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The fall of my senior year, I changed my mind and decided I wanted to pursue nursing instead of English, which had been my plan for a long time. I’m not sure what spurred this decision. Maybe it was a consequence of watching too much Grey’s Anatomy (not that they have very glamorous lives). Maybe I just liked being in the hospital (I had volunteered there for three summers in high school). Maybe I subconsciously didn’t like the direction I was heading in. The idea of going to a small private school horrifies me now. I’m not sure why I ever thought I’d fit in at a place like that. It’s for some people, but not for me.

After lots of indecision, frustration, and confusion, I ended up choosing a state school, mostly because the application process was easy, it was cheap, and I didn’t care much. Do you know the feeling when the rug is pulled out from under you, and you can’t really figure out what sounds good anymore? Like when you go to the grocery store wanting a certain type of bread, finding out they don’t have it, and spending forever choosing a different kind. You know you need bread, but nothing sounds good anymore. Madeleine L’Engle said:

It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.

I did dual-credit Chemistry the spring of my senior year, which proved disastrous. Not only did I hate every moment of the class, but also my academic confidence was shattered. This was how I felt when I went off to college…reluctant, insecure, and worn-out. Can you guess how well that first semester went? Chemistry didn’t go very well that time, either. I also found out what I was sick with, and so school wasn’t on the forefront of my brain.

Because of how poorly I felt, I decided going back to English would be the best idea. I couldn’t fathom how I would be able to stand on my feet all day as a nurse. I didn’t know how I’d get through Chemistry again, much less four more lab science courses. Somehow, I passed it that semester and took the easy route. English came easily to me. Most of the books I had read in high school, and the teachers’ requirements were not challenging.

Then graduation approached. The economy was getting worse, and in the area I was at, teachers were getting laid off. Even math and science teachers were being let go. It didn’t make sense to move forward with a teaching certification, so out of desperation, I thought I’d try tackling one lab science. Failure wasn’t an option at this point. Halfway through my first semester of Anatomy and Physiology, I learned from the best student that it took her approximately 30 hours of studying to make an A…per test. The lab needed the same amount of work. I made a B, thanks to her help, but I still had three more classes to go.

The next fall, I was working as a Certified Nurse Aide part-time and going to school full-time…and commuting. My time was limited, and work experience was necessary to cover the blight on my academic record. I had to settle for another B in the second Anatomy and Physiology.

Emotionally drained, I took a semester off from the prerequisites. Part of the way through the semester, I had total relief of symptoms and energy I don’t remember having before. I settled on a school in late March and spent a month and a half preparing for that program. I had an entrance exam to prep for, a class to test out of, three other prerequisites to complete, and a few other odds and ends they required.

This time around, everything seemed to be going well, until I interviewed. During the interview, they pushed and tested me, because they knew I hadn’t had great success in lab sciences before…and I still had two more sciences to complete. As if the interview wasn’t confidence-shattering enough, I didn’t get accepted into that program. Then I got sick again.

I told them in that interview that I’d prove myself, with no idea how, and set out to tackle those last two sciences. Pathophysiology was online, and I also had a little workbook to practice with, which made everything much easier. My Microbiology teacher was from Cornell. While her tests were the hardest ones I’d ever taken, she made up for it by being an excellent teacher. That summer, I scraped by with an A…by .4% She must have felt sorry for me.

The application process for the program started again. I had everything ready and submitted the application as soon as the grades came in. You guys have been with me on this waiting game, which finally ended Monday night, 3 and a half months later, when I got my acceptance letter. To me, it feels like this journey has taken four years, and I feel nothing but relief and thankfulness now that I have reached the destination.

I’d like to think this is what Frodo felt like, after the Ring was destroyed. Okay, so maybe this is on a much smaller scale, but it still feels pretty nice.

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