I GRADUATED!

What an exciting time it has been! I haven’t posted much since I have been in nursing school because it has definitely been a roller coaster ride. So, I want to take you on a journey through my time in the nursing program. Buckle up!

This was the first day of the program; I had no idea what to expect. The entire first day was all about orientation. We met all of the people who would become our family over the next year as well as listened to all of the rules and policies we were expected to follow. And, oh boy, were there a lot of rule. The level of students above us made us a sweet welcome gift to encourage us and make us feel welcomed.

As Level One went on, we began learning skills that we would later needs to care for our patients. Who knew that even making a bed could be so detailed? Everything seemed to have so many steps to follow and, at some point, everything sort of was blending together. Finally, however, we were at the end of the first semester and a third of the way done!

All summer I had been having knee troubles. As it turns out, I had a discoid meniscus that was tearing in the center. I am sure you can imaging how fun it was. So, our last day of Level one was on August 16th for our one week break. I had knee surgery on August 17th and went back to school on August 27th without missing a beat. Luckily for me, clinicals at facilities did not start for about 2 weeks so I got some time to recover.

Now we were on to Level Two. We had NO IDEA what was coming. Level one was easy enough, but no longer were we resting on our laurels. All of a sudden lectures got longer, tests got harder, there were way more tests, and now we had clinical paperwork. It was difficult to keep our head above water. However, they say if you can survive Level two, then you’re doing good. This is how the program was described to us: Level one is like the waves gently rolling over your feet, just getting them wet. Level two is like a giant tidal wave just crashing into you over and over again, with you barely able to keep your head above the water. Then, there is Level three – a full on tsunami crashing into you from every direction that just never lets up.

In the middle of the second semester, I was in a wreck and had a concussion. However, I couldn’t really afford to miss any work or school so I was just toughing it out without telling many people. My mom also had a heart scare, but all of the tests ended up coming back clear! Also, over Christmas, I was diagnosed with H.Pylori after an ER trip with extreme abdominal pain which meant a few weeks of antibiotics. My mom also had two anaphylactic reactions right before school started back for Level three. We were definitely longing for school to be over.

Oh, Level Three. We thought Level two was rough… We had a great Christmas break which made it even harder to go back in January. We were ready to jump right back in because we were that much closer to graduating. For the first two semesters, we had the same instructors, but now we had to learn new instructors – what they expect and how they test. There was a learning curve, but we finally caught the hang of it. We thought they couldn’t possibly throw any more homework, clinical paperwork, or tests our way than we have in Level two, but we were wrong. It seemed like there was stuff coming at us from every direction, and we couldn’t catch a break! (We didn’t really take many pictures because we were too tired)

Finally, comes graduation. It was bittersweet for sure. In the beginning, they told us these people would become like family through this program, but I don’t think we really understood. We all went through so much together and came out better for it. As crazy as this whole experience was, I wouldn’t trade it. I am so thankful for the group of people that were by my side through the best and worst of it.

Oh, you thought we were done? Nope. After graduation, we still had to take the NCLEX to be licensed. I think I was the first one in my class to take it, and I am thrilled to be able to say I PASSED!! I cannot put into words how thankful I am for all of the prayers and encouragement of my family and friends through this time.

—Nurse Zoee

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