life – are things that I don’t actually view as dangerous.

I’ve been in only one motorcycle accident, but three car wrecks.

And I’ve never felt my life was at stake during breath play.

Realistically, I can count the number of risks I’ve taken on one hand. And I’m not talking about small scale stuff like eating raw cookie dough or getting an asymmetrical hair cut. I’m talking about the big, life-changing stuff. The stuff that you can’t sleep on, because the opportunity won’t be around come sunrise. The stuff that’s now or never.

I consider one of those risks my decision to go into school for nursing. For someone else, that type of decision might not have been a big deal, or they might have felt that they had plenty of time to consider the option. Hell, they might’ve not even lost any sleep over it.

For me, it was like deciding to jump out of a tree without knowing whether or not I’d fall or fly. I threw myself out into open space and couldn’t consider the possibility that I might not succeed, because the other alternative was splat.

Even now, two quarters (or six months) into school, I still feel like I might just be floating on a thermal. I haven’t looked down for fear of the height I’m at. All I can do is keep my eyes closed and hope that my flailing is actually doing something. I know I’ll have to come back to Earth eventually, but the question of whether or not it’s a graceful landing or one that’s disastrous is yet to be determined. I don’t even have a parachute, or plan b.

So far, I’ve taken some standard prerequisite courses and some career specifics courses. I’ve passed Structure and Function, Human Growth and Development, Dimensions of Nursing Practice,  Anatomy I and II (and the accompanying labs), Algebra, and English. I haven’t gotten anything lower than a B, overall. But I’m still finding myself nervous about this next quarter. And I’m not quite sure why.

This quarter, I’m scheduled to take Conflict Resolution, Introduction to Microbiology (and the lab), Nutritional Principles in Nursing, and Allied Health (and the lab). It’s a total of 13 credit hours – plus the Conflict Resolution course, which is competency based and technically counts as an additional 4 credits. My scrubs came in the mail on Friday and so did my brand new “nursing” shoes. (Sketchers: Slip-Resistant Relaxed Fit women’s shoes in white – AKA: The Most Expensive Shoes I’ve Ever Bought.)

I think the fact that this is the first quarter I’ll have to wear my scrubs is making this “real” to me. Prior to this – despite having taken Dimensions of Nursing Practice – it just felt like school. It didn’t feel directionless necessarily, but it didn’t feel like the end goal of becoming a nurse was something tangible. Now it is and that’s a little terrifying.

Also, in that same fashion, this is the first quarter in which I will have classes at the campus, beyond just my labs for anatomy. I’m not sure why, but having a lab at the campus feels different than having an actual class there. Possibly, that’s because the labs weren’t overseen by an actual teacher, in the stricter sense of the word. They were merely supervised by someone who was there largely just to prevent us from damaging campus property and/or improperly handling the dead cats we used for our dissections.

Another reason I’m more worried about this quarter than the other quarters might have to do with the fact that D – who was the one who largely encouraged me to start school – has intentionally flunked himself out. He couldn’t handle balancing work and school, he got placed on academic probation, and he just didn’t bother showing up for his final exams or last week of classes. He still intends to finish school . . . but he doesn’t plan to start back up until next fall – at which time I’ll (presumably) be just a quarter away from graduating.

The prospect of graduating is an interesting one as well – seeing as I left high school to get my GED at the start of my senior year of high school. And, given that graduating school is only part of what it takes to actually become a nurse, I’m even more nervous.

Overall, I’m not sure what to expect from the next week. I won’t have a campus class until Thursday. I don’t even know which of the two campuses in town I’ll be going to. I’m not sure how my boss will respond when I actually am out for a cumulative day (between Thursday and Friday). I don’t know what the first day of classes will be like. A part of me is hoping that it will be like high school, where day one is just a day to introduce yourself and get the list of what you’ll need for the other weeks of the class. That’s a little nerve wracking too though, because I’m not one that’s ever found making friends to be easier and I never know what to saw during the introduction phase of things.

I’m trying to not over think things.

I don’t want to get so caught up in looking for potential hurdles that I end up tripping over my own shoe-laces.


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