Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What Grinds My Gears

This grinds my gears is actually more of a back-story of my life then anything...but once you read and find out all I went through when it comes to my education...you will understand why it does grind my gears.
I graduated high school summer of 2006 at the age of 17. Behind me, I had left 12 years of softball games, drama club, chorus, C-student grades, a certificate to become a nurses aide, and a dream to make something of myself. For as long as I could remember, I had dreams of becoming a Registered Nurse. I never thought of doing anything else; nothing else appealed to me. I went to BOCES (a technical school) my junior and senior year of high school. Junior year I spent completing the certified nurses aide program and after that, I was able to work in nursing homes, rehabs, and hospitals helping people with their daily needs. Senior year, I took a class that allowed me to shadow health care professionals in Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt Kisco, NY. That, was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. If there was any hint of doubt in my mind about going into health care, that class totally dismissed it. Even after following surgeons, respiratory therapists, physical and occupational therapist, radiologists, and more, nursing was still for me.





Before I graduated, I got a job at a hospital as a patient care technician. That job allows me to care for patients, assisting them with washing, cleaning, feeding, dressing…basically everything that they need. I thought that would be a good step, getting me acquainted more with the field in which I wished to make a career. I have been there for 5 1/2 years now.



As the college applications were sent in (knowing nursing is a competitive field), I awaited that letter. I sent to several schools my plea to let me into their programs, however, only one replied…and that one was Pace University. Their exact words were “ I wanted to be the first to let you know: the answer is YES! You have been admitted as a freshmen for the fall of 2006. Welcome to Pace” ( I know this because I still have that letter). Well here I go…I’m now officially a college student…yes!! I was so excited. I was going into a RN program, and a very well known and good one at that. I actually almost couldn’t afford to go there because Pace is a private school and in return is very expensive. In a nutshell, that worked out and I got to go there.



I went to Pace for 3 school years. I met some cool people, attended all my classes, (never failed one), participated in school events, and even joined a nursing club. However, it wasn’t all bliss for me. Pace gave me diddly squat for financial aid. I received $200 a semester from a school that cost over $15,000 for one semester. That was one, pretty major problem right there. That problem alone almost made me have to drop out pretty much every semester I was there.
On top of that, they didn’t let me into the nursing program right away, I had to wait until my 5th semester there until they finally let me into the first round of nursing classes. Before this I had taken all my prerequisites, and then some. I basically had nothing else left to take there besides those nursing classes. This wasn’t my fault however, because as I already mentioned, I never failed one class, so it wasn’t me being lazy. It was incompetent guidance counselors that didn’t know their ass from their elbow. For example, one semester, my counselor advised me to register for my first round of nursing classes. Me, being a naive, first child in the family to go to college chick, did as she said, of course, why would I question it? After all, this counselor had been working there for a very long time, so she knew the ins and outs…or so I thought. At this point, I hadn’t completed the appropriate science classes to be able to get into these nursing classes (which I registered for in April). I didn’t know that when I registered however, I trusted my advisor. That summer, I took a study abroad trip to Rome, Italy for 3 weeks (the best time of my life, but that’s another story).


While I was in a whole other time zone half way around the world enjoying the Statue of David, the Coliseum, and being able to drink without being asked for an I.D, the school decided to send a letter home telling me of the problem and that I had to drop all my classes; this was the end of June. So, I had to drop everything and take the leftover classes that were left open when I got back home (by now it was the beginning of July), that was a waste of time….






Pretty much every semester after that I had encountered a problem. There was not one that went smoothly. My final semester there I was finally in the classes I needed to be and I did great. I went on my clinical through maternity, and even my clinical instructor mentioned how good I was doing. She even could tell I was comfortable with the patients (being that I work in a hospital) and that I knew what I was doing….I was pretty much a zombie that semester (PTM knows.) I would wake up for class around 6am, drive to school, be in class from 7am to 3pm on a early day, some days went from 7am to 6pm, go and study until 230am at my friends house, drive home 45 minutes, go to sleep by 3am and wake up at 6am to do it all over again. Oh yeah, and throw in some work evenings too from 3-1130. Believe me, I’m not complaining. I loved my classes and I did very well, never failed a test or assignment or any of that.

I had to take a required math test to get into the next level of nursing classes. For this exam, you had to get a 90 or better (when the year before it was an 85 or better) and you only get two tries (when the year before it was three tries). The first test I got a 85 (questions were 5 pts. a piece). The question I got wrong I actually didn’t, it was in the wrong form (I had it in decimal and they wanted it in fraction, which wasn’t in the directions nor was it taught to us that way in class)…of course I had to take it over. The test was given the week before class was supposed to start. I got an 80. I found that out two days before classes were beginning. This meant I couldn’t take the next level of classes and I had to drop everything yet again. This would mean another round of ridiculous classes that I didn’t need. I had to make the decision to leave Pace that day in just a couple hours time because I found out the info at 12 in the afternoon and the offices closed at 3. That was January 2008…

Well.. I was out of school for about a year, just working ( still at the hospital). I eventually attended a community college about 50 minutes away. When i enrolled, I was told that I would just have to wait one semester to get into nursing classes because I a a transfer student and there are others ahead of me. So for one semester I took a couple of silly prerequisite classes...awaiting to start my real classes. Of course, I go to register and the counselor says...I have to wait a year and a half before I can get into nursing classes...not one semester.
I have since left that school also.
I attended BOCES again for the Licensed Practical Nursing program. A very intense 10 month program. I have now just finished that program ladies and gentlemen. Now I am just awaiting to take my state boards and officially become a LPN.
I will go back for my RN after the wedding. But it sure does feel good to finally have accomplished something.

2 comments:

tracirz said...

The way schools are run these days is all messed up. I think that the internet is going to phase it out, or at least change the way school works considerably. Right now they are resisting the change, trying to change in ways that aren't really helping much.

Pat Tillett said...

sounds to me like you've already accomplished a great deal. Getting your RN would be awesome. Every step is quite an accomlishment.