It’s finally here! The animals are back at the zoo. Mothers everywhere have been watching buses pull away with their little darlings, then dancing back up their driveways (after perhaps shedding an obligatory tear or two for the new Kindergarteners) singing *Hallelujah!*.
January 1st? Please. The first day of school is the day that should start with fireworks. Can I get an AMEN?!
For this mama, amidst the bliss of fall freedom lurks a nagging little cloud of anxiety. Not because my youngest is a lunatic who is likely to drive his teacher crazy, hey, that’s her problem. She’s the one who went into teaching. Life is full of challenges. Meet Charlie. Good luck!
Nope, the countdown has been with mixed feelings this year because this mom is going back to school too.
I don’t talk about my day job much here because people get awfully twitchy about nurses publicly discussing their work. People like bosses, whom I don’t want firing me. But I’m pretty sure it’s okay to discuss the field of nursing which is a tricky thing. For one, I am an RN. There are also CNAs, LPNs, CRNAs, NPs, CNMs, DNPs...
Currently, there are (at least) three paths to gain enough education to allow you to sit for the nursing boards. You can get a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, or a nursing diploma from a hospital based program.
Regardless which path you choose, if you pass the test at the end, you become an RN. As you might imagine, the bachelor’s degree (BSN) is preferred by most of the larger, more academic hospitals. Me, I have a diploma.
To be honest, I kind of fell into nursing. I went to college right out of high school, acquired a rather useless (but for the expansion of my mind, of course) liberal arts degree and proceeded to not really use it at all in a completely unrelated field. Time passed. A child was born.
Then, one day, my husband posed the question, “Would you rather go back to work or to school?” Which, in retrospect, is kind of like asking a child if he wants a bath or a shower; there seem to be choices, but remaining on the couch watching t.v. is not one of them.
It just so happened, the hospital where my husband worked at the time offered a “Future of Caring” scholarship for relatives of the employee which, if you received it, paid IN FULL for their nursing school. All I had to do was show up. Well, and, you know, learn how to be a nurse.
Did I mention it cost me nothing?
That diploma opened the door for one of the best part-time careers there is for a young mother. (I could still call myself young seven years ago... young-ish, anyway, I was still older than most of my classmates.)
The catch has always been that while my free diploma has gotten me into a great job, it’s done all it can do. While advancement in this field is possible without more education, the way I want to advance is not. So, with my last excuse heading out to school, it seemed time to make a plan.
I’m not going to lie. It was kind of a painful decision. All of my children are finally in school. I have been waiting YEARS for this moment. I want to be free, not tied down with papers… in APA format.
Plus, I always thought nursing would be a temporary thing. I was never "called" to be a nurse. It just seemed like a good idea while I raised my kids. My deepest desire, way down in my heart is to be a… I don't know... something else.
Also, like naming a child, everyone has an opinion on your decision and have no qualms telling you it's wrong: “You should do an RN to MSN bridge program if you already have a bachelor’s.” “You should do it online.” "I heard that program isn't very good." “Why bother, it’s not like you're going to make enough money to make it worth it.”
It’s hard enough working up the gumption to go back to school; hearing that you might be going about it the wrong way is enough to freeze a person’s momentum by stirring up their ample supply of self-doubt. (Which isn't very nice.)
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost”
Of course, much as I like to complain about the people in my life being full of unsolicited advice (as I often am), most of them love me and have been crazy supportive. (Even if I do end up obsessively Googling nursing programs after talking to them.)
Honestly, if it weren't for my people, I probably never would have applied. I had completely talked myself out of more schooling, deciding instead to wait for my dream job (whatever that might be) to magically appear on my doorstep.
Then, I was sitting on a friend's couch late one night, talking about life, and told her, "I know I should, but I just don't want to go back to school." (There may have been some serious whining in my voice.) To which she replied, "You are a grownup. Sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do." SLAP! Golly. She might be right.
In my experience, regrets tend to hover around inaction like a cloud of gnats. So rather than waiting to be inspired with the perfect plan, I’ve decided to be a grownup, go with this good enough plan, and hope for the best.
“All The Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
And who knows, I might learn a thing or two. After all, isn't that why we are sending our children back to school?
*wink, wink* Sure it is.
I like to throw things.