Monday, January 31, 2011
Ideally, married to a rich European man, touring the south pacific in our yacht with a martini in my hand. Okay. Not really because, to be perfectly honest, that sounds boring.
Ten years from now, I will be 32.
My first thought is “Holy goodness. That is….actually still really young.” I know if sounds crazy but I have always considered myself much older than my actual age. Coupled with the fact that the majority of my friends are in their late 20s and 30s anyways and I have been told from the age of 13 that I have “an old soul,” age isn’t a huge issue for me. I have always thought that when the time comes for me to grow “old,” I shall do so gracefully and without complaint for I have always thought of age and wisdom as going hand in hand.
I really don’t know where I will be as far as relationships go. I’m not 100% sold on the idea of marriage or children but that could be because I haven’t met the right person yet. Maybe when that happens, I will be more open to the idea. Ha. I have actually relaxed a little about it because if you had asked me a year ago if I ever wanted kids, you would have gotten a very quick and sharp “Hell no.” But if I ever do have children, I only want 1 or 2 [3 at the absolute most…mostly because childbirth looks freaking scary].
As for my career, I would like to have my BSN by then, and be on my way to a Master’s degree in Nursing [Nurse practitioner or CRNA….decisions, decisions]. For my specialty, I am shooting for OR circulating nurse, L&D, or oncology. I have never cared for med-surg and I really am hoping not to have to go into it upon graduation [despite the fact that everyone says you should do two years in med-surg before going into a specialty].
As much as I love my town, I don’t want to live here my whole life. I would love, love, love a condo in New Orleans [in the residential area of the French Quarter]. But I also want to own a house out in the country so that I can have a garden and fruit trees.
Hmmm. We’ll see. :)
Saturday, January 29, 2011
I do know how much you all love these little quickes we have. Just enough to satisfy while keeping you wanting more. ;)
Friday, January 28, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Okay. The first damn day of this challenge and I am already not looking forward writing about this topic. This might be a little more difficult than I thought.
This should be a very straight forward topic. I should be able to say “Yes. I am seeing someone”or“No. I am single.” But of course, me being me, it is never that simple.
The short answer: I am casually dating right now, not seeing anyone seriously, and do not expect to for at least a while.
The long answer: Damn. Okay, here goes.
I am sure some of you remember me talking about my ex and how we ended things in December. It is still odd for me to talk about, both in terms of thinking of her as my “ex” after being together for almost a year [and basically, keeping it a secret for that long] and in talking about her at all because I have yet to come out to anyone in my “real life” as bisexual.
The story of what we had [and what we currently have] is complicated. And, despite the comfort that I find in the anonymity of this blog, I find myself writing and then erasing these words over and over again. Part of me feels as though I should be ashamed about the whole thing, not because of the fact that she is a woman but because of some of the circumstances surrounding our relationship [most prominently, the secrecy of it and the fact that the secrecy was necessary]. But another part of me is saying that I have nothing to feel guilty about. That everyone involved was perfectly fine with the situation and screw what people on the outside looking in think.
So, for now at least, I think it would be best to leave that can of worms unopened. The bottom line is that we simply cannot be together. There is just no way around that. No matter how much we love each other. No matter how much both of us want it. It is just so frustrating when we both know that this is how it is has to be even though neither of us wants it like this
But then she looks at me and tells me that she thinks we are soul mates. That she has never been this connected with anyone before. And I want so badly to tell her that I believe the same thing…that this is killing me. That I have learned more about myself in the one year we have been together than I had in the 21 years before combined. That how I feel about her almost scares me because I never thought I was even capable of caring for someone on this deep of a level.
But instead I told her that I love her…but there is no way we can *be in love* with each other. That if we want to remain in each other’s lives, it simply cannot go beyond a friendship anymore. [By the way, I really hate being the rational one.]
But in a way, I think I am lucky. I am so fortunate to have been through this experience. It has taught me so much about myself and about my ability to love someone unconditionally. Despite challenges that we have faced, we have been able to maintain a friendship that I would not trade for the world.
And I will continue telling myself that that is enough.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I am such a freaking copy cat.
Chloe over at *year of grace* is doing this 30 day blogger challenge and I thought, "zomg. That looks fun. I wanna play."
I am not even going to delude myself into thinking that I will actually post consecutively for 30 days. I am just too busy with life right now. Blah. But I am going to *try* my very best to post about all the topics within the next 60 days [60 days blogger challenge? F*ck yeah.]
Postscript: I totally reserve the right to change the day's topic if I find it lame. ;)
PostPostScript: You should do the 30/60/*however long it takes you to write about all this stuff* day challenge too. Come on. Do it. It'll be fun.
Monday, January 24, 2011
A friend. A partner-in-crime. A lover.
A young girl and a grown woman.
I am confident and scared, terrified and excited.
I am loving and caring and thoughtful and hopeful. I am sick and tired and angry and hurt.
I am shy and friendly.
Careful and careless. Broken and whole.
I am misunderstood, misguided, and mislead.
I am hardworking and determined but scared to death that it isn't enough.
I wish on stars and dandelions. I chase my dreams and falling leaves [they are magic before they touch the ground].
I pray to a god I don't know is listening and whisper my thanks to the universe.
I smile on the outside while I am dying on the inside.
I listen to others who won't listen to me.
I walk on eggshells and I walk on fire.
I believe in passion but I wasn't so sure I believed in true love.
But I love you and I push you away.
I want you...but not so close.
I am scared. Of you. Of how you make me feel. Open and vulnerable.
I built up all these defences, this armor to keep me from being hurt and somehow, you found a way in. I don't even know how it happened. The way you make me feel, it is holding me hostage and making it hard for me to breath. Like every word you say to me has the potential to become a shard of glass that that works its way into my heart.
Please prove me wrong.
Please be worth this risk.
Because if you hurt me [again], I don't know how I am suppose trust in love anymore.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Well today was my first day back after being off for out of school for over a month.
I think I am starting to get back into the swing of things.
Despite the gloomy gross weather here [it's rainy and humid...I'm going back and forth between freezing and sweating], I got to campus around 0730 for my 0800 lecture time. Walking to class, I ran into 3 of my favorite males nurses :). I told them how excited I was to start the semester and they all teased me about being that enthusiasm so early in the morning.
Once in the lecture hall, I looked at the group of students surrounding me.
There is 21 of us. 21 out of the original 65 that were accepted.
It was a kind of heartbreaking and humbling moment realizing that so many of the people I have come to know and love will not be walking across the stage with my in May.
After everyone was settled in, the dean of the program came in to speak with us. She gave a speech on how this semester, nursing should be our number 1 priority. If any of us had any crazy ideas about getting married, having kids, trying to start up a new relationship anytime this semester, that we would find it very difficult because of the time commitment that we should be devoting to class and studying for the NCLEX-RN.
Then she asked who of us was taking another class this semester. About six people, including myself, raised our hand. She kind cringed and said that we would be having quite the busy semester.
Then we got into the financial stuff. Geez. I am looking at having to spend at least $750 this semester (not including books or tuition) between NCLEX reviews, testing [HESI, ATI, and NCLEX] and licencing fees, graduations costs, the fugly white scrubs we are required to buy for the graduation photos that we are required to have. Thank God for Financial aid and sugar daddys. ;)
My clinicals are during the second half of the semester. I was kind of hoping for them during the first half so I could get them over with but it might have worked out for the best. The first half of the course is covering acute disease processes and "real" nursing stuff [the material that i actually care about]. The second half [in which I will be running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get everything done] is covering professional and management stuff. Blah.
But let me tell you how excited I am for clinicals. The instructor I have is super laid back. She was telling us how we would be on a med-surg floor for the first two weeks and when she saw that we could handle having 4-6 patients each, we could do a bit of exploring in the hospital. If we wanted to go to the OR, ICU, ER; she could make it happen for us. Also, our times are negotiable. She was saying, "Yeah. We'll be there around 0645...some days we might leave at 5pm, other maybe 1pm. And we could be doing night or evening clinicals if ya'll want. As long as the group agrees to it, I am fine with it." :)
The uncertainty of it would drive the old OCD-plagued Estelle up a freaking wall but I am just excited for it. Like an adventure. ;)
Also, no preclinicals!!! Woah!!! ;) And maybe, no careplans! Or, if I do have to do them, it will only be one or two.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Lecture from 8am - Noon.
I have my outfit picked out, my bookbag and purse packed, and the coffee pot set.
I am way too excited right now. ;) Wish me luck, darlings. ♥
On a side note, can I tell ya'll how happy I am that the Beatles are finally on iTunes?
Buy the song *Love You To*. It's from the Revolver album and it is a-w-e-s-o-m-e. It is the musical version of an orgasm. Seriously. I think I have listened to it about 50 times already.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
If you were ever to meet me in person, you probably wouldn't think I was a girly girl. I mean, I LIVE in jeans and t-shirts [although, I did wear a skirt about a week ago...had just shaved my legs and putting on jeans was just not gonna happen]. I keep my nails short and hardly ever polish them [a habit I picked up after a particularly gross anatomy and physiology lab that involved a ripped glove and a cat my group was dissecting] except for maybe a clear coat once in a while when I want them to shine. The only make up I wear is Bare Minerals foundation, mineral veil, and some mascara. To be honest, I have never mastered the art of putting on eye shadow without making myself look like a hooker or a man impersonating a woman.
My hair is still it's natural color [dark honey blond with natural high and lowlights and a tiny bit of strawberry blond when the light hits it just right...basically dirty blond but I don't think the term does it justice]. I've never, ever dyed it. I have always been scared I would ruin it forever and would never be able to get my natural color back. But ohmygoodness, how I want to.
My darlings. I want to be a redhead.
Not a gingery redhead [although, I think that is cute too...just wouldn't work with my skin tone]. I want dark, crazy, dramatic red. Borderline dark pink.
I see a trip to the salon in my future...maybe distant future but it'll happen. ;)
Friday, January 14, 2011
I have kind of become obsessed with these vintage comic strips. I just love the artwork. :) So expect to be seeing more in future *Frisky Fridays*.
Okay so this kind of goes back to the autocorrect thing from last week.
A girlfriend of mine posted an inside joke of ours as her Facebook status. I was a little embarrassed about it and I jokingly sent her the text, "I am going to pluck your eyebrows off."
Not 30 seconds after I hit *send*, I get a message from her saying, "I'll be there in 10 minutes."
I had no idea what she was talking about. The reason I said that to her is because she has an unhealthy obsession with the shape of her eyebrows. Why would she be so quick to get here for that?
I reread the original message I had just sent her.
"I am going to *fuck* your eyebrows off."
Damn you, autocorrect!!!
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Your best friend DOES look fat in those jeans. Your mother-in-law’s casserole the other night WAS NOT the best you have ever eaten. You really ARE embarrassed to be seen with your boyfriend when he is wearing that super-fashionable “Big Dick’s Taxidermy. I mount anything” t-shirt [anyone? No? Is this just the winners I’ve dated?].
Anyway, some people lie by omission. They don’t give you all the information you need to be fully prepared for what you might experience. I, my dear readers, would never lie to you. (Well, actually, I would…but for argument’s sake, let’s just say I wouldn’t.) I want you to have all the information you need so you can be successful in your nursing school career.
Now before I start, let’s get one thing perfectly clear. Knowing what I know now…knowing how difficult it would be and how hard I would have to fight to get to where I am…knowing how much time and energy it would take…would I choose nursing school again?
Yes. But I am also a bit of a masochist.
Also, something else we should get clear. The advice I offer on this blog comes from my own personal experience from nursing school and I have no way of knowing what your program or experience will be like. So take everything I say with a grain of salt, okay? And maybe a shot of tequila.
So here we are darlings. These are the 50 things I wish I had known before starting nursing school.
1. Getting into the program really was the easy part.
2. You will spend a small fortune on textbooks, coffee, and gas driving back and forth to clinical sites.
3. Before you even start your program, friends and family will be asking you to make medical diagnoses of their problems. Be prepared for a 5am phone call where in someone describes their rash to you [true story].
4. You are going to talk about poop. A lot. Yeah. It’s gross but get used to it now.
5. You’ll ask complete strangers about their poop. And have them describe it to you. In detail.
6. You are going to see a lot of naked people. Most of them you would never want to see naked. The naked human body quickly loses its appeal.
7. You will meet some of the most amazing people you have ever met. You will also meet some complete assholes.
8. You’ll study more than you ever have in your life and it still won’t feel like enough.
9. Several people from your class will sleep with each other. If you are of the male persuasion and attending nursing school, your chances of getting laid go up by about 1000%.
10. It is a fucking HORRIBLE idea to hook up with one of your classmates.
11. It is next to impossible to concentrate during a lecture when you know what the person sitting next to you sounds like when they have an orgasm. [unfortunately, another true story]
12. Rumor in nursing school (about you, your classmates, your professors) spread faster than an STD at the Jersey Shore.
13. Do not wear scrubs to a lecture. I don’t care if you just came from surgery on the Pope. It makes you look like a tool.
14. Pick your coping method very carefully. Excessive alcohol and sex with people you barely know doesn’t work to relieve stress.
15. Look around your Fundamentals of Nursing class. Two-thirds of these people will not finish with you. Whether they finish a semester or two behind you or wash out completely, remains to be seen.
16. Everyone in your program will start out with a plan to go on and become a nurse practitioner or a nurse anesthetist. By the end of the second semester, those same people will just be glad to finish the program.
17. You will fail an exam. I don’t care if you have a 4.0 going into the program. It is going to happen. When it does, cry about it and then move on. Don’t be like me and have to be put on “suicide watch” by your study group when you fail to show up for the next two weeks of lecture because you are convinced you just flunked out of nursing school.
18. All the guys will want to do surgery or ER. All the girls will want to do L&D or pediatric nursing.
19. Hospitals smell bad. Even after you leave for the day, it feels like that smell is clinging to you. Keep some awesome body spray in your car to keep the yucky away.
20. A lot of your time during clinical rotation will be wasted. Thrown away. Down the drain. Mostly because the instructor is busy checking and rechecking everyone so that you don’t kill anyone.
21. More than likely, you won’t kill anyone.
22. Patients can be grumpy. They earn that right because they are in the hospital. It does not give them the right to abuse their nurse or student nurse, though.
23. Don’t ask a professor “Is this going to be on the test?” It wasn’t, until you asked. Now everything is going to be on the test…no multiple choice….all essay questions that have to be answered in either Greek or Latin.
24. Haggling over points on an exam rarely works. As a matter of fact, it usually just pisses the instructor off.
25. Don’t EVER tell and instructor, “Well that is just a bad exam question” because nine times out of ten, they came up with the exam question themselves.
26. If you piss off your instructor, he or she can make your life hell.
27. You will learn the joys of being questioned according to the Socratic method. It is like the nursing school version of “pimping” that medical students go through.
28. Be able to talk about something other than nursing school because “normal people” don’t always want to hear about it.
29. You’ll work with at least one nurse who hates you just because you are a student.
30. You’ll work with at least one nurse who you wouldn’t trust to watch your goldfish.
31. You’ll work with at least one nurse who reminds you of the kind of nurse you want to be when you graduate. Tell him or her that. Because people need to hear it.
32. At some point during nursing school, a stranger’s bodily fluids will most likely come into contact with your exposed skin.
33. Some nursing instructors are bullies.
34. Some nursing instructors who seem like bullies aren’t. They just want you to be the best nurse you possibly can be…because you could be taking care of one of their family members one day.
35. There will be days when you wake up and ask yourself is this really what you want out of life.
36. There will be days when you wake up and want nothing more than to quit school and get a job working at a coffee shop.
37. Always offer to help a fellow student with a difficult patient. What goes around comes around and people *do* notice.
38. As per pain scale protocol, you’ll start measuring everything on a scale from 1-10. Eventually, you will find yourself asking a friend, “On a scale from 1-10, how drunk are you right now?” [Bonus points if they answer “eleventeen.”] [another true story]
39. You’ll probably change your desired specialty at least 4 times, depending on your current rotation.
40. Get as much sleep as you can, whenever you can. Don’t feel bad about 4 hour naps on Tuesday afternoons when you don’t have class.
41. Giving injections really isn’t that scary. For that matter, neither are Foley catheters or IV starts. But NG tubes suck. :::shudder:::
42. Psych patients aren’t the ones you have to worry about. Generally, they are medicated and usually stable. It is the family members of the patient on the med-surg floor that need restrains and a heavy dose of Valium.
43. You are going to cry. Probably more than once. Probably over something simple like a highlighter running out. It isn’t that the highlighter was that special…it is that you are just so tired and exhausted from holding it all in.
44. If you are in it for the money, you are not going to be happy…ever. Trust me, there are things that you could be doing that are way easier and pay a lot better.
45. Learn anatomy & physiology the first time around because it sucks to have to relearn it.
46. There will be one person in your class who’s most laid back guy or chick you’ve ever met. They will sit in the back row of the class, listen to their ipod during lecture, never seem to study and then get a 99.99% on the cumulative exam at the end of the semester. You would hate this person except for they are the coolest person you have ever met.
47. At the beginning of the first semester, everyone is going to talk about how cool it’s going to be to help patients. At the end of the last semester, everybody will talk about how cool it’s going to be to actually be making money.
48. Nurses are notoriously hard partiers. Keep that in mind at the “End of Semester” bash. And if someone suggests calling the evil med-surg instructor that made everyone miserable all semester to tell her what ya’ll really think of her while you are all drunk, for the love of God, don’t do it. [also, don’t take a group photo of you all flipping off the camera and text it to her]
49. Ladies: Guys are unbelievably turned-on by the phrase “I’m a nursing student.” Be prepared for offers to help you brush up on your A&P, practice your physical assessment skills….blah, blah, blah.
50. Male nurses are amazing. :-)
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
You know you are feeling super positive about life when you sign into Blogger, realized you lost a follower, and your first thought is, "Oh, someone deactivated their account." ;)
Funny story from the other day.
My younger brother got home from work and I greeted him at the door with a smile and a hug. He looked me in the eyes and said, "Are you on drugs?"
I was a little shocked and I said, "No. Of course not."
"Oh...well are you drunk?"
"Lee, no. Why would you ask that?"
"Because you are way too happy for a sober person. Seriously. Tone that shit down. It is making the rest of us look bad."
Also, school starts in a week. *squeal* :-D
Monday, January 10, 2011
I am a simple chick, my loves. It really doesn't take much to make me happy. For example, here are a few things that have me just over the moon right now.
- Discovering a new song that I just love. Right now, I am grooving to "Fast Cars and Freedom" by Rascal Flatts and "The Best I've Ever Had" by Gary Allen. What can I say? I am in a bit of a country mood right now.
- The way the earth smells when it starts to rain [which I actually learned the other day is called *petrichor*.]
- Finally starting to understand 12-lead EKGs. Thank you online nursing journals.
- Mini Churros from Jack in the Box. [OMG....yum] They are like fried pieces of heaven filled with cinnamon sugar and miracles.
- Text messages with all the words spelled right and correct grammar.
- Hearing someone say, "I was just thinking about you."
- New school supplies
- Toe socks on a cold day. Like gloves for your feet. :-)
- Seeing some one's eyes light up when I walk into the room.
- Being home alone, playing music super loud, and singing along.
- The Allstate Mayhem commercials with Dean Winters.
- Sitting with someone in silence and having it not be awkward at all.
- Candid photos of me where in I don't look like total hell.
- Butterfly kisses.
- Catching up with an old friend. I recently reconnected with a guy I have known for a few years but had fallen out of touch with when I started nursing school. We talked and laughed and it would have felt like no time had gone by at all if it wasn't for how much we both had changed. He is now engaged and has a baby on the way. And he told me that I seemed a completely different person from who I was a year and a half ago. I asked him what he meant. He said, "You look happy. You look at peace. Your smile seems more genuine...like you aren't doing it just to hide how much pain you are in. I can tell it's real now." ♥
But you know what make me super-duper, extra, amazingly happy; my dearest readers? Overhearing someone say something sweet about me.
And some of my fellow nursing students have been just so sweet to mention this blog and, more specifically, my series "Estelle's Guide to Nursing School." Ya'll are just too awesome. :-)
Kendra at Adventures in Nursing School
Zazzy Episodes at Frazzled_RazzleRN
It's Just Me :) at Who's Life Is This Anyways?
Friday, January 07, 2011
Okay, now I know what you are all wondering.
"Hey Estelle. It is a week into the new year...how is that whole "going celibate" thing workin' out for you?"
I have come to the conclusion, dear readers, after a week (actually, more like 2) of having no intimate contact with any man [or woman], I should be just fine....as long as I keep plenty of AA batteries on hand.
[I prefer to say "celibate" rather than "abstinent" because that sounds too much like *absent* and I don't want it to feel like I am missing out on anything.]
I am not a member of the AT&T iPhone club [I ♥ my Android] so I am not sure how accurate the above image is. Totally not my fault if you try to see if your iPhone with autocorrect and you end up accidentally sending the word *GSpot* to one [or all] of your contacts.
Enjoy your weekend, my loves. :-)
Thursday, January 06, 2011
I think all you confused, frustrated nursing students will get a lot out of this entry.
When I first started nursing school, I realized very quickly that the way I studied for any of my previous classes just wasn’t going to work for me anymore. There was just too much information, too much to do, and not nearly enough time.
I tried doing it my old way, just reading the book, memorizing it, and hoping for the best. Yeah. That didn’t work so well.
This might sound silly but nursing textbooks are hard to read. Not like Barbie “Math is hard! Let’s go buy make up so boys like us and make us trophy wives!”-kinda hard but “I have been staring at this paragraph for the past hour and I still have no idea what it means”-kinda hard. And they are heavy too.
Okay, I'll stop whining now. ;-)
[A note about the photos in this entry: it did not occur to me earlier to take photos of my fundamentals textbook. I was reviewing cardiology and EKGs today in preparation for classes in a week and a half so I just snapped a few of the books that I had out. Try not to let them scare you too badly. And don't worry about me. I don't mind cardio too much. But then again, I get off on a little pain and agony...must be why I choose nursing as a major. ;-)]
Through a lot of trial and error, I finally figured out what worked for me. Enjoy. :-)
How I studied:
I read the learning objectives that the course organizers provided us. Basically, these were lists of concepts that, by the end of the lecture or unit, we should be able to understand and articulate back to them. These were also how we knew what we would be tested on. For example, even though we covered most of the endocrine chapter this semester, we didn’t talk about diabetes insidious or adrenal disorders because they will be covered next semester. If I had just read the whole endocrine chapter, I would have been “wasting time” on information that I didn’t need to know right then.
I read the powerpoints or notes the professor provided. Hopefully, before the lecture, the instructor posted or emailed the notes for you. These are very important because they are usually in the professor’s own words and gives you insight to what they think is important.
I skimmed the chapters that were to be covered. I looked at the headings, major points, and any charts or diagrams.
I attended the lecture and really listened. I didn’t write everything the professor said. If they notes already covered it, I didn’t bother. Instead, I tried to focus on what they were saying and, more importantly, how they were saying it. Sometimes, you could hear a subtle change in their voice. Their pitch or tone of voice might get higher or lower. They may clear their throat. They may start speaking slower than normal. When this happens, I wrote down whatever they said because usually, that was what was important and you can bet that you will see it again on the exam.
After the lecture, usually later that day or the next day. I went over the materials again, primarily the textbook chapters. Okay, here’s a dirty little secret that no one in nursing school likes to talk about. It is next to impossible to do all the required reading. Plus, it is a textbook, not a novel. Reading it word for word never made any since to me. I skimmed the text, looking for phrases that stood out to me. [note: This did not apply to the “nursing interventions” sections in my textbook. I read that shit word for freaking word.] Some of the key phrases were:
- “In summery,…”
- “Most importantly…”
- “The first sign of…”
- ‘The best…” or “The worst…”
I did the chapter questions. If I came to a question that I got incorrect [or even if I did get it correct and I just didn’t fully understand why], I reread that part of the chapter/notes more carefully to figure out where I went wrong.
Lastly, if I still didn’t understand something, I asked the professor during office hours. They are usually happy to explain it to you if they know you have taken the time outside of class to try to find the answer on your own.
Study groups. Flashcards. Reviewing notes. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Some other tips and tricks for getting the most out of your study time:
Review material: In most Medical-Surgical textbooks, they include a chapter of anatomy review before they get into the actual problems that require nursing/medical care. Did you pay attention in anatomy and physiology? Remember most of it? Good. Just glance over it and move on. Having to relearn all that crap sucks.
Connect with other students. By checking out this blog, you are already doing that. Good for you. :-) Another great place to connect to fellow nursing students is the AllNurses website. Their "Students" forum helped me tremendously my first semester (and my second....and my third...and when I was a pre-nursing student...)
Does your school or program have some kind of nursing mentor program? It doesn’t? It’s okay, neither does mine. Check out Facebook to see if your school has a nursing alumni group. Some graduate nursing students have a soft spot for the freshman at their former institutes. But you should totally start a mentoring program when you become an upperclassman.
If you are lucky enough to have one where you go, use it! Milk the upperclassman for information like some kind of nursing dairy cow. Ask about specific instructors’ teaching styles, pet peeves [like, do they freak out of you use a lap top to take notes or chew gum in class?], where they get their test questions [the main textbook, their own notes, the ‘boxes’ in the chapters].
Find study materials online.
Textbook companion websites: The Evolve Elsevier website has study material for a ton of different nursing textbooks. Even though technically you should have the textbook to access the information, it isn’t necessary. Create an account and search for “fundamentals of nursing” textbooks (or med-surg or pharmacology…whatever you are studying). Add any one that you want to your account to see what they have to offer. Even if you don’t find your specific textbook; the material will pretty much be the same and you can see the illustrations, charts, diagrams, videos and take the practice questions.
Google document search: When I first started to learn about acidotic and alkalotic disorders, I was totally lost. I couldn’t understand the textbook and things just didn’t *click* when I attended the lecture. It was so frustrating. But I had the bright idea to try to find some extra study material online. While doing some Googling, I found out that professors in other colleges provide their notes online, open to everyone. I found several awesome powerpoints and pdf files on acid-base problems that explained them so simply.
[Read the boxes in your assigned chapters. Especially in your fundamentals semester. That is where 60% of my first semester exam questions came from. But don't worry. Like I said earlier, the above photo is from my second semester.]
For the visual learners: Google image search. Best thing since automatic blood pressure cuffs.
Study groups: People have different strengths and pick up things faster than others. For example, I freaking rocked in cardiology. Don’t know why…I just understood it. But I could not understand genetics or immunology to save my life. One classmate of mine was the complete opposite, so I helped her with comprehending nursing interventions for heart failure and EKGs and she taught me about antibodies and allergic reactions.
Don’t study just for the grades. This sounds silly but study to understand the material. Shoot for the A but if you get a C, it's no big deal. Remember, a lot of the time, getting answers right or wrong on a nursing exam doesn't say much about what kind of nurse you will be. Mostly, it just indicates how well you take nursing exams.
Be adaptable. I think this is the biggest challenge to new nursing students. We all come in thinking, “Hey, I am a 4.0 student. Never made a B in my life. This ought to be a piece of cake.” These are the students that, after the first exam, crawl under the nearest desk and cry for two hours. It’s not that nursing school is hard [well, actually, it is], so much as it is a totally different experience from any of the prerequisites you took to get here. Remember how you thought anatomy, physiology, pathology, and microbiology were difficult? Remember how you studied in them to be able to pass? Well, in your nursing classes, those same study strategies might not work for you. It isn’t just memorization. The questions are all application based, meaning that not only do you need to know the information [a&p, pathology and disease processes, nursing interventions, therapeutic communication skills, nursing management] but you need to be able apply what you know. You need to be able to hear a scenario and figure out what to do first. [I say first, because did I mention that on some nursing exam questions, there will be four right answers? But you have got to pick the most right one.]
GO TO CLASS! I know this sounds simple but you have no idea how hard it can be…especially during the second and third semesters when the enthusiasm for nursing school you had during first semester has worn off. Reading the chapter word-for-word and taking great notes on your own is good and all but it is no substitute for hearing what the professor has to say on the subject. Especially since they will be making the test questions.
Good luck, my darlings. ♥ And remember, you can do this. :-)
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
I’d like to start off by telling ya’ll that staying organized in nursing school isn’t very different from staying organized in any other type of college. The main difference, I think, is that the amount of information (read: notes, paperwork, exams, etc) is greatly increased. I cannot stress to you enough how important staying on top of things is. Falling behind on the lecture notes and reading is a disaster waiting to happen (trust me; it happened to me for pretty much every exam for as long as I have been a student).
Not everything in this post will work for everyone. As students, we are all individual and we each have our own way of doing things. What I do to keep myself organized and from going crazy during the semester might be vastly different from how you keep your ducks in a row.
So, my lovely readers, here are some of the tricks and tools I use to stay organized in nursing school. Enjoy.
Dry Erase Boards – These are some of my favorite ways to remind myself of due dates and any upcoming projects or study groups. I keep a small on the make-up stand under my bulletin board by my bedroom door so i can see it (and write on it) often.
As you can see, right now I am not in school so it is kinda empty but I keep important dates listed just to keep me on top of things.
Planners and Calendars – Buy one. Seriously. And use it. I had assignments and projects due, as well as quizzes or exams pretty much every day I attended lecture, not to mention clinical, study groups, and the occasional night out. If I wasn’t able to see my week laid out in front of me, I would have been completely lost.
Whether you buy just one big wall calendar, a planner to carry with you, or use a calendar app on your computer or phone; try to stick with just one. I use to keep a giant wall calendar in my bed room but stopped once I started using my weekly/monthly planner [Uncalender = fab]. I was worried that if I relied on both, things would not be transferred over from one to the other and wires would get crossed, resulting in me missing something important.
How do you take notes?
Computer-based note taking – If you are the kind of student to type your notes, congrats on being so environmentally friendly [unless you are like me and print them out anyway…opps]. Make sure you title your notes appropriately so they are easier to locate when you need them. The date, course, and lecture topics are a good place to start [example: NURS210_Jan5_ MusculoskeletalDysfunctions]. I would also create separate files for each class and placing your notes in them rather than just leaving them in the main document area.
I know several students who rely on Evernote or Microsoft OneNote and that seems to work for them.
Paper-based note taking – This is my preferred method of note taking. There is just something about putting pen to paper that helps me retain information like typing never could. Unfortunately, it also generates the most mess and clutter.
For my Maternal-Child nursing class (affectionately referred to by some of my classmates as “Tw*ts and Tots”….or “C*nts and Runts”), the professors (3 different ones) lectures according to chapter. The easiest way for me to organize the notes was numerically…from earliest chapter to the later ones. I found that trying to put them chronologically (in order of their lecture date) was confusing to me, particularly when we jumped from talking about give birth one day to respiratory problems in children the next.
But 9 times out of 10, I can find what I need to. It is basically organized chaos.
Do yourself a favor and try to write any little reminders in your planner. You did get a planner, right?
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
I love Pandora Radio. I have had an account with them for a while now but today was the first time I really listened to it. zomg. I am obsessed and spent all day going back and forth between the *Tim McGraw* station and the *Lady Gaga* station...with a bit of Meriweather thrown in for good measure.
Three cheers for 75% off Christmas candy! Spree candy canes are freaking out of this world. And I am pretty sure the 10 boxes that I bought will last me approximately a week and a half.
I heard "Walk Me Down The Middle" by The Band Perry today. It is so sweet and soft and beautiful and I love it. If you are into girly country music, listen to it.
I downloaded GIMP a few days ago. It is basically the free version of Adobe Photoshop. I opened it for the first time yesterday and...um...was a little overwhelmed. Who knew that trying to get rid of a pimple in a photo was so complicated?
Monday, January 03, 2011
I think despite my best efforts to the contrary, I may be becoming a mostly reasonable, fairly mature, semi-well adjusted adult.
Case in point: Today was a friend of mine's birthday.
Actually, let's back up a minute. Once upon a time, he was more than a friend, at least to me. I was infatuated with him. Head-over-freaking-heels. The kind of passion that writes songs and builds monuments and drives 3 days straight across the country just to see him for 10 minutes. I was crazy about him, basically. But he had a girlfriend. So I let go of any ideas I had about us falling in love and living happily ever after and continued on contently with just being a friend and study buddy to him.
One day, I heard through the grapevine that he was single again (why he didn't tell me himself, I'll never know). So I did what any modern woman would do. I asked him out.
He was hesitant and I knew what he was going to say even before he said it. He looked me in the eyes and told me that he cared about me...that I was a sweet girl (that actually stung a little when he said it)...that I was a great friend and he loved me like a sister....but that was all I would ever be to him.
After being kind of frosty to him for the next month, I finally realized that I had no reason to be upset with him. In fact, the only thing he was guilty of was not realizing how amazing I am...and how could I be angry at him for something like that? If anything, I should be sad for him because he missed out on something that could have been beautiful.
So I "forgave" him and we went back to the way things were before.
Well, today was his birthday. I signed into Facebook and saw all our friends posting on his wall. But something on his page caught my eye. In a small box on one side, I saw his new girlfriend. So naturally, I looked at her profile.
She was cute. And she had tons of photos of them together....and I have never seen him smile like that before. He was almost glowing. He looked so captivated by her...in love with her.
I looked at the photos for a moment...trying to process how I felt about it. And I think now I can say that I am truly happy for him.
Darlings, I care about this guy. Would I have liked for us to be together? Yes. But even more than that, I want him to be happy...even if it isn't with me.
So, here we are, my loves.
I am single. And I'm okay. Even as I see all my friends and the people I care about finding their someone special and falling in love and building families, I'm okay. That will be me one day. Even if I have to wait for it awhile. And I am sure, one day, the wait will have been worth it.
I'd like to wish my sweetheart Callie Ann the best of luck with nursing school. Today was her first day. And I am just so proud of her. :-)
You are amazing, girl. And you are going to be an awesome nurse.
Sunday, January 02, 2011
I thought we would start off 2011 with a bang. And by a bang, I mean a double dose of *Frisky Friday*.
[I am perfectly aware that today is, in fact, Sunday. And while I am sure by Christian standards that I am already going to hell, calling this post "Slutty Sunday" just seems wrong on so many levels.] On December 17, 2010; the New Orleans city council voted to classify marijuana possession and prostitution as "municipal offenses." Basically, that means if you are caught smoking pot with your hooker, you won't necessarily be arrested. You could just be issued a summons for court.
Now, I don't do drugs [haven't smoked pot since my teens] and I have no reason to hire a hooker but, for some people, Mardi Gras this year is going to be pretty freaking awesome.
Personal story: Okay. I told ya’ll a few weeks ago that I had signed for a few dating websites. I didn’t exactly tell you the whole story.
One afternoon, I was lying on my bed, flipping through an EKG workbook (*Nerd Alert*) while a girl friend was playing on my laptop. We were just BSing back and forth when she started asking me bizarre questions about my sex life. I didn’t think too much of this at the time because it wasn’t really out of character for her.
It wasn’t until she said, “So, what are your feelings about strap-ons? Yay or Nay?” that I realized she was not on Facebook like I thought she was.
No my loves. She was on a fetish website creating a dating profile for yours truly, complete with photos of me in a corset from last Halloween. Fabulous. After having a mini-freak out on her [including the phrase, “Are you out of your fucking mind?!” EDIT: And insisting she delete the photograph of me. She replaced it with the one above. Haha.], I looked at her creation. And while she didn’t use my name at all, she listed me as a bisexual Mistress/Dominatrix who is into “batting my eyelashes and pretending I’m innocent,” as well as a whole list of other fetishes. Some of which I was familiar with, while others, I didn't understood. So of course, I looked them up. For the love of God, readers, don’t ever do that…you’ll have nightmares. I mean, seriously, I thought I was into some pretty kinky stuff. Nope. I'm quite vanilla compared to some of these people.
We actually had a good laugh about it after I calmed down. Then we started looking up people in our city, just for the hell of it. One profile stopped me dead in my tracks.
“OMG. I know him! We had a class together a few semesters ago. I had the biggest crush on him too.” We checked out his profile and guess what? Naked photos of him.
Wow. That’s all I can say. Just...wow.
But anyway, I had pretty much forgotten about the website and profile until yesterday. I logged on to find 10 new messages. Eight men and two women. All from my city. All wanting me to be their dominatrix.
Woah. As tempting as some of the offers were [You say you'll clean my house? Naked? Really? And all I have to do is say you are worthless and pathetic while holding a whip?], I think it is time to deactivate that account.
Saturday, January 01, 2011
Happy 2011. I hope that your New Year’s Eve festivities didn’t leave you in too bad of shape.
I…um….I’ll be spending the day recovering. I didn’t get too drunk last night but the energy drinks didn’t help with sleep. After going to bed at 2:30am, I woke up at 5:15 to make sure that one of the guys who spent the night was off to work on time. Tried to get back to sleep but that didn’t work so I got out of bed at 7am. I do belive that there is a nap somewhere in my near future.
I had a good time last night. I rang in the New Year with a few friends, as well as Lee, and Brit. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We laughed, watches stupid movies, and ate too much pizza. We..um...also drank...a little bit.
Rather than playing beer pong because apparently, according to my friends, “Beer pong is for pussies,” we played vodka and Redbull pong. Someone brought a few Four Lokos and they were going to use those but after having one sip of the lime flavored one, I wasn't convinced that I wanted to play if they were using those. That shit tastes atrocious. Like the bastard child of a Corona and a tall glass of *WTF?*.
(I don't know what WTF tastes like, but that is all you can think when you first drink it.)
And speaking of bad tastes: when I drink, I also smoke. Which, I know, is how most smokers start. But no worries, I won’t be doing much more of that. Because even after going through half a bottle of mouthwash this morning, it still tastes like I sucked the Marlboro Man’s dick last night. Gross.
But now that all of that is out of my system, I have made a New Year’s resolution. Actually, it is one big resolution comprised of a bunch of little resolutions.
I want to start taking better care of myself. It’s all inclusive. At times, I have been known to treat my body more like an amusement park than a temple…not that that is a terrible thing at times but I just need to find a bit more balance.
For 2011, I resolve to:
Eat more fruits and veggies and less Hostess cupcakes (OMG…but they are sooooo good). I can tell when my diet has taken a turn for the worst because it affects everything…my mood, my skin, my energy level. I think that starting to eat a little more naturally and trying to avoid too many processed food would be a good place to start.
Start taking my vitamins and antidepressants religiously. I know, I know. I sat through the mental health nursing class and I know that in order for antidepressants to be effective, they have to be at therapeutic levels in your blood for a period of time. But I’m a busy girl. Some mornings, I just forget to take them. And I am sure just taking two the next day isn’t the wisest thing to do. So yeah. Even if it means setting an alarm on my phone, I will take them every morning.
Get some exercise. But don’t get it twisted. You are not going to see my fat ass in the gym. I’ve just never been the kind of girl to work up a sweat in front of other people (well….you know what I mean) but I would like to get a little more toned and flexible. (although, I don’t really care about losing weight so much...the boobs are the first thing to go. No thanks). I am thinking more along the lines of yoga or some kind of dancing.
So I have a yoga mat and bands, some ankle weights, and a few belly dancing DVDs. Let’s get this party started.
Drinking more water and less alcohol. (This seems a little dumb to write this down when I spent the first part of this entry talking about how blasted we got last night but just go with it, okay?) There were times this year when I drank to the point of getting completely waste 2 or 3 times a week. That….is a little excessive. I realize now that it was my form of self medication. I spent most of the year dealing with some serious depression and I am sure that this didn’t help much. As a matter of fact, because of the alcohol, I found myself in situations that were terribly destructive to my self-worth. And I don’t want to do that again. So for 2011, less alcohol. A glass of wine is okay but 5 shots of Crown Royal over the course of an hour is not.
Being more selective about who I get involved with. This is my biggest regret of 2010. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and I feel tremendously guilty about it. I do realize that I am supposed to be a modern woman and feel some kind of sexual liberation but truthfully, I just feel kind of used. I think that in my loneliness, I was looking for something, anything to make myself feel better. Being with someone made me feel wanted and I liked that…even if the experience itself wasn’t exactly satisfying.
But why should I let someone touch me just because they say I am beautiful? Why should I submit to someone who, to be brutally honestly, doesn’t deserve me and won’t respect me the next day? Screw that.
2010 was the year of the drunken hook-up. So in 2011, things are going to be different. (I am actually considering going celibate. At least for the next 5 months, so that I can concentrate on finishing up my degree. Don't worry, though. Frisky Friday and Slutty Saturday will still be regular features.)
Also, I am going to wearing cute underwear just because they make me happy, even though I know there isn’t a snowflake’s chance in hell of anyone seeing them but me.
More music, art, and “me-time.” Since I have been in nursing school, I have seriously neglected my creative side. Everything has been academic and I feel like when I wasn’t making horrible life choices, I had become a Nursing School Atonomaton…only seeing the rational, concrete side of things. But, believe it or not dearest readers, I use to be what my sister lovingly refers to as an “artsy fartsy dreamer type”. Hard to imagine, right? I would kind of like to get back to that. I want to learn to play the guitar and paint a few canvases...that artsy-fartsy dreamer stuff nurishes the soul.
In conclusion, my loves, thank you for being there with me through 2010. 2011 is going to be a great year and I cannot wait for ya’ll to take this journey with me. :-)