Monday, December 19, 2011

One BScN semester finished!!!

I'm all done. And now I am sick with the cold I've managed to not succumb to until exams were finished. Some things just don't change...this was seemingly always the case when I was a university student, many years ago.

I don't know if it is just me, or if getting older is a factor, but it seems to take me longer to fully realize that something is finished. The past few weeks were so intense, so focused on my courses, that when suddenly, as I left the last exam, they were all over. Nothing hanging over my head to review, no pressure, no nothing. Finito. I was in somewhat of a daze for the next 24 hours or so, trying to believe this new reality.

Now a new reality has overtaken me, and that is Christmas preparations! I plan to write a re-cap of the first semester of "nursing school as a mature student" blog entry...lessons learned, best practices, etc etc (doesn't that sound very work-like!?), but right now, I have just one "lesson learned" that I need to write.

This time next year will be very different, in how I plan Christmas! Certain things have to start way sooner, because I didn't realize, or I'd just plain forgotten, how intense studying for final exams is.

Now it is all done. I think everything went very well. I genuinely thank my friends and family for all the support I've received over the past months in this adventure. I have met many wonderful people in my classes, with whom I look forward to deepening friendships. It is an incredible feeling to be studying something that I truly love. And it is finally (see para 2, above!), finally starting to seem "real" that I will actually be a nurse at the end of this experience. It is starting to sink in.

Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noël!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One down, two to go

Well, the first one is over.  I have no idea how I did, which is exactly the feeling I had after writing the second midterm in this course, which ended up being just great.  Let's hope history repeats itself.

Back to the books again, but I'll leave this snippet that I heard on the radio the other day, which made me smile..."Stressed is just Desserts, spelled backwards."

Here's to desserts!!!  :-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another day closer

I was going to write the title of this post as "Another day closer to the end", but decided that sounded too ominous.

I have realized that being a mature student with a family and a "real life" (i.e. "grown up life"), that Christmas preparations are NOT compatible with being a student and studying for final exams!!!

Will have to make a mental note of this fact and planner differently (i.e. better) next year.  I'm hoping to get my Christmas cards out this coming weekend.  Then I hit the stores for some serious shopping...

First exam tomorrow morning!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Almost there...

Poor, lonely, neglected blog. At least it doesn't give me the pitiful looks our dog gives me, who is also feeling somewhat lonely and neglected these days (although she got two walks yesterday, so that was a very good day!  It is OK to procrastinate studying if one is exercising, right???)

The end of the first term of nursing school is in sight.  Exams finish on Friday.  I just have to keep going for a few more days.

The croup my youngest started on Wednesday night turned into a full-blown chest/sinus infection by Friday.  It never ceases to amaze me how illnesses in kids always seem to get worse at night, either the fever spikes, or the coughing fits are relentless.  We had four almost completely sleepless nights, my little one and I.  Last night was much better, though, so things are on the mend.  Now I just have to stay healthy (cough, cough)...

Only 4 more days to go.

Unbelievable.  :-)

Back to the books now.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

And cue....croup!

Groggy from being up most of the night with my youngest, who developed croup.  C.o.f.f.e.e.

Croup freaked me out completely the first time I encountered it, when my oldest child was little.  It strikes in the middle of the night, when the child wakes up with a barking cough, and not able to breathe, after they've gone to bed feeling seemingly OK.  Now it still freaks me out a bit on the inside (it's scary to hear a child struggling for breath like that), but now I know exactly what it is, and what to do.

Nonetheless, knowing what one is dealing with is only half the battle.  The other half is still having to be up most of the night with a sick child.  I didn't have this to deal with when I was a student the first time.

She will have a 'sick day' home from school, and get to watch movies to her hearts content, colour and work on some simple crafts, as her mama studies all day. 

And the respiratory system is one of the topics on the final for the physiology exam.  Croup is a different type of review for that exam!  Lol!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

So tired of snide comments about this career change

Yes, got it again today from an aquaintance whom I haven't seen in awhile.  She put it bluntly, after addressing me as "Mrs. Student", laughing, asking "So are you the oldest person in the class???"  What if I was?  Would that question make me, or anyone in my shoes, feel any better?  Yes, that's hilarious to poke fun at my age and being at university, and while you're at it, play up the mid-life crisis angle, why don't you. 

I am so tired of having to explain myself for this career change decision.  Yes, clearly I know it's part of the territory of making such a change, given that it's not a common occurrance.  Yes, I know this looks like a raging mid-life crisis, but for those who know me the best, they can attest to the fact that a career change has been discussed, analyzed, dreamed of for altogether too many years before it actually happened.  And even if it was a mid-life crisis, is it really such a sin to be re-training for a different career, one that gives a person personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day?  Is that truly such a bad thing?

Is it the difference between choosing to switch careers, over having to change what makes it less valid?  Is that what makes my decision seem so hilarious and absurd to some people?  Some people just cannot understand why I would leave a well paying, secure job to do this change.  It is somehow more acceptable to be going to nursing school to be upgrading your life to a better paying job, over deciding that one would love to do more fulfilling work?

Guess I just have to keep reminding myself that this is not forever, just a few more years, and then I'll be back in a regular, multi-generational work environment, where I'll just be 'regular' again.  Or go back to my job waiting for me, and be 'regular' again.  (But when have I ever been 'regular'???)

So frustrating.  And the pressure of the immense workload of preparing for cumulative final exams is starting to affect me, even though they don't start until the 14th of December. 

But when I look back at the past three months, they have also been among the best I've ever had.  I've had so much precious time to spend one-on-one with my youngest daughter, my other two children are thriving and loving to be able to come home, relax and play with friends they invite over, instead of spending so many hours at daycare, both before and after school.  Dinner time is more relaxed when my better half comes home, given that the food is ready to eat.  Our lives are more relaxed in general, and our family is better off for it.

I guess I'll just be an endless source of bizarre entertainment to some.  No, it doesn't feel good, but what does feel good are all the other times I get to spend living my life with a focus on the priorities that are most important to us.  I'm not making the big life choices based on pleasing others and am not doing what they think I should be doing any more.  So I guess, the logical conclusion is just to let them laugh and tease.  All I can say -- despite all the transition, change, uncertainty, stress of exams, of re-integrating into a classroom, of being a mature student, of losing my paycheque and job title, and re-inventing myself as a student -- is that I hope they're as happy as I am.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Classes ending

So the first term of nursing school is slowly winding down.  Seven more to go!  Two classes finished yesterday, and anatomy and physiology still left to finish. Then I'll have just over a week off, to prepare for final exams. 

I must admit, that the past few months have felt very long, in terms of how much work I've been doing and in all the new experiences and life changes involved in leaving a career/workforce and being a student again, yet in hindsight, the time has truly flow by.

My second round of "midterm" exams went exceedingly well.  I am very pleased to see that my brain is not only still working very well in the world of academia (at other times it is questionable!), and that I am maintaining an A+ average, something that didn't happen in my science degree, the first time 'round at university. 

A friend recently told me of a study (I have no idea which one, have no idea if it is 'valid', but for once, I don't care), saying that "they" discovered that the human brain tends to peak at age 45 for academic success.  I'm not there yet, I'll even be done school before then, but it's a nice feeling to know that I am still on the upswing of academic brain power!  LOL!!!

While it is a great feeling achieving results like these, it does add extra pressure to maintaing these marks during final exams.  On the flip side, I am already in the program, and just passing the courses is all that is really required.  That, however, is not me.  I may not always get A+, and that's OK, but I do need to feel that I tried and did my best. 

It is just hitting me, exactly how much studying (or more precisely, memorizing), will be involved for these finals.  Ouf!!!