Why I Blog – Reflections of a Mature/Mom Student Nurse

It is surreal how my and my daughter’s lives have been paralleling one another throughout my nursing journey. When I applied to colleges to complete my nursing pre-requisites, I also submitted preschool applications for my daughter. I was shocked to learn that preschool wait-list applications cost more than college applications. Some preschool application fees/deposits were 1.5 times more than the application fee for our local community college! This week, I had a significant job interview with my top choice employer. In the same afternoon, I received a call to schedule an interview for my daughter for a language-immersion kindergarten. We’re both interviewing for something that sets the foundation and determines how our lives will be for years to come. If I get into my desired new graduate nursing program, I can see myself staying at that hospital until retirement. If she gets into this language-immersion program and accepts the spot, she commits to attending the school for the next six years. 

Most of my other nursing school classmates did not have to contend with commandeering significant change in one’s own life while being responsible for someone else’s life and wellbeing or a family budget. You may be the only parent in your class. Or, like me, you may be older than every student in your classrooms. You are not alone. Other people have been in that situation before or are in that situation currently, perhaps at another school. I write this blog because I want you to know it’s possible to earn a college degree later in life, even with kids. It’s possible to start over with a nursing career, even after a lifetime in another role. Everyone has their unique struggles or responsibilities, and while you might feel alone in yours, know that you are not. There are registered nurses who have had to repeat a semester or more of nursing school. Some nurses I know were pregnant or dealing with a loved one’s death during nursing school. I’ve read stories of students getting cancer treatments during their nursing program or single moms balancing working and nursing school with their family life. If nursing is your calling, you will find your way, as countless others have. 

Your career path may not look like the paths of other nurses or nursing students you currently know. Your burdens or responsibilities may not be the same as your classmates’. For instance, my classmates did not struggle to potty-train their child while studying for finals, as I did. However, I assure you that there is a nurse with a story similar to yours. Whether you are in nursing school or already a nurse, I invite you to share your story. There’s likely something in your nursing journey that others may find relatable or inspiring. A future nurse might need your encouragement.

I blog for the possibility that someone is encouraged by my story. I blog for the person doubting their abilities or overwhelmed by their circumstances. I blog for mature students who might recognize themselves in me. You don’t have to be a blogger to share your story. Other ideas include:

  • Accepting career day invitations for schools.
  • Being a guest speaker for after-school programs.
  • Joining your alumni association mentorship program as a mentor or recruiter for future students.
  • Providing helpful or encouraging feedback to communities for nursing students online.

Thank you for reading my blog and allowing me to share. I find when we share ourselves, it permits others to do the same. Good luck on your journey – and share your story!

Failure and Rejection as Feedback

I’ve received rejections from several of my job applications this week. Before Nursing, I’ve seriously job searched maybe once in my life. It resulted in me working for the same company for nearly two decades, so getting rejected from multiple job applications feels new to me. The rejections feel like getting a fail on a pass/fail school project. Unlike failing in school or doing poorly at work, I receive little feedback on my rejected job applications. I can’t evaluate areas I got “wrong” and study or practice to improve my job application. The process is honestly discouraging.

I have to remind myself that searching for a new grad nursing job can be a long process. New grad programs are very competitive, and it can take some time to receive a response. I applied to one of the programs in September but did not get a rejection notice until this week (mid-November)! In some ways, merely knowing I did not get the job satisfied my desire for any form of feedback.

I think about people who have jobs where rejection is expected, like entrepreneurs, actors, or politicians. If such people don’t land a client or don’t get a role, they move onward. Like them, I need to push past rejections and keep trying. This week, I heard a quote from Vice President-elect Kamala Harris: “I eat no for breakfast!” She has worked hard in her career to get where she is today, but her efforts have not been without many rejections and criticism. Rejection doesn’t stop her; it makes her more determined. I find the quote inspiring.

It seems like the universe is telling me something because this week, my preschooler’s favorite television show, “Dino Dana,” had a storyline about failure. One of the characters kept failing her practice exams in preparation for a big science exam and became discouraged. To encourage her, the character’s sister shares: “In science, you never fail, you just discover new ways of doing things wrong until you get them right.” Maybe this is true also in life. I am learning how to do things wrong until I get it right. Also, I realize I may not be doing anything “wrong” at all – I may not be a good fit for what jobs are available, given my specific interests in a specialty unit.

I’ve reached out to one of the potential employers to get feedback on improving my job application. I may not get any response, but I figure it cannot hurt. One of my classmates got into Nursing school by making such an effort. When she applied to our program the first time, she was rejected. She courageously asked for feedback on what would make her a stronger candidate. She took that feedback, applied it, and got accepted on her second attempt the following year! Without seeking feedback, she may not have known what to do to make her a more desirable candidate.

If you’re experiencing rejections or fails and feel discouraged, you are not alone. Being successful is not about avoiding failure; it is about how you choose to respond to failure. Rejection or failure doesn’t need to be negatively internalized but can be neutrally viewed as feedback. Consider rejection or failure as an opportunity to collect data for additional learning! You may not be the proper fit for a particular role or organization or you are simply discovering how to do things wrong as you learn how to get things right. Either way, eat “no” for breakfast, and keep going!

Motivational Meditation – “Your Heart’s Desire”

I want to share a prayer/meditation a dear friend shared with me, right before she told me she would change career directions from Law to Medicine.  This prayer/meditation, “Your Heart’s Desire” helped motivate her as she discerned moving and leaving Southern California to attend medical school in Poland.  I love this prayer/poem, but neither my friend or I know who wrote it.

adult air beautiful beauty
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

“Your Heart’s Desire” is inspiring and speaks to the idea that we all have a calling in life.  Your “vocation” might be your occupation or profession, but per its Latin roots, your vocation is also your “calling” or your “summons” in life.  I feel like this calling to become a nurse was clear for me only recently – it could have been God’s timing or perhaps my stubbornness and inability to listen – but I truly feel called and drawn to nursing after many years of working as an engineer.  Maybe I needed to fulfill my calling to become a wife and mother before becoming a nurse, who knows?  Either way, I hope you enjoy this prayer/meditation and that maybe it speaks to you, too:

“Already in your past life from time to time, God has whispered into your heart just that very wonderful thing, whatever it is, that He is wishing you to be, and to do, and to have. And that wonderful thing is nothing less than what is called Your Heart’s Desire. Nothing less than that. The most secret, sacred wish that lies deep down at the bottom of your heart, the wonderful thing that you hardly dare to look at, or to think about–the thing that you would rather die than have anyone else know of, because it seems to be so far beyond anything that you are, or have at the present time, that you fear that you would be cruelly ridiculed if the mere thought of it were known–that is just the very thing that God is wishing you to do or to be for Him. And the birth of that marvelous wish in your soul–the dawning of that secret dream–was the Voice of God Himself telling you to arise and come up higher because He had need of you.” 

-Author Unknown