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Archive for the ‘School’ Category

Stress, I has it

This is the week from hell. I worked all weekend until after midnight, then exam today and tomorrow, two case studies to complete and a presentation to write on top of the typical homework. It’s just overwhelming. I’m sitting here with bloodshot eyes and an aching back from leaning over textbooks constantly. Tomorrow is a sixteen hour day, followed by work Thursday and a ten hour clinical Friday. And then it will be over. This, my friends, is just another week as a student nurse.

I talked to Z and my mom about my quitting or going to down to PRN at work. It’s just a weird thing, my job makes me a better nurse (my clinical instructor tells me it’s so refreshing that I have lots of experience), but my actually BEING a licensed nurse is hinged on excelling in school, and right now, my job is seriously impeding my studying. It’s 11pm and my exam is at 9 am, and I still have three chapters to read. There is just no time to cram it all in.

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The summer is over, and I shuffle back to school on Monday. My thirteenth semester in school. Bah. I’ve yet to buy my books, I don’t have all my highlighters in a row and my uniform isn’t pressed. I did resolve my financial aid situation, but it really did take all. fucking. summer. Jeebus.

Work has been so awesome. I didn’t know that you could have a job that you enjoyed doing and didn’t dread going to. I have seriously never had a job that I didn’t loathe. It’s awesome. I can even overlook the terrible clothes I have to wear. Don’t tell anyone, but one of my secret thrills at work is donning the surgical masks and gowns for isolation rooms. I feel really official-looking in my yellow paper gown tied tight around my waist and the mask looped around my ears. I even hold up my gloved hands like doctors do and put on my most serious face, my “doin’ important work, stand back!” face. I hope this giddy feeling never wears off.

Over the summer I lost about 25 pounds; right now I’m at 279. I had a bad week in mid-July where I gained eight pounds and it took three weeks to take it back off, but I’m finally back in the black. I am looking forward to getting into a routine with school and work where I can build in some gym time. I need to build some endurance in my heart and lungs so I can keep up with my long-legged preceptor and stave off any asthma attacks in the winter months ahead. I believe that if I strengthen my lungs my asthma could be completely unmedicated. Right now I use my rescue inhaler up to 3 times a week. I’d love to see that number go down.  I also need to build stronger muscles in my back, adductor, hamstrings and stomach. I have very strong legs (it takes a lot of strength to carry around a big body!) but my back has really atrophied because I have babied it for so long (I have two bulging lumbar discs that have been treated with a string of spinal blocks). I have to protect myself with some preventative strength training so I don’t injure myself on the job. I lifted a patient on Sunday 17 August and hurt myself badly. I scared myself by being able to be injured so deeply. It can’t happen again.

I’m looking forward to an Autumn full of hard work and hopefully some hard play. I’ve realized over the summer that working hard is one thing, but doing things with friends and loved ones is just as important. I want to focus on building friendships with my new coworkers and keeping in touch with my former ones. I plan to reconnect with a lost friend after four years apart, and I have made a promise to myself to go on at least one date this Fall. I have to not only look for love, but follow through and pursue it. If it is in God’s plan to be with someone who makes me happy, then I will accept it with open arms. Come and find me!

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It’s that time of year again when all the little kiddies start thinking about back-to-school. Even though I am nearly an old fart(tm), I’m one of those little kiddies. This time of year sucks balls, because this is when you have to wade through all the financial aide bullshit and get your grants and loans lined up in a row and then shoot them, one by one, until your school has sucked you dry. I*** has been the most inconvenient school to attend, really. They are so confusing, backpedaling between answers depending on which rep you get on the phone. It gets so frustrating to talk to the fin. aid reps that I just want to shake them upside down until the right answer falls out of their pocket and skitters across the floor.

So I need to wade through all that bullshit, plus figure out a way to get my CPR certification by 15 August AND get it for free. As a hospital employee, I have access to classes like CPR cert., Spanish, etc. as a benefit. But, I don’t start until 4 August. I’m not sure if I can swing it. I really, really don’t want to pay $55 for something I could get for free. There is also this huge fucking list of shit I have to do before 15 August for my clinicals (like obtain and pay for a complete criminal history check), and if I don’t get them completed, I’m out of the program. Fuuuuuuuuck. I’m not made of money, you bastards!

Finally, there is a bunch of shit I need to do around the house. The whole upstairs is a disaster area. I need to sort through all the crap into boxes for sale and to keep for when I move out. I’ve been slowly buying sundry items for the Move, and it’s all just sitting around. I also desperately need to weed the garden. It’s looking, erm, bushy out there. I’ll take pics of before and after. When you see it, you’ll shit brix.

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New Perspective

I am a different person than I was two weeks ago. I’ve had a lot things change concerning school, all of which are bad. For one, I no longer can receive Stafford loans- I am at my limit (which is $23,000 for undergrad degrees). I didn’t know this until nine days ago. Secondly, I was misguided by a financial aid officer and signed up for an expensive DVD/online class for a grant that I am not applicable for, and now have to pay tuition for the class (two days after I signed up for the class, tuition reimbursement for dropped classes dropped down to 40%). So, I have to figure out a way to come up with $1,200, pronto. If I would’ve stuck with my instinct (not sign up for the class) I would owe a measly $300. I’m still angry about this.

I have had to come to terms with just how much money I will owe at the end of my schooling- about $40,000. I’ll have a B.F.A. and an A.S.N. I won’t be debt-free until I’m 35 (from school debt, at least). My loan payment will be close to $400/month. The first few years of nursing, I can expect to make $25-30 K/year. Add that one up in your head.

I am so full of regret that I feel like I could spit it from my mouth like venom. I am so angry with myself for messing my life up so badly. About 50% of this debt I could avoided. I made the wrong choices, the easier, more exciting choices- vacations, material items, working less, buying more- instead of the practial choices. For example, at 18 I thought that getting an art degree would be a wise career choice. WRONG! I chose an expensive Catholic school instead of I*** because it was smaller and less intimidating, instead of putting on my big-girl pants and dealing with it. WRONG! At 22 I used bonds my grandparents saved my whole life to go to Europe for a month, instead of using it for tuition- WRONG! At 23, I blew through 8,000 on two holidays and a bunch of shit I didn’t need, instead of using it for tuition- WRONG! Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I understand now those middle-aged guys who talk about “the good old days” with that misty look in their eyes. They regret wasting their opportunities, their youth, their innocence on such idiotic choices. I regret wasting money, wasting my youth on the wrong career path, on wasting two years of my life being depressed, on being too fat to enjoy my beauty. Now I am getting wrinkles, grey hair and I’m so, so angry at myself. My heart aches. I was wrong.

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A New Day?

I took five days off last week to reflect, catch up on my reading, knit, and mentally prepare myself for the new semester. I saw an amazing miniseries on PBS- Jane Eyre– with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson. I’m still daydreaming about Stephens’ electric portrayal of Rochester. Yowza. And Wilson- who is a more perfect, more vibrant, more luminous Jane? No one, that’s who. I ripped through a dozen books- Poison Study, all of the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, Jane Eyre, of course, and some lovely cheesy romance novels that make me feel all fuzzy inside. Who doesn’t love literature that also doubles as soft porn? I do!

So I’m feeling refreshed and rarin’ to go. I’m in a delightfully bitchy mood. I feel clever, bouncy, like I could salsa dance across the country in three inch heels. Okay, maybe not. But I do feel significantly less sorry for myself than the last entry I wrote. Trust me, I cried a lot the last week of December, and it’s all out of my system.

I’m taking Classical Mythology and Pharmacology this semester, and I had my first Mythology class this morning. I have to say I am so far disappointed by the professor- he is pompous and self-indulgent. Of a 50-minute class, five minutes were spent discussing the intricate pedantics of taking role (which line is it again that I sign my name- the one listed “Signature” or “Date??”), twenty minutes discussing just how important it is to come to class (got the e-mails, pal), ten minutes of faculty hierarchy (an excuse to stroke his tenured ego), and another ten minutes about Christianity (his affected miming of the late John Paul II was comedy gold). Oh, and he managed to squeeze in five minutes lecture on the subject at hand, mythos.

I’m not sure if I am going to drop this class or not. On one hand, it fulfills a requirement for my B.A.. On the other hand, it isn’t something that I need to be a nurse and I don’t know if it will distract me from Pharm, which I am just slightly worried about- my textbook has 109 chapters, and the course handbook is 400 pages long. I read the first five chapters in the book and other than the introduction, it jumps deep into specific drugs and their interactions. The class meets three times a week. It will be intense. But, I don’t want to take just one class- I’m itching for a challenge. So Mythology stays, for now. Actually, I’d like to sign up for Creative Writing (another B.A. req.) as well, but all the classes are filled right now. Mayhap a miracle will occur and a spot will open up??

I watched Persuasion this afternoon. I could barely keep myself from crying- I identify so much with Anne. I’m 25 and unmarried. This past year I have felt not like a young person anymore. I am more inhibited with my behavior- no more wacky spazzed out humor or bold statements. I keep a lot of the opinions I would previously announce to anyone listening to myself. I am much more private at work- most of my coworkers know very little about me, if they know anything. It’s not that I want to be secretive, I just don’t want to be that woman who tells her life story to anyone who will listen. I haven’t made any real connections with anyone in school. I remember my first years at U**- I met E. my second day of school and we’re still friends. I had many friends and would socialize a lot. Now, I only hang out with E., and that is infrequent at best.

I attribute a lot of my behavior changes to the depression I experienced in 2004-2006. I lost most of my friends during that time, either directly (them telling me I was a different person they didn’t want to be friends with) or just growing apart. Since that time, I’ve also noticed a difference in my behavior at work- I’m not as friendly, I don’t smile as much, I complain more, and I don’t talk a lot. People in my age group who would previously include me in inviting to parties now don’t invite me. I don’t want to be a sour, jaded person. I need to lighten up.

So, my New Year’s resolution is to relax, smile more, joke more and be nicer. It won’t kill me, right? If anything, it will move me back to the old Christina, who everyone liked, who people used to say never had a bad day. That they couldn’t imagine being grumpy. That is who I want to be again- quick, witty, clever, funny, charismatic. That is my aim.

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The semester ends for me in six days. I am so panicked. I have seven chapters to read and digest between now and then. Took my Anatomy Lab Practical today. I feel pretty confident about it- I’ll find out my score on Friday. There were three questions I am unsure about, but I had some wiggle room (I could get an 85% on both my practical and final exam and still receive an “A”), but I don’t want to act cocky until I get my grade. Then I can do a happy dance!

I got an e-mail today from my Classical Mythology professor today. I’m taking that class as a requirement for my BFA degree next semester . He says he’s “ruthless about attendance.” This makes me want to drop the class, ASAP. I’m taking this class because it would fulfill a prerequisite for my Bachelor’s of Art degree that I was working on at U**. According to I***, I am eight classes away from completing the BFA program. But, because of university policy, I can’t work on this art degree while I am a nursing student- conflicting majors, blah, blah. So I was just going to plug in any prereq.s that I can while I’m in nursing school. Classical mythology is one, and I need another Art history, a Math statistics class, and something else. Anyway, thinking about it all exhusts me and I wonder why I’m even bothering. Maybe I won’t.

My foot still hasn’t healed, and we leave for New Orleans in eleven days. I’ve lost 12 pounds and am in between a size 24 and 26 pant. I’d love to lose some more weight before we leave, but school is seriously kicking my butt and between that and my injury, exercise isn’t happening. I walk 30 minutes on the treadmill (1.5 miles) a few times a week but that’s about it. I am so pissed that my foot is still injured, I just want to scream. This whole shoe thing is so frustrating- the leather upper on the shoes I have stretched significantly, so my foot is sliding up and down just like the other shoes. I have to tie them so tight that the leather is buckling around the tongue. I could just cry. Why does my right foot hurt so badly and my left one is just fine? Why can’t a get a shoe to fit properly? AAAAAH!! For those of you who don’t have foot pain, you are so lucky. Having a foot injury sucks the fun out so many things- I no longer dance that often because the pain shoots up my leg and cripples me, and I can’t work long hours like I’d like to because the pain lasts for days and days. I am a really good dancer, but you’d never know because half the time I’m limping. I am angry that this happened to me, because I am a fun loving person. Being in pain makes you surly and nasty, and I hate being that way. DAMN!

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I survived midterms. Sort of. I had two exams- one I did very well on, the other very badly. In my Anatomy class I had missed several classes because of a two-week-long black period, so I studied my ass off to make up for my missing lectures. I ended up with a 95%. Woot! My Chemistry exam is another story. This exam marked our transition from general chemistry to organic chemistry.  Literally, three chapters were general chem and the last one was organic. Yeah, I underestimated how much there was to memorize- gas laws, chemical structures, hydrogen bonding… it was awful. I missed half the questions. I had no idea what I was doing, I guessed on a lot of the questions. And to add to the bomb, I had to pee REALLY BADLY during the exam. I could hardly concentrate because my body was quivering with the need to PEE. God, am I an idiot! First, I stay up late “studying” (aka knitting and watching TV) then I take a FUCKING NAP on the day of my exam because I stayed up all night. Then I drink two cups of coffee before the exam and forget to pee BEFORE I LEAVE THE HOUSE. Jesus Christ! It’s ridiculous even to me.

So, my 97% fell to 82% with one exam. To get an A, I’d have to achieve 98% or better on all the remaining exams and projects for the rest of class. Basically, I’ve come to terms with a ‘B.’ Well, I came to terms with getting a ‘B’ AFTER eating half a gallon of Xtreme Moose Tracks ice cream. Now, if only the nursing program acceptance committee is okay with me having a B…

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