Nothing I say or do can prepare you or make you fully understand what it's like to go through nursing school. I can try and explain it until I'm black and blue in the face, but if you don't go through it for yourself then you'll never fully understand. But without adequate support system you're screwed! :) To put it bluntly! It was a rough 18 months. But somehow, by the grace of God, I have survived nursing school! HOWEVER, the end to my nursing school career was no without it's drama. We couldn't wrap up our final like any other normal person and then get our grades like a normal class would. No, please, allow me to share with you what my past 18 hours has been like!
Well, I suppose I should start a little before I took the final. I was eating dinner with my mom and all day I had just a feeling of anxiety, nervousness, and fear of the unexpected. It wasn't really towards my final exam because that was going to happen whether I liked it or not, but I was more anxious about the fact that I'm about to be a real nurse, I'm about to take on the responsibility of someone's loved one. Their life is essentially in my hands (not completely but figuratively). And realizing that is terrifying. So, while I was eating with my mom, I experienced a terrible anxiety attack! For those of you who have never had one, count your blessings...I was wishing I had a benzodiazepine to take!!! It started with just an overwhelming since of anxiety out of nowhere...then numbness overtook my body...then my heart started pounding (even though my blood pressure was only 110/62 and my pulse was only 62)...then afterwards you just feel exhausted and can barely lift your arms up..and I just got waves and waves of this attack! So, that's how the night before my exam went. Yuck...so I calmed myself by watching NY Med (LOVE that show!)
So at approximately 0809 I pulled into the CNM parking lot to take my final, nursing school final! I got to the testing center where all of my fellow nursing school students were waiting in line to get checked into the testing center. My anxiety started to go down and I was feeling more "at home" and relaxed! So we all got checked into the testing center and then we had to wait for them to sit us down at then put our codes into Black Board (where we take our tests) so that we could take our exam. Eventually we're all put into our exams and then...our...computer....starts...to...freeze...and....it....took...over....a....minute...to...switch....to....the....next...question.....
No joke! Every student was trying to get a hold of one of the test proctors to tell them about the computers freezing up on us, but all that they said was, "I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do." So in an hour and a half I had only completed 30 questions...and we had 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete 140 questions. Yeah right! So the proctors were able to get in contact with our instructor who gave us 2 extra hours to complete the exam. To make things even better there were multiple questions that had grammatical errors, incomplete questions, and none of the right answers. As if we didn't have enough anxiety already! So after about 2 hours and 40 questions the computer finally started to kick into gear and wasn't freezing up on me. It took me over 3 hours to complete that exam and when I pressed submit I just knew I failed it. I was just reading the questions, not really pondering it, and giving my answer and going on!
Normally after an exam we can see our grade right away, however, our grades didn't show up so we knew that meant it would be a while until we saw our final grade. Some of my friends were kicked out of the exam and had to complete the exam all over again! Most of us had an emotional breakdown. We expected to have a sense of completion and the sense that we were finally done...but none of us had that. It sucked.
I went to lunch with some of my great friends to try and lighten the mood, but things just got worse there, our orders got messed up, some of us got over charged, and a place that normally has great food ended up having terrible food (although it could have just been that we had a bad day). So that just fed our bad moods. I decided to go to the mall and do some retail therapy, yet, even that wasn't doing the trick for me. So I went home and decided it would be a good idea...yeah...not! The watermelon was sliding all over the place and I threw a hissy-fit like a child and slammed the knife on our sink and put a little dent in the knife. My poor mom had to take the knife from my hand and say, "Maggie, just walk away!" Yes, real mature. I went up to my room, cried, and slept for several hours!!
That night around 10 or 11 pm we got an announcement from our instructor saying that the IT problems messed with her system so she was having to go through all of our exams one by one to evaluate them and she said she hoped to have grades posted by 8/9/2012 sometime in the afternoon.
So this morning I got up at 5:45 and went swimming with one of my nursing school buddies, went and got breakfast, went to the mall (where retail therapy really did happen this time). I then went to lunch with some of my family, then I did it...I check my phone! Grades hadn't been officially posted but I had a total grade showing up, but the awful thing is that my total grade was 72% (which is technically failing). I knew that it couldn't be right because she was still working on our grades and nothing had been released but I let my nerves get the best of me and I started freaking out! I mean, who fails level 4?! That's just not heard of. So I was texting another friend and trying not to work myself into a frenzy so we decided to meet up! There we vented to one another and checked our phones waiting for our grades to be released! The grades were finally release after 1900. AND....I got a 92% on my final and a 90% overall in my class! I'm pretty sure I peed my pants and made the entire restaurant think there was a fire somewhere because I screamed and then cried!!! Every single emotion you can imagine was running through my body! I finally felt what I had hoped to feel yesterday...elation!
So...this is it! I'm a graduate nurse. Tomorrow I get pinned (and we all get to have a good laugh when my instructor says my name....hahaha). I have to shave my legs so I can wear a dress!! (I know that may be TMI but I haven't had time to shave because I spend all my time studying). I'm also going to sleep!!! But the truth is, I'm never not going to be a student. Healthcare is an ever changing field and you never learn everything. I'm going to be learning something new every single day for the rest of my life, plus I'm already registered for my NCLEX prep course through Kaplan...and...I'm registered for a math class that I'm going to need to be able to go on for my BSN, so even the school part of it isn't done. But like I have said and will continue to say, "one day at a time." Trust me on that one...I'm a nurse!