Two more months have passed since the last time I posted regarding the aftermath of my departure from medical school. I apologize if these update posts are not very engaging to read, but I also find it important for myself to document this progression. As I mentioned before, I try to keep my bearings so that I do not fall into the rut where I completely lose track of the all the time spent in this situation. For this reason, as in my update post two months ago, I cannot help but feel a little surprised that only a mere three months have elapsed since my withdrawal from what was essentially my previous life. Of course three months is by no means an insignificant amount of time, but because I had to mentally step back and change the direction of my career goals, I feel that many things have changed since the days where I would struggle to push through week after week.
From the beginning of November, I began to gather the materials needed to apply to nursing schools. On the 6th, I took the required HESI A2 admission test and attained a 94% composite score (with my grammar and mathematics sections being one point away from perfect scores). It was a refreshing change of pace to excel in my performance once again, and I was pleased that the test’s personality assessment evaluated me as “Creative/Leader,” a unique combination according to the report. Due to the unfortunate timing of things however, I had missed the deadlines for the Spring 2015 applications when I left TCOM in late September. (I eventually came to find out that I still needed to take a number of prerequisite classes which would have disqualified me from the application cycle anyways.) I then began to target the Fall 2015 application cycle, which sadly only includes two schools. The reason for such low availability is because I am applying to the accelerated programs for people who already have a Bachelor’s degree. With these programs, someone in my position can become a licensed nurse in 12-18 months (depending on the program).
About halfway through the month, I was also finally able to land a job interview for the company I wanted to work with. Since I had not heard from them for a while, the interview was a pleasant surprise as I was dreading the prospect of having to pick up a low-level retail position to help cover my monthly bills. During the interview, I was also inspirited to hear that TCOM had sent the company my original admission information as a friendly gesture to demonstrate my qualifications. The interview itself was an absolutely splendid conversation which resulted in a call back within a few days. While I did get “hired” by the company at that point however, I was told that they would not be able to schedule in my shifts until the turnover for 2015 takes place. This stipulation was more than acceptable to me; I was just happy that I would be able to work in a hospital, a familiar environment, in the coming months.
At any rate, I still had 20 hours worth of prerequisites to take in the coming Spring semester. While I was not too concerned by the amount, (most of the courses needed were technicalities, such as a formal Nutrition class) it was still more credits than I had ever taken in one semester at UTD. It took admission into two separate colleges and some serious schedule-mancy, but I was finally able to schedule in all my classes such that they will be completed in May. The most elegant part of the schedule however is the fact that all of the classes are delivered online in an accelerated format and in a staggered sequence such that I will only have two simultaneous classes at any given point in the semester. This setup allows me to retain the flexibility to schedule in shift work while still having a decent amount of free time left over.
Content that I had a direction for the new year and that things would be moving along, I decided to go down to Houston to visit my parents for the Winter holidays.
Since undergrad, I have come to view the drive between my apartment and my parents’ home as cathartic; after five hours of staring at Texas’ open scenery, one cannot help but emerge at the destination with their mind completely cleared and ready to take in the new surroundings. The entire experience sort of forces you out of your natural routine and into a new one — one that is malleable to the influences of the new people around you. Before visiting home, I always go through a thought process whose outcome I never seem to learn from: I am always hesitant to visit home and never intend on staying long, but I am always so glad that I stopped to visit. Visiting family has a powerful grounding effect that forces you to look at yourself in terms of the “big picture” — I always leave with renewed resolve to tackle the challenges in front of me.
Roughly a month after I drove to Houston, I sit here typing this post from my parents’ house, making preparations to leave this Sunday. My stay has been both relaxing and productive, as I spent some of my free time strolling through a couple of nursing schools to get a better feel for my objective. While here, one of my classes also started so I was able to get back into the mode of reading and working on assignments. I must say, it feels great to have deadlines and obligations again– a part of me derives so much fun in intelligently scheduling tasks that need to be completed. Truly, it made a difference to be able to say that I was a student again.
Now, these accelerated classes are of course no joke, but after dealing with the unnecessarily fast-paced treadmill-from-hell that was TCOM’s curriculum, their speed seems like a leisurely stroll in comparison. I will gladly take assignments due on the weekends if it means not having to read the hundreds of slides I had to familiarize myself with daily in medical school.
Even so, while I am happy that things are taking shape and moving again, the coming year is still fairly unpredictable at this point. With so many unfinished prerequisites, it is doubtful that I will gain admission to one of the Fall 2015 nursing classes (while nursing schools do admit students with outstanding prerequisite-work, they feel less secure in taking applicants with a lot of unfinished credits). I am still hopeful, but I am not counting on it. If I am not admitted in the Fall, I will have to wait until the Spring of 2016 — another year. If that does become the case, I will likely opt for a full-time position at my job to weather things out as I try again. Either way, I am confident that things will work out one way or another. Whether this time next year I am going through nursing school or working the night shift at the ER, I would at the very least be stable and afloat with my direction still intact.
At the beginning of 2014, I could not have dreamed of the way things played out this year — I cannot honestly say that it was a bad year though. Here’s to another year of adventure.