Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Complete state of flux

I've posted it before (too often, perhaps), about how difficult and frustrating being in a state of transition is.  One part of me is so keen to just get on with this career change and hit the books, while the other part wants time to come to a screeching halt, as school is starting too soon (just over 9 weeks from now).

In the meantime, work continues on as always.  No paperwork has started yet for my leaving, honestly I don't even know yet what the procedure is.  I've been told I'll likely get my leave approved, that various people and committees have discussed it, and they all think it is OK.  I just don't have any closure on that front yet, so that's why I haven't started any formal proceedings with HR yet...because there is a big difference between paperwork for a leave of absence, and leaving permanently.

I'm also in total confusion about working part time.  I've decided that teaching music is the way to go, and I'm pondering the pros/cons of going to work at a music school, or setting up a private music studio.  Also, the fact that I've been out of school for a number of years has to be factored in.  I think I've somewhat forgotten the realities of studying.  My schedule may look empty enough on paper, compared to a full-time work week, but studying has to be included.  Will I have time to even teach music???  I also have a 'mommy' and a 'wife' role to play, on top of everything else....and one of the main reasons I'm leaving my current job is so that we have a semblance of work/life balance.  Am I taking on too much (theoretically)!?!?

However, all this is still thinking, and nothing is yet actual. 

Get my drift, about why I'm feeling that everything is in a state of transition, yet everything is still exactly the way it's been for a long time???

A small part of me just wants this whole issue to go away, and simply stay on the known track.  This won't happen, but it would just be so easy.

Another thing that would be so simple, is to forget nursing school, and set up my music studio and teach music full-time.  I already have a second career ready to go -- it is there for the taking.  I used to do it.  Again, so, so simple on so many levels.

Yet, I just cannot shake off this crazy medical "thing".  I use the word "thing" as I cannot quite describe it -- perhaps "vocation" is the most appropriate word.  I know I will be so disappointed and let down and frustrated if I don't take this nursing school opportunity.  Teaching music would be easy, rewarding (at times!) and fun.  But in the long term, it isn't my 'passion', like the medical 'thing'. 

Don't get me wrong -- music is a huge part of my life -- and I am very much looking forward to teaching children again.  I will definitely teach again.  It is just that it doesn't pull me in like medicine does.  I guess as far as careers go, music is a love, a definite part of my life since forever, but not truly my vocation, not a "need".

I guess I'm just looking to finally have some clarity and some decisions made.  To finally have something on paper and out of my head.

Yep, some clarity would be great and very appreciated about now.  Hopefully it will come sooner than later. :-)

Happy Canada Day !!!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wow, Friday already.  Where has the week gone???  This has been an exceptionally busy week at work for me.  A corporate event I had been organizing for a few months took place on Tuesday.  It went very well, and I am relieved that it is over!  A few other events also took place in the latter part of this week, making it, as I said, exceptionally busy.  Busy is good -- I love being busy at work.

I am turning into an academic 'keener'.  I recently got hold of the anatomy & physiology textbook that I'll be using in the coming school year, and I can keep it until the fall.  So I have started reviewing the material.  I am very pleased (and greatly relieved!!!) that so far, what I have read has been a good review of the physiology classes I took (many) years ago during my BSc degree.  It is not so much the physiology classes I am concerned about -- actually, those I am greatly looking forward to, as I loved my physiology classes in 3rd and 4th year university. 

Rather, my concern is the memorizing of the anatomy...will my memory be what it used to me???  We shall see.  What I do remember (see, all is not lost!  LOL!) from my previous anatomy classes, is that there was an awful lot to learn in a very short period of time.  Back then, it was not only a question of learning the names of the muscles and bones (and tendons and blood vessels and...), but we also had to learn where they originated from and where they inserted into. 

And for our lab exams, we were faced with about 45 covered pans, each containing a dissected critter, and we had 30 seconds at each station to uncover the speciment, take a look at it, and write down the origin, insertion point and of course, name of the item that had the pin stuck in it.  Then on to the next station.  I'm not sure if the nursing anatomy exams will be this involved (after all, we are now doing human anatomy, not 10+ different critters like in my previous classes), but regardless, there will be a lot of memorizing to do.  And the earlier I can get learning it, the better.  It is a academic confidence boost, if nothing else.

And finally, to end this week with a quote I find inspirational, here it is below.  I know that no job will ever be 'perfect', but it would sure be nice to feel at least some of the time, that I'd be doing this work even if they didn't pay me.  That's certainly how I felt during those many hundreds of hours I've spent volunteering in various hospital departments.  Hey, I did work there, loved it and they didn't pay me.  Now I'll get to go back to that environment, and even get a salary.  Doesn't get better than that, as a job, in my books!

"Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life."
-- Confucius

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday's inspirational words

Today's quote(s!) -- yes, 3 of them -- all come from Mother Teresa. 
She is a person whom I greatly admire.  I was priviledged enough to hear speak, and see in person from a very close distance, when she visited Canada many years ago.  I couldn't believe how tiny she was!!!  From the images I'd seen on TV, I knew she wasn't a tall woman, but when I actually stood a few people away from her, she was positively miniscule.  It still amazes me how one (tiny) person could accomplish such great things.  She did it all from the love she had for everyone.
I have read many of her quotes over the years, and always, the themes that underscore her work and life, are 'love' and 'peace'. 
"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it."
Mother Teresa

"May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us." ..."
Mother Teresa

"Peace begins with a smile."
Mother Teresa

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Working during nursing school

To work or not work during nursing school?    Yes and no.

It certainly can be done.  I worked full time when I did my Master's degree (and graduated top of the class, if I might be so bold as to add that tidbit of info!) :-) So I know first-hand that it can be done.

But this upcoming school stint will be very different, in that I am no longer a single, childless woman.  I now have mommy and wife responsibilities (and I love that!!!).  I've seriously considered working part-time at my current job during my first couple years at nursing school, but between work, school, studying, and day-to-day life stuff, it may just be a bit much to do.  I still think it could be done, but it goes counter to one main reason I'm leaving my work -- namely because our current work/life balance (or lack thereof!) is burning us out and stressing us all.

However, I do think I will work part-time doing something I used to do a long time ago.  Teach music!  There is a music school very near our house, where I would like to teach for a few hours each week.  The commute is extremely close (I could even walk there), and I wouldn't have to go through the effort of setting up my own piano studio just yet.  I dream one day of having my own little music studio. 

Ideally, I'd love to work part-time as a nurse, and part-time as a music teacher from home.  Those are my two areas of work/life that I'm most passionate about, and always have been.  Imagine actually having both of them as "work" -- goes with the motto I love most -- "do what you love, love what you do."   It may finally be coming true for me.  Yahoo!  :-)

I used to teach piano in high school, under the guidance of my own piano teacher.  After finishing my Gr. 10 RCM piano exam in high school, I went on to study music at university and graduated with a BMus. degree.  Then I got my current job, and was so happy to have a job, that life took me down my current path.  So I definitely have the qualifications to teach, as well as experience (albeit a long time ago!).  But when I honestly look at how I related to the children I taught then, compared to what I know now about children, I have a completely new and deeper understanding and appreciation of how children are.  I will definitely now be a much better music teacher in terms of how to motivate them, cultivate their musical abilities and encourage them.

I've been wanting to make music a greater part of my life for many years now, and it looks like that time is coming closer now.  And I think perhaps it might be a better idea to make a clean break from the work I do now, rather than making an even more protracted transition.  I love writing and will always do some form of communications-related work in my life (be it public health nursing or freelance writing), but just not in the particular industry I am currently in.

It amazes me somewhat, what the spin-off effects of making one major life decision can have on other parts of your life!  And I mean positive effects!  :-)

Onwards and upwards.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday's words of inspiration

Here is a poem I had on my bedroom wall during my high school years.  I still love the text as a whole, but I also find that individual sentences resonate at different times, depending on the situation at hand.




Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Work/life balance and school/life balance

One major reason I am looking forward to starting nursing school, is that our current family life, with 3 kids and both parents working full-time, is not sustainable for us.  Some families manage this, are uber-organized and don't mind having a scheduled, planned daily life.  I salute you if you are like this, and if this works for you.  It just does not work for us.  We are not super-organized, and enjoy spontaneity. 

I really enjoy spending unstructured, unscheduled time with my kids.  They are such interesting, loving, little people, and even in the relatively short time we've been parents, we have realized just how fleeting the childhood phase is.  Making the most of 'quality time' just isn't enough.  I so enjoy the spontaneous conversations and questions that crop up when we are drawing pictures together, walking the dog or just having the kids hanging around as I'm getting dinner ready. 

Some people indicate that nursing school is the 'hardest thing they've ever done'.  I agree that it will be work, perhaps more work at times than others, but will it ever compare to the 50+ hours each week that I am away from the family now?  No.  Will it be harder than the science degree I have?  No, especially given that a lot of the physiology courses I have already studied. Will it be harder than working full-time while getting my MA full-time?  I doubt it. 

I believe my nursing school experience will provide the work-home balance that is currently missing in our home life. 

My course load will be somewhat reduced in the first couple years, given that I've been accorded credits from previous studies.  In the first term of the coming two years, I will only have 3 courses each term, and 4 courses in the winter terms -- that's a total of 9 and 12 hours of class, respectively.  Even with study time factored in, my weekly school commitment will be far less than the 50+ hours a week a currently have to devote to my job and commute. 

It is a question of being organized, dedicated and committed to a study schedule. 

My youngest child will still be in school only half-days during my first year of studies.  How I am looking forward to being home in the afternoons with her!!!  And being home when the older two come home from school will make such a difference in our lives.  At the risk of sounding like Mrs. Cleaver, my being home will also allow me to have dinner ready, and we can eat as soon as dear husband comes home from work.  And that leaves the rest of the evening wide open to whatever family activity is on the agenda.  That was the way our family life worked were when I was on my maternity leaves, and it worked beautifully for us.  The difference this time, is that I won't be walking around in that bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived delirium state that newborns bring by subjecting moms (and dads) to months of not getting more than 2-3 hours sleep at a stretch, 24/7, for the first 9-10 months. But I digress....

Our lifestyle changes will be excellent.  One way I can easily rationalize this career decision, is that we've come to the conclusion that regardless of whether or not I'm going to nursing school, I am leaving my full-time job. 

As I said, our current lifestyle is not sustainable, and not healthy for our family. With family being our priority, and having the proven ability to live comfortably off one salary, this is what is best for us. Going to nursing school, is just an added bonus for me. 

And once I start my nursing career, I hope to only ever work part-time and casual shifts (that's the thinking now...this is all subject to change, of course!).  Nursing is a very flexible career, and from the many nurses who I've talked to with families, they all love how the various shifts gives them time to spend at home, rather than doing the 8-5, Monday-Friday drill all the time.

Positive changes for our family coming our way!!!  I am so happily looking forward to them.  And the old saying of "If the momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" rings very true.  Things are a changin' for the better!!!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday inspirational quote

Even though I manage to write in my blog once every few days, I think I need some structure in my blog writing.  From now on, every Friday I will post a quote I find inspirational, as applicable to career change, transition, and simply put, to life.


“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” - Buddha

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Three more months

Three months -- that is how soon nursing school starts.  Just three more months.  Three  more months of going to work, of having a paycheque and three more months of having a chaotic home life where we never seem to have the time and energy to get anything more than the basics done (and sometimes even the basics don't quite get done on time). 

The end of this (extremely) long transition period seems suddenly very close.  And very surreal. 

As I've mentioned before, one reason I started writing this blog is because I couldn't find somebody else's blog detailing the process of willingly leaving a good, secure job to go fulfill one's dream job.  I figured that perhaps writing the process out would at least help me work through the issues one faces when deciding to take off the 'golden handcuffs'.  Reading somebody else's blog is one thing -- it is easy.  Trying to figure out the issues on your own blog -- not always so easy!

So I apologize if I appear to be waffling on this decision -- I am not.  I truly want to be a nurse, to work in the medical environment, to be able to assist others through medical knowledge (both teaching and doing actual procedures).  I am extremely grateful to have this opportunity at this stage in my life.

It is just that it is a huge decision.  Admittedly, it is something that I've been contemplating and analyzing the pros/cons for at least the last 12 years, so some thought has gone into it already!  :-)  But thinking about something is extremely different than actually doing something.  Thinking is 'safe', as you can always put off the thinking.  Actually making the decision real, that's a commitment.  And right now, I am at that stage of truly making this commitment by soon giving official notice in my current job.

I am so looking forward to leaving the transition stage, rolling up my sleeves, and hitting the books and soon enough after that, starting clinicals.

I just want to finally start.