I began my journey of returning to school, to become a nurse, a little over a year ago. One Sunday afternoon, during a football game, Andy (everyone knows this is my wonderful husband, right?) saw a commercial that spoke of the demand for Registered Nurses. He turned to me and said, "You wanna be a nurse?" Ironically, I had been thinking about being a nurse for a while, so I said, "As a matter of fact I would!" This started the ball rolling for me. . . I hopped on the computer and started researching local colleges and the programs that they offered. Finally, I settled on Rhode Island College, mainly because they offer a Second Bachelor's Degree in which they take 90 credits from your first Bachelors to put toward the second. For those of you who don't know I have a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from Roger Williams University ('97).
In February 2010 I met with the Nursing School Department Chair and found out what I needed to do to be on my way into the program. She told me I need four prerequisite courses before I could apply to the nursing school (having a first BS in the biology field was very helpful!). I made the decision to take the first of my prerequisite classes during the Summer I session (2010). I filled out the financial aid forms feeling excited about what was to come! Unfortunately, once the forms were processed I learned that financial aid is not available for non-matriculating students (NOTE: Non-matriculating was a word that I quickly learned the meaning of, and if you are anything like me you have no idea what it means! Since I do now know the meaning, I will share it with you -- it simply means a student with no declared major who is simply taking some courses here and there for their own personal purpose). How was I going to pay for these classes? GAH! Things seemed bleak at this point and I was REALLY depressed, feeling so hopeless that my dreams had been crushed. After a lot of praying (Thank you to all of you who prayed with me and for me during this time, and thank you to GOD who makes all things possible) things came together and I was on my way! I must offer some more words of wisdom with you, given to me by one of my closest friends, Sarah "Supermom" Matthews, "Life is like a rock tumbler, the ride may seem rough, but when you come out you will be polished to a high mirror shine." These words stick with me through the tough times and remind me that what does not kill us only makes us stronger.
In late May I began taking my first class -- ANATOMY! with an amazing professor named Dr. Eric Hall (this is a selfish statement, made for my own benefit, so that when I look back in my old age at this blog I can remember who, what, when and where). I LOVED Anatomy and earned an A as my final grade in the course. Now I must take the time to thank two totally amazing women because I could never have aced this class without them -- Erica Mayer and Cindy Scott, I am convinced that we were destined to meet, if solely for the purpose of surviving Anatomy, and I consider you both to be life long friends! Thank you for all the study sessions and for your calming words before exams -- you guys are AMAZING and I wish you both all the best in your educational journeys!
Moving on to the Summer II. . . I had to leave my biology bubble and submerge myself in the world of Psychology. I DID NOT LIKE IT! While I admit the information was interesting, Psychology is such a grey science (if you can even call it a science --- my deepest apologies to any of you reading this who are psychology professionals) and I had a hard time accepting so many "theories." In addition, I had a professor with tenure who viewed himself as "the gate keeper" to the nursing program and made the course as difficult as he possible could. Nuff said! Human Development with Dr. David Sugarman was educational but not enjoyable. . . After reading a 600+ page book, cover to cover, in 6 weeks and studying, studying and more studying, I earned another A and ran screaming out of the world of Psychology. Once again, I must take time to thank another amazing woman -- Liz Carerra -- what would I have done without you? Marathon study sessions of psychological gobble-de-gook were not what I wanted to be doing for the month of August, but you made it fun and I thank you for that. Besos mi amiga! Buenos suerte!
After two much needed weeks off I then began the Fall 2010 semester. Microbiology with Dr. Deborah Britt (I've never met a Deborah I didn't like ;o) ) was a very enjoyable and educational class. I earned another A in this one and wanted to live in a sterile bubble for the rest of my life after learning about all the bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that share this planet with us. ICK! I also took Physiology with Dr. Jerry Montvilo, which again was very educational. The best part about this class was that my lab was taught by the most awesome professor in the universe -- Dr. Suzanne Conklin. It was a ton of fun to take this lab with her and she taught me many many wonderfully interesting things! Thank you Suzy! (For those of you who do not know, the Conklins are long time family friends of Andy's family and I have known Suzy for a very long time) In addition, I must thank Jill Puleo for her undying support and encouragement through the deciphering of the Physiology of the human body. Without your help, Jill, I could never have done it! Someday we will both be nurses and will look back on all this and laugh! Thankfully, I also ended this class with an A and put a high mirror shine to my 4.0 GPA!