Looking Back

Much of the difficulty the past year came from trying to balance school with multiple jobs. Balance, though, is not the right word. It felt more like a circus act-and I was the performer spinning plates on long poles, praying one does not slip and bring everything down at once. Several times a dish nearly  slipped, and I missed assignments and commitments. Everything not absolutely urgent was put on hold.

I thought the challenge of the junior year would be in the complexity of the material presented, or in the details of tests.   Instead, it was marathon that wore me out with a constant barrage of assignments and tests best described as a semester long finals week. Every time I believed I was falling into the rhythm of the school year, something new was thrown at me.  Clinicals, research papers, presentations, and comprehensive tests followed one after the other.  My classmates and I had to adapt to a new type of test, in which all multiple choice questions have more than one right answer. Which right answer has the highest priority?

Next year, I have heard, is not nearly as intensive. Nevertheless, I have taken a much different approach to how I set up my schedule. I simplified a lot, condensing my dance and work schedule to be more reasonable. I am also making one other change. I will be living on the college campus next semester.

Life Snapshot

Books, books, and more books.

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Complete with a crayon wall mural composed by the young artist Claire. A Theraband (dancer exercise device) also hangs in the background.

Firsts in 2015

This was a year of many new things: skipping rocks, first injections, learned to shoot a .45 caliber, first time traveling on my own.

Growing up, little by little.

 

2015

2015, have you flown by already? The older I get, I realize that a year really isn’t very long at all. Looking through all the photos the family has taken over the last year, it  does seem that we fit a lot into 2015.

January I began actual nursing classes, after two years of wading through the prerequisite science and psychology classes. The one-month interim course at my school fits a whole semester’s material into three weeks , so bitter January passed quickly. The class finished with a role playing presentation that was fun to work on and present to the class:

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Through February and March, both Mom and the excitement for our newest family member grew steadily:

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April brought the welcome spring, with flowering bulbs, spring sun, and crazy baby chickens in the mail:
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May was filled with celebrations following one after the other. Benjamin arrived safe and sound shocking us with his head of curls.  Landon graduated from homeschool life, and several members of the family received sacraments:

Maria was confirmed:

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as well as Johnathan:

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and Alexander:
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In June Benjamin also received his first sacrament!

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In July I flew with an amazing group to Alaska on a two week mission trip through FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University students). This was my first trip away from home by myself, so it was very new and exciting experience:

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The family spent August enjoying the last warm, school-free days of Summer:

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And this must suffice for September, October, November, and December, as I only narrowly escaped being buried alive in homework this semester. I passed a lot of exciting nursing milestones such as first injection given, first patient cared for, and learning to understand a million different lab values.

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 Now, forward on to 2016!

For Unto us a Child is Born

 

Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice! Give ye heed to what we say: Jesus Christ is born today!

~ a Latin carol from the 14th century, translated by John M. Neale, 1853

Merry Christmas!

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Final-ly

I have emerged from the throes of finals week.

Victorious.

And still feeling like I need to be pouring over a book at every moment of the day.

I can say with confidence that this was my hardest semester yet. There was a lot of material to learn, and a whole new method of thinking to start learning. Most of the time I was able to stay on top of things, but a few times assignment after assignment stacked up and there was barely time to breath.

But suddenly I find that I am over the finish line (for the first semester of the nursing program at least) and Christmas comes in only four more days. I’m looking forward to it, as well as spending lots of time not studying.

Well, It Seems I am Alive

I’ve made it to fall break.

But only barely.

The last six weeks have required a learning curve in more than a few ways. School assignments build up quickly, and it took a few weeks to feel as though I had fallen into a rhythm. I was just beginning to feel proud of myself for getting the hang of it, when the teachers announced the beginning of clinicals, and the numerour assignments and reports they entails. It took until last Tuesday for me to feel like (I think) I know what I’m doing.

School is very real now. I’ve given injections, watched a surgery, and taken care of a patient. I’m also operating at maximum capacity most of the time. I used to be astonished at other students who started to fall asleep in class. Now, I have to keep my own head from bobbing the day after clinical. (It’s a really early morning to be at the hospital, and then a late night to finish the post-clinical reports.)

It is also different being one of the ‘old’ students. On the first day of class, I walked up to the classroom where I would be taking psychology, one of my last general courses I need. I noticed a large group of student waiting around nervously, almost to timid to enter the classroom. I wasn’t sure what was wrong so I walked in and they all followed after me like ducklings after their mother. Several asked me a few questions, which I answered without understanding their significance.

Suddenly it hit me: these were freshmen, and this was their first class. I was momentarily taken back two years, remembering my first day. Excited to be at ‘real school’, but terrified I would make a mistake. The faces of those older students who had recognized my hesitation, shown me around the buildings, and answered my questions still remain vivid in my memory. Truly, it does only take a moment to make a difference to a frightened freshman. Quickly, I put on my responsible older student hat, and welcomed the newcomers to Augie, and assured them they were in the right classroom. Their relief was plainly visible.

I was a more than a little stunned to realize how much time has passed since I started school. Even more frightening- before I know it, another year and a half will pass, and I’ll be wondering how I have come to be a college graduate.

Two Weeks In

I’ve passed the two week mark for school, and while I’m definitely not yet riding the waves, I’m starting to swim. After feeling like I constantly need to figure out what I should be doing for this long, I’m finally (dare I say it?) starting to fall in to a routine.

I’m learning to understand lab values that a week ago were a meaningless jumble of numbers. Now I see them as the difference between life and death. Potassium levels? Crucial. Ph of the body? Better be in a certain range.

For so long, it seemed my classes focused on various things with no rhyme or reason. Two weeks on the electron pump of the cell. A week and a half on osmolarity. Three weeks on the immune system. Finally, it all makes sense, and everything I’ve studied the last two years is being pulled together.