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I have discovered in my course of one week in the BSN program that I am in fact, pretty old. At least in regards to the other students. Most of my class mates are female, and most of them are still on a fairly traditional college track. They live at home with their parents, in campus housing or in nearby apartments mostly. Their sence of priorities, work experience, and general life experience don’t really relate to mine. That’s OK, really. I am still getting to know everyone. I am sure that by the end of the school year I’ll have some allies, someone to talk to on occasion, and maybe even a friend.
On orientation day, I sat randomly on the floor with a group of much younger looking girls. We all introduced ourselves and spoke briefly of our backgrounds. They were all very pleasant young women from different sized cities and their hometowns were in either Minnesota or Wisconsin. But from there, we were mostly different. They were talking about how exciting it was to move into their apartments around campus for the school year, buying season football tickets to see the Gophers in the new TFC stadium, and chit chatting about normal campus life. If I had anything to add it mostly had to start with, well, ten years ago…
I told them I was married which raised a few eyebrows, and then I told them I was a mom, which dropped a couple of jaws, and when I said we lived in a nearby suburb in our little house I got a couple looks of total confusion. I can’t blame them. You don’t enter a traditional four year program expecting to be in class with someone nearly ten years you senior, with a prior career, a secure home life and responsibilities outside school. I think I would have found it odd if I were in their shoes. I didn’t talk much because my life really doesn’t concern them. There was also a free taco bar at a local restaurant for social hour. I was seated with some various younger people, a couple of whom I had lunch with. When we said names around the table, one young woman interjected me and said,”Oh yeah, she’s our mentor.”
We were also broken up into groups to be paired with faculty mentors. The program is a new idea, and I hope it turns out to be a very positive connection. We introduced ourselves all around, and when I detailed my educational background and work experience the professor said, “OK girls, if you run into trouble with your work involving lab values or pretty much anything else, here is your go to person.” I do hope they call me out and ask. The truth is I learn or remember much better when I can teach it to someone else. Not everything I do here will be review. In fact the idea of taking a pharmacology class scares the pants off me. But, chances are it may still be easier for me then them. So here’s your invitation fellow students, hit me up for answers.
There are other nontraditional students out there with me, but I haven’t really had a chance to meet them yet. I hope I can start to get acquainted soon and not feel like such a pathetic little old lady. I will find my place, but for the moment I am pretty much adrift. From one lonely student to all the rest out there, welcome back, good luck, and remember that you will not be an outcast forever.