Friday, December 29, 2017

Post #5 - Catching Up to Current

Today’s score
Cherries: 5 Pits: 4

I’m not sure where to start. Since I last wrote so much has happened and I am excited to share these last 8 months!!!
Shortly after my last blog I received confirmation that my application had been finalized and was being considered. Cherry 1: Not long after that, I receive another email I had been waiting for. I was accepted into the Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing at the local university!

Cherry 2: At the local community college I received a notice that I was on their waiting list. I kept that spot until everything was completely and totally finalized at the university. The community college has a competitive program too, and it would have been a strong alternative. 

Cherry 3: All the paperwork at the university went through without a hitch and I began my first semester of nursing school in August. I had many textbooks to buy and supplies to order, but it all worked out well. I used my new Amazon Prime account to get my textbooks quickly and because I filled out the FAFSA I was automatically considered for some financial aid and scholarships without even doing anything else!
There was one more lower division class I had to take so I signed up to take this class online at the community college (online was not available at the university). This allowed me to work on that class at home instead of having to figure out how to work it into the varying schedule of nursing school. :-)

Well, as you probably figure from the date of this post, I have now completed my first semester of nursing school!!! The entire program is three years long and includes classes during the next two summers. So I have 7 semesters of training left before I will have my BSN. I can hardly believe that by May 2020, I will have a BSN behind my name!
Then I will take the NC-LEX and will add the RN initials also. There is so much to do between now and then and I am so excited to see everything I end up experiencing!

Cherry 4: Even though I am just starting out I have gotten involved right away. 
I have become a member of the Student Nurses Association (SNA) and my school chapter. I am one of my class representatives and enjoy attending and participating in the monthly meetings.
I continue to volunteer in the local Emergency Department and since this is the type of nursing I am interested in, I have also become a member of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA). The monthly meetings for the local chapter are informational and make me feel like part of the team even though I am not out of school yet.

Pit 1: I recently discovered that my schedule in the Spring may keep me from being able to attend the monthly meetings, but I will remain connected and hopefully will be able to attend some of the special events or conferences that take place at a different time.

Pit 2: One of the challenges I had this semester was time management. I knew nursing school would be quite different from “regular” school, but I soon discovered that I was not prepared for all the forward planning I would need to do. Before nursing school, I had been working full-time and just taking a class or two at night. Now I am structuring my entire schedule around schoolwork and studying and I realize planning for two lecture classes and two clinical is not the same as taking two night classes. Now that I am on break, I am setting up my calendar to help me stay organized and looking ahead to due dates and planning enough time to practice and study.

Pit 3/Cherry 5: In addition to studying and planning I had some difficult professors. Before I even met one of my professors I heard from several past students that the professor was really challenging! I was determined to keep an open mind and I found that since the professor was not a “favorite” the professor had extra time to help me learn! That ended up being a plus for me. 😃  Another professor had a different teaching style that took a little while to get used to. No more of the professor giving you a completed study guide of everything you need to know for an exam. I have to go home and study and learn the material in depth so I can answer questions about why this or why not that. In fact, at one point I did so poorly on one of my exams that I seriously thought I might be forced to start the semester over again. This made me study extra hard for the next exam and I pulled off an acceptable grade so I can move forward (*sigh of relief*)!

My focuses for my break between semesters is to get super organized, as I love to be, so I have a binder and folder for each class. I want to update my calendar to include all my due dates as soon as I get them and begin planning for time to work on papers etc.

Pit 4: Another step to complete is the (hopefully) final steps on my Hep B immunization. It turned out before school started, that the required Hep B titer didn’t show a sure sign of immunity. This meant I had to get three boosters and then I have to get another titer drawn. My third shot needs to be done this week and then the titer done next month. This is just in time for the deadline…of course. 😉

For now that’s all I can think of to bring you up to speed! I hope you all had a wonderful Winter/Christmas/Year-end celebration with your family and friends!!!

Happy New Year!

Running total
Cherries: 19
Pits: 13

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Post #4 - A Sense of Humor

Cherries: 8 Pits: 5

Pit 1: Let me start by saying I only have one day until the deadline for the Intent to Enroll fee at the university where I hope to attend nursing school. However, I can’t pay the fee until I have been provisionally accepted as a student. I haven’t been accepted, but I haven’t been denied either, so here stands the dilemma that began my day.

Cherry 1: I woke up extra early this morning because 30 minutes before my morning class I needed to sign up for my next semester classes. That sounds easy except my normal schedule places me in my car, driving to my class, 30 minutes before my class starts. So I decided, today I would get to school early and sign up for my next semester. 
I got dressed early, I ate breakfast early, and read an uplifting story in the newspaper.

Pit 2: When I got outside and started my car, the engine coolant light came on. I think I stared at it for a few moments hoping it would just go off. When the light didn’t go out, I turned off my car and called my dad.

Cherry 2: Thankfully, my car has a tendency toward a “coolant deficiency” so there was a bottle of coolant in the garage. My dad knew right where it was, and I have done this before. In a matter of minutes I had the coolant filled and was ready to go. 

So much for getting to school early to sign up for next semester! I ended up leaving 5 minutes later than my normal time.

I turned on my radio for uplifting music as I drove to school.

Cherry 3: I made it to school in great time watching my speedometer carefully to be sure I didn’t speed. At school I put up my parking permit and headed to class. Even with the delay I was able to sign up for next semester and get the classes I wanted! Yay!

Cherry 4: After signing up for next semester I immediately went to pay. Surprisingly the total for the semester seemed really low. It was only about 10% of what I expected it to be . . . that's 10% of what I thought it should be!!! I thought I had somehow made a mistake, but another student helped me look at it and confirmed the good news. As it turns out the California Community Colleges Board of Governors offers a fee waiver for qualifying students. I had applied for the waiver “accidentally” when I filled out my FAFSA. 
You know, the FAFSA that I only filled out because the university required it? Yeah, that one! 😃
I wonder how much money I could have saved if I had filled out a FAFSA every year I was at the community college. Hmmm, no . . . I don’t need to go digging for pits.

I paid the amazingly small amount for next semester just before the professor came in to start our class.

Pit 3/Cherry 5: Right after class, I started talking to a fellow student who applied to the same university as me, but also hasn’t heard anything about acceptance or denial. She even told me about another friend of hers who is experiencing the same problem. 
I found this encouraging because as the deadline got closer I had really started to worry that I was the only person who hadn’t heard yet. Then I wondered if the issue was only students applying for the nursing program. 
In this case, I am applying for Nursing, my classmate is doing Kinesiology, and her friend is doing Communications. That means all different types of applications are delayed.
Our professor heard us talking and strongly suggested we drive over to the university and talk to Admissions about the status of our applications and the fee we need to pay.
This decided it for me and I offered to give my classmate a ride over and back so we could go together.

Pit 4: As I left the community college campus, headed for the university, I got turned around and wasn’t sure how to get where we were going.

Cherry 6: We had to stop at a long red light that gave my classmate time to look up the directions on her smartphone!

Pit 5: We bought a 2-hour parking pass and parked in the university parking lot. As I was getting out of the car, I placed the sunshades in my front window and made sure to tuck the parking pass against the window so it could be seen from the outside. 
Just as I closed the door, the pass slipped over sideways and ended up between the front windshield vents and the windshield itself. In this location, the corner of the pass was visible, but there was no way to read it or confirm if it was still valid.
I tried to catch the edge with my fingernail, but my finger couldn’t even reach it. My classmate suggested a pencil, but it didn’t have a small enough end. Then I tried a car key, but it was too short and not flexible.

Cherry 7: Laughing the whole time, my classmate and I tried one thing followed by another. 
Then my classmate suggested a paper clip and pulled one out of her bag. It was a nice large one! 
The unbend paper clip had a small end, was the perfect length, and with a little sliding back and forth, we got the parking pass out. 😃 It’s a good thing we bought a 2-hour pass!

I decided to leave my sunshade down and put the parking pass flat on the dashboard. I didn’t want a repeat of the fun we had just finished. 😉

Cherry 8: Admissions wasn’t busy and we each quickly received help from the staff. We were both told that our applications were still in the finalizing stages. We were also encouraged to hear that we can pay our university fee just as soon as we have been accepted even if that date is after the deadline we were previously given. 
In other words, we still need to check every single day. 
At least it was a confirmation that we weren’t missing anything!

I got to say, it’s amazing to me how many “cherries" you can find in your day when you think about the small details that make up each moment of each day.

Running total
Cherries: 14
Pits: 9

Friday, January 13, 2017

Post #3 - Today's Pits and Cherries

Score - Cherries 6: Pits 4
I have had a day full of pits and cherries and it’s not even lunchtime yet. Let me tell you about it! 😃 
I woke up early this morning to deliver an application to one of the nursing schools. I dressed up in black pants and a pretty top and wore waterproof shoes so I wouldn’t end up with wet feet because of the recent rain. 
I had time for breakfast and some House and Garden channel before I left.

Pit 1:
As I was getting to my car with my travel mug of tea, my application packet slipped out of my hands and right into the water at my feet! I just stood there for several seconds looking at the pages soak up the water. *sigh*
With a slow breath, in and out, I gathered up the pages and took them back into the house. I spread them out and took stock of their condition. 
I will have to print out everything again, re-fill out the application itself, and talk to my current employer on Monday about signing a new copy of the letter that proves I have been employed while completing my prerequisite classes.

Cherry 1:
Not to be deterred from having a productive day I made a phone call to be sure the hospital internship office was open so I could pick up a certificate I earned for my Patient and Customer Focused service. 
I had received an email earlier in the week, but this was my first chance to get over there.

Pit 2:
The office wasn’t open yet. Since i got up early, I had planned to drop off my application first and then stop by the intern office. It was still too early for them to be open. Pretty frustrating!

Cherry 2:
I told myself yesterday I would go to the gym for an energetic workout today. Now because my plans for the morning changed, I exchanged my dressy clothes for workout clothes and headed over to the gym. 
My workout was great! I got my heart pumping and the music I listened to was super motivating, both for my exercise time and to power me thru the rest of the day. 😃

Cherry 3:
After the gym I called the internship office and found out they were open. With a smile on my face, I changed back into my clothes from before and drove over to pick up my certificate. I got a chance to have a great conversation with the lady at the front desk. She and I have worked together before and it was fun to see her again after so long.

Pit 3: 
As she handed me the certificate, she asked me a question about it and we quickly discovered there was an error on the certificate. I would need to come back again in a few days to pick up the corrected one! 

Cherry 4: 
Just before I left, another woman in the office came forward to ask the other lady if she had a screw driver. With a laugh the lady said, “No.” 
I opened my purse and pulled out my pink pocket multi-tool. A really good friend of mine gave it to me a few years ago. This made us all smile.  It was just the right size for what the woman needed. 😃 It’s so much fun to be able to help, even in the small ways! 
Thanks for the pocket multi-tool, my friend!

Next I stopped by my local community college to get some help with printing my unofficial transcript. 
Yes, I did say unofficial transcript. At home, I can look at it on the screen, but it won’t print correctly. It either prints tiny or with the information running off the page. 

Pit 4:
So at the counseling office, I asked the scheduler, at the desk out front, about getting the unofficial transcript printed. She said she would print it for me and we used her computer. However, she got the same results I got at home. 
Crazy, don’t you think! That I can’t print my own unofficial transcript! 😃

Cherry 5: 
After waiting for one of the counselors to finish his meeting, the scheduler asked him to help us. The counselor was able to print my unofficial transcript just fine. 
Now, why do you think the counselor was the only one who could do that? 😉 

Cherry 6: 
On my way home, I stopped at the grocery store and while I was there I saw another woman I haven’t seen in a really long time. It was so great to see her! We talked for several minutes and caught up. 
Who knows if I would have seen her at all if the rest of my morning had gone the way I thought it was going to when I got up early. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss seeing her.

The days not over yet, but I say it’s a great sign that I have more cherries than pits! 😃

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Post #2 - Always Learning

Hi and happy Wednesday evening!
Today I woke up early and studied one last time before heading over to school for my TEAS exam. This time the test is weighted more toward science knowledge so I focused mainly on that subject for my final review.

The test felt pretty good for the most part! There were some things I didn’t know and a couple questions I had to read a few times before i realized what they were actually asking, but overall the experience was really good.

I met one of my fellow testers on our break and found out that she is already an LVN. This experience gave her extra confidence on the science part of the TEAS test. She told me a little bit about her current job as an LVN and I learned some new things about another branch of the job.

That is one thing I have learned through my learning and training so far, I can learn something by doing just about anything. Sometimes its the info you study to pass a test, sometimes its talking to someone about what they do for work or play, and sometimes its about messing up and learning through that. I even found myself learning new facts by reading the English and Grammar paragraphs on the TEAS test.  😃 

Post #1 - Recognizing Cherries and Pits

Hi all,
Welcome to my new blog! Glad to have you with me.
I am a pre-nursing student currently volunteering at the local hospital and learning a lot every day I am there. Now as I am applying to nursing school I decided to start writing down some of what I have learned and will surely learn in nursing school and beyond. 
Even from my limited experience, I know the life of a student nurse is not always fun and rewarding (sweet fruit). Sometimes it can also include difficult people, differences of opinion, the possibilities of mistakes, other negative experiences (pits and stems). 😃
I came across a pit in the sweet cherry of my student nurse experiences several months ago when I was notified that a new TEAS (nursing entrance test) was open. I have already taken the older version of the TEAS test a year and a half ago right after I finished all my science prerequisites. Now most of the schools I am applying to require that I take the new version of the test.
So now I need to brush up on my English, Grammar, Science, and Math for a test right after Christmas! Yes, that exclamation point is there more for emphasis than from joy. 😃 
Until next time!