Monday, August 20, 2012

school back in session for the momma (and poppa)

So, it's the eve before my 1st day back to school and I am waxing poetic.

The past few years have kind of been a blur as we decided to make some sacrifices and send both Dan and myself back to school. We'd both been doing online classes for years by the time Ethan went to Kindergarten. That's the day life changed around here. I quit daycare (I miss my kiddos Sophie and Caden! They are growing soooo big...Sophie actually started kindergarten last week!) and with a completely empty house I found myself with my own backpack on, returning to where it all started at GCC to finish up the pre-reqs for my nursing program.

At that point, things went fast. It was Friday before I knew it, each and every week as I took Biology, Anatomy & Physiology classes, Microbiology, and my CNA course. I then did my brief stint as a CNA, which was limited, but good experience. I did Chemistry and Pathophysiology--each in about 6 weeks. Then, the big payoff, being accepted into nursing school.

That's when things got tough.

Time was no longer my own (or my family's). Every spare minute, it seemed, needed to go into studying, reading, writing careplans (seriously, yo, 8-12 hours a week on those puppies), and writing papers. The semesters actually flew because of this, which is both good and bad. Good, because, yay, the hard stuff is going by quickly. But bad, because, man, my kids are growing up so stinking fast.

Ethan's in 3rd grade, which means it's been a full 3 years since I went back to brick-and-mortar school. Sean's going to graduate from elementary school this year, and Cameron's actually gone the whole school year thus far, two full weeks, without one behavioral situation.

I kinda lost some friends along the way. The best ones, I still talk to and get together with when I can, and we pick up right where we left off for the most part, but I've had to miss a lot of things. I missed some pack meetings and RS meetings, some birthday parties and social events. The kids haven't been able to participate in the city's sports programs because with Dan and I in clinicals, we just can't get them there. We've put off vacations and scrimped and saved so as to not use one dime of student loans (to this point). Television and reading-for-pleasure become real luxuries. In fact, if and ever I do partake of these activities during the semester I usually feel extremely guilty about it. Then I begin to doubt myself and live in fear that that half an hour sitcom just cost me a good grade on the next test.

Don't get me wrong, it's totally doable. But it's hard work, and for the most part, I've done pretty well. And the truth is, I know it will be worth it. It's difficult, but I'm learning such great skills and am so excited to be able to use those skills to help bless my family some day. I enjoy school, I really do. It's been an amazing experience to this point, and I'm just so grateful that we've been able to afford for both of us to do it, and go after something, even if it's just one class at a time (It took Dan something like 5 years to get his AA). Education is one of those things, in my opinion, that is always worth the time and sacrifice. I just can't believe that I'll ever be at a point where I say I regret taking such and such class. It's so cool to keep learning and progressing, bettering myself, with the goals of landing that dream RN role some day.

It's kind of hard to believe I'm going into my last and final semester, the goal of graduation and pinning, and years worth of planning, classes, and studying. I remember years back when I was considering going back to school, one of my biggest concerns was that I was frankly, too old to start a new career. I remember telling my friend Laurie, "But I'll be 37 by the time I'm done!" And her responding, "But you'll be 37 anyway. You might as well be 37 with a degree!" And that made a huge difference.

So, I do turn 37 in a few weeks. See how fast that went? *blink* and it's here.

One of the best parts of this whole experience was going 20 months at this point with largely, the same group of people. Obviously I haven't had that kind of academic camaraderie with such a large group of people since high school. Talking day in, day out, with the same people (especially with the addition of the Facebook page to assist us) in and out of class parties, carpooling, clinicals and being involved in each others' lives and milestones... It's kind of awesome, really. It seems so weird to think in 4 months, that will all be over and done with, and we won't have that same tie or relationship with each other, won't be seeing each other every day, won't be lamenting about test scores and lecture topics and study groups. Oh I'm sure a lot of us will stay friends (again, the Facebook page helps a lot with stuff like that) and keep posted on each others' lives, I'm just saying, what a change that will be socially to not share classes together.

Anyway, I didn't have any real point to writing this, really just wanted to fondly look back on the good stuff, try to forget the bad stuff (the 44% on one of last semester's test grades really stunk) and be amazed and proud that I've done all I have and am looking at a very enticing light at the end of a very long tunnel--decorated with 18-page careplans.

Oh yeah, and then starts the Bachelor's program.


Lisa @ Fern Creek Cottage said...

You should be very proud of yourself! I am so very impressed that you've managed a difficult school load and taken care of three active boys at the same time. You even fit in some blogging, lucky for us. :)

Dahlene said...

You are more brave than I am. I don't think I'll ever go back to school. What a wimp, huh? I'm proud of you and Danny! Have a fun semester.

laurie said...

i really admire the time and energy you spend on every part of your life and the fact that you do it all with the best attitude! you are setting a good example for your boys and will be such an asset to the nursing field. i hope if i ever have to go to the hospital or have a medical crisis, you will be the nurse on call. :-)

Anonymous said...

Busy busy busy! Good on you for working so hard, I really enjoyed this post!