I have never been so relieved to be done with a term as I was yesterday at 1:45pm. Everyone said this would be the hardest term of the RN year: the first clinical term, with chronic care as the theme, and still having to deal with Patho and Pharm. By comparison, next term is going to be a breeze! (More on that in another post…first, I need a few more celebratory drinks and pajama days with my stack of books.)
If I learned anything this term, it is this:
It feels hard to write about because, well, sometimes it’s easier to put on the cheerful persona and pretend that I feel confident and competent about this whole nursing school thing:
“How’s school going?”
“Oh, you know…it’s hard but we’re learning so much!”
The truth? This term was hard. I didn’t love every minute of it. It was hard to sit everyday with the experiences of chronic illness and end of life care. It was hard, sometimes almost impossible, to balance school and personal life. It was hard to stay motivated when I walked into the ten billionth poorly organized, unimaginative Powerpoint of my life.
I was not a graceful spouse this term. Nor was I much of a good daughter, present friend, or most attentive student. I certainly was not particularly kind to my body (sorry about the caffeine and lack of exercise…I promise, we’ll get back on track!).
I also learned a lot. Maybe not as much about nursing per se, but about life. I learned a fraction of the thousand ways one can be with patients in difficult moments. I came face to face, once again, with myself and those old habits of thought and that lingering self-doubt. I learned how to hold tight to what keeps me going when all I want to do is say “I’m not enough.” I saw glimmers of how I want to craft my practice as a nurse-midwife and teacher.
In sum, getting through this term felt a little bit like dodging an avalanche.
Mostly, I learned that I can do it. Maybe not gracefully all the time, but I can make this dream happen for myself.
So here’s to finishing the second term. Here’s to self-care and self-confidence and being gentle with myself. Here’s to re-connecting with friends and family and with the calling that led me here in the first place.
Here’s also to cleaning my desk and the kitchen and doing the laundry. And books!! (Recommendations accepted)