I know I’ve mentioned in passing on the blog before about being back in school pursuing a career change to nursing. I’ve been so busy since starting school that I don’t know that I’ve actually taken the time to discuss what nursing school really means to me. I can pretty much summarize it in one word.
Or maybe four words: Really Freakin’ Hard Growth.
As a very young adult, I was blessed to find a career I was able to excel in. I promoted quickly in a rapidly growing organization and while I made more mistakes than you have patience to hear about, I grew with the organization as a leader, an analyst, an employee, but more importantly as an individual. My career was in operations (numbers, analyzing, that sort of thing). I did this because I was good at it and it came easy, but it never really made my heart happy. And the longer I did it, the more obvious that became.
Oh, and also, I really dislike managing people. Mentoring people, I loved. I found that I often learned just as much from my employees as they learned from me. But managing people was hard, and not in the “good for you hard” but in the “do I really have to do this” hard. Not only did I have to put up with junk for employees with poor work ethic (and the employees who clearly were oscar winning actresses for hiding their issues long enough to be hired) but I had to deal with higher level management dictating to me what to do with or to my employees.
At first, I thought an employer change doing the same job would make me happy. And it did, for a while, but you can’t make yourself love something that you just don’t love. While the decision to leave the workforce came because E was too sick to be in daycare, truly I believe it was God’s way of finally saying to me, “I’ve tried to send you subtle signs, but you aren’t listening, you’re done.”
The three years I spent at home with E were a huge blessing to us. While for most of my life I couldn’t imagine being a stay-at-home parent, I now find myself wondering how I’ll ever return to work. Beyond my time with E though, my time away from corporate America has also allowed me to figure out not only what talents I have for things I’m naturally good at, but what actually makes me happy.
For years, I’ve felt a calling to be a nurse, and when E started school, I saw it as an opportunity for me to ease back into school part time (since she was/is in school part time) and then ease into full time once she did.
My first semester was fairly easy. I took classes that highlighted my natural talents of math and physical science. I received straight A’s with minimal effort, in hindsight, this was good. It gave me the confidence to sign up for a second semester, which was brutal. As I forge through the pre-requisites to (finally) start my nursing blocks, I’m realizing just how hard going back to school is.
For the past decade or so of my life, I’ve really only used the talents that I already had. Sure, I fine tuned them and enhanced them, but for over 10 years I’ve been using the same set of skills for the most part. The skills I need to be a successful nursing student (let alone nurse) are in-part those skills, but are also part skills that I haven’t used in a very, very long time. And friends, it is NOT like riding a bike.
Today, I was speaking to a friend who is exhausted from their infant child who is experiencing a Leap Week. At first, I comforted this friend assuring her it would pass (failing to mention another one would be all to soon behind it), but then I had a revelation.
I am in a Leap Week (or maybe a Leap 1/2 decade).
I am that cranky, whining, tired baby who can’t seem to comprehend or communicate WHY I’m frustrated or WHAT is frustrating me, only that I’m tired, and cranky, and frustrated, and confused.
And suddenly, my sympathy was with the infant, not my friend (sorry!)
That is what this growth is. I am exercising and stretching my knowledge. Physiologically I am forming new neuron pathways in my brain. Emotionally I am exhausted from the learning, and the studying and the (shitty) act of trying to balance school, studies, homework, mom-life, being a wife, being a daughter, and being a friend (of which the last three have kind of gotten the very slim pickings of what I have to offer).
And friends, this type of growth is HARD. And while I may be able to mask my frustrations a bit better than an infant, on the inside I am doing the exact same thing. Sitting on the floor, surrounded by juice, snacks, my favorite toys, and the people I love, but just crying for no apparent reason other than these physiological and emotional changes required for the growth I need (and want) to succeed are daunting and just hard.
Really freakin’ hard.