The End of Week One!

In case you’re wondering how this first week of class went, allow me a brief, illustrative anecdote: I was intending to update here on Tuesday night, after the second day of class. Instead, I fell asleep in the laundromat over my notes on vital signs.

What I’d really like to tell you is that this week wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be, that I had just psyched myself out in advance and been worried for nothing – but that isn’t the truth. The truth is that I came home after 7 hours of class on Monday and reported to RP that the day had been terrifying, and that I came home on Tuesday after 11 hours of class half-convinced that this whole grad school plan was really, REALLY not going to work out.

Thank goodness I didn’t post on Tuesday night, hm?

I’ve since calmed down. Or rather, I’ve since spent hours and hours studying, and then calmed down. There are a few things that I’ve had to recognize:

  1. I am not being modest when I say this: not everyone in my program is finding this as difficult as I am. I think mostly what this summer is exposing is what each of us has just been doing; I have classmates who just graduated from other institutions with degrees in biology. I have classmates who have spent the past 5 years as nursing assistants in hospitals. They know a lot more about the topics we’re studying this summer – physiology, say, or physical assessment – than I do. They’re looking pretty relaxed right about now.
  2. Having said that, lots of my classmates are finding this just as difficult as I am. I’ve stopped a few people in the lecture hall during breaks just to confirm that I am not alone in already being sleep-deprived — check. People are already starting to show up to lectures in their pajamas, so I didn’t feel so bad when I looked at myself in the mirror today and noticed that, after only 5 days of lots of stress and less sleep than normal, I look terrible.
  3. The structure of the program means that students are bound to feel overwhelmed at the beginning; not only are we taking seven courses this summer, but we move from topics that are highly abstract to highly concrete as if it were no big deal. Yesterday I spent 8 hours memorizing facts about the nervous system. The day before, I learned how to change a bed pan.
  4. I’m not going to be doing much socializing for a while. Or possibly ever again.
  5. I’m going to be just fine as long as I don’t much other than study.

I was hoping to move through this summer with no problems, and with time to see friends, read novels, and hang out in Prospect Park. Between nursing fundamentals, physical assessment, advanced physiology, and pharmacology, it’s pretty clear that none of those things is going to be happening for the next couple months. And while it’s a little embarrassing to admit, I had been hoping that this process was going to be fun. I can now see that I’m going to have to take a slightly more adversarial position on the whole business, at least for this summer.

Nursing school: I am going to OWN YOU. Watch out!

10 thoughts on “The End of Week One!

    • It would be about three years on an academic calendar – but because it runs through the summers as well, it’s more like 2.5 years. I’ll graduate in the fall of 2014.

  1. This is a totally normal feeling after a week (and, probably, after a semester at least)! You are going to own it! And you are going to study really hard in the mean time. Then you will be an awesome midwife. Team Birdie!

      • I’m glad I wasn’t tempted to call you this week! As for those freshly minted biology majors? Bet they can’t write like you do! (Ok, I know you’re not at the journalism school but still………..) Team Birdie! Love it!
        P.S. What’s with the Youtube at the end? Required advertising? I thought it was going to have this ironic tag at the end, something terribly appropriate for a Feminist. Woolite. Meh.

      • I’ll call you this weekend!! xx

        (The Youtube at the end is advertising – it sits at the end of whatever the most recent post is. I put up some ads after the whole fake Apple store business, and ads on the blog make me a little bit of money. Like 10 cents a month.)

  2. I’m sure you are aware that our newly instated poet laureate is Natasha Tretheway. Her work is really amazing. The article in the Times today has a wonderful passage from her poem, ” Domestic Work” which I thought you might find interesting. I’ ve been following your blog off and on since your Mom told me about your Disquiet Award ( we were in college together at NASC back in the day) . Natasha’s most recent work, Native Guard, is really worth reading. I think her interview with Terri Gross is available on tonight’s Fresh Air. Best of luck to you.. You are truly undertaking a noble pursuit. The women (and men) of the world need folks like you! Carry on!!! Paul R.

    • Thanks so much for reading, Paul, and for pointing me in the direction of “Domestic Work” and “Native Guard.” (The former is available to read at, for others who want to see it.)

      I actually think you may have me confused with someone else – I’ve never applied for a Disquiet Award, but my friend Kaitlin won one a few months ago. Perhaps you got directed here from her blog?

      I hope you keep reading anyway! šŸ™‚

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