The above picture is my self portrait for graduation. This afternoon I graduate nursing school.
It’s bitter-sweet for sure. For the last 2 years I’ve been in the same building, in the same two class rooms and three labs, being taught by the same 7 faculty members. We started off with 38 students and ended up with 32. We experienced three marriages, two pregnancies, one miscarriage, and because half of our classmates’ spouses are active military, many deployments. Some days we would spend 10 hours at school only to come home and spent 6 more hours with our heads in our books. We’d have one, sometimes two tests and one to three clinicals a week. More often than not we were overwhelmed and stressed. We’d been known to scream and cry. We’ve missed birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. Lord knows some of us went days without talking to our family members.
I, myself, drove approximately 25,600 miles for nursing school. I don’t even want to calculate how much money I spent on gas.
Our education, although immensely important, is just a byproduct of what we all have gained. I met one of my best friends to whom I’ve been connected at the hip since week one. I have another family who I’m going to miss seeing every day. School itself was harder than any of us could have imagined but together we made it through. We succeeded and we’re proud. And we’re relieved and ready.
We’re ready for whatever’s next. Boards will be in a month or so; some of us already have jobs lined up, some are moving away. We’re not going to miss school and we’re surely not going to miss all that studying. We’re going to (hopefully!) retain everything we’ve learned but we are going to miss what we can’t take with us: each other. Sure, some will stay together but most will grow apart. It’s just how life is. I don’t know how many times I’ve said and I’ve heard others say “I wish we could all get jobs in the same hospital, then it would be like clinicals every day!”
Below is the video slideshow that one of our classmates and her husband put together. I’ve watched it so many times, and at least teared up every time. I don’t expect you to do the same but I would love for you to see it.