Once I decided I was going to college to work at becoming a nurse, I had to apply. I applied. I interviewed. I took a class in College Algebra (because my algebra grade from high school 14 years before was not good enough). I secured the financing. I was accepted!! YAY! The next 3 years I would be working, a student, and a single mother.
Now about that first class. College Algebra. I had done miserably in high school algebra. I hated math. I still do if it is much more than adding and subtracting. And I have never understood the need for Algebra. But I had to have a good grade. I took it in the summer. It was hard. Fewer classes. More tests. Lots of homework. But with the help of the best tutor (thank you Richard) I passed. With an A!! Anything is possible.
The fall of 1980 found me starting the first semester of college. I was 29 1/2 years old. I was the mother of two boys. Danny was 9 and Justin was 5. Justin was in preschool and would be going to kindergarten in the afternoons, at the grade school closest to his preschool. We would make it work. I had obtained some scholarships and had a student loan as well. The first semester I wouldn't have to work. I worked all the remaining semesters at an inventory job. Kept life interesting. Saw little of my kids. And very little sleep. But in the end, it was worth it all.
The first day of school I walked into a Chemistry class filled with new Freshmen. And not only were they new, they were young. Every single one of them has been in high school the previous spring. I felt old! Really, really old. I opened my book and clicked the pin. The first day the Professor had us introduce ourselves and say what our major was. Oh my goodness! I felt even older by the time I walked out of that class.
Chemistry was hard. I had not taken Chemistry in high school. And, now, they don't even require it for the nursing program. What the heck???
After a few weeks of struggling with the concepts in Chemistry, I set up a meeting to talk with the Professor. We met after school in his office. I explained to him how I was struggling. He did not make me feel like an idiot. He was very helpful. He told me that he had a book he knew would really help me. But, he didn't want to offend me. I promised not to be offended. The Book: Chemistry for 6th Graders. Best book of my college years. No offense taken, Prof!
The remainder of my classes that first semester were: Human Growth and Development, English I, and Psychology. I took a full load. It was required for the scholarship money.
In Human Growth and Development class we learned what it was like to be responsible for a baby! What the heck? I had two kids at home. The project involved carrying around an uncooked egg, in the shell, for one week. I did all that I could to get out of this project. No, go! I carried an egg in a little pink basket. Everywhere I went. For a week. Kept that little sucker alive, too. Most of the freshmen did more complaining about this than me. And I complained plenty.
I loved English I. I loved my Professor. He was a "book nerd". Most of this class was reading and writing. I loved getting my paper back, covered in red ink, with suggestions and comments on how to improve my writing. IT was a rush! I credit that man for my love of writing today.
Psychology was mostly reading and showing up for the class to discuss what we had read.
Chemistry class also had an accompanying laboratory which was required. The class was worth 6 credits. We attended an hour of lecture three days a week. And an hour of lab three days a week. The lab was fun. We created chemicals, fires, and made friends! I won't recall the order of the periodic table but I will always remember my Freshman (18-year-old lab partner, Ryan). I wonder what happened to Ryan.
The first semester ended with my name on the "all A Honor Roll". I don't mean to brag, but I was very proud of myself!! Now on to summer school. I wanted to get all of the pre-requisites out of the way so I could concentrate on just the nursing requirements during my final two years.
Thanks for sharing this - it spoke to my heart this morning about making all things new.ReplyDelete
Thanks for reading Frances!Delete
Yep. That was why I didn't sign up for nursing ... Math and chemistry. I'd never had made it thru. Great job pushing thru the math. When I was facing that decision in my first year of college I was 18 and had no real study skills. But as an adult, I think I could have made it happen if I applied myself. It is all about motivation and you had that!!ReplyDelete
LOL! I understand that! I wouldn't have made it, either, had I gone right out of high school. Different times. Different goals at that time of my lifeDelete
Glad you stuck with it and kept learning. It couldn't have been easy for you !ReplyDelete
It wasn't easy, for sure. But I am glad I kept on too!Delete
My daughter who is the mother of the two granddaughters I have went back to school to become a nurse after her divorce. She never considered herself either smart or an achiever, both of which I knew she had in herself. We kept the children for the two years she was in school, but she graduated with excellent grades. To get her license she had to take the test on a computer, and answer 100 questions correctly. Her computer shut down after 101 attempted answers; she missed only one. Sadly, she went on to make a lot of bad decisions. Good for you for keeping your vision clear.ReplyDelete
WOW! That is impressive that your daughter only missed one question. When I took the State Boards it was with pencil and paper. Times have really changed. They do everything they can to help students pass. I understand about kids going on and make bad decisions. That is why I am raising two grands as well.Delete
I went back to college after being out of high school for 20+ years. My GPA in high school was very low because I was more interested in my social life than studying. I didn't do anything as extensive as nursing, though. I only went for a 1 year medical transcription program to see how well I could do.I ended up with a straight 4.0 GPA. Aced every one of my classes. I just needed to prove to myself that I had a brain after all!ReplyDelete
My step-father asked me, while I was going to college, "Why couldn't you have been this good of a student in high school?" Different goals in college. Now I had kids to be responsible for. And I had learned there was pride in getting the best grades. Personal pride I didn't have in high school.Delete
Good for you making the honor roll! It took a lot of work in addition to being a mom, keeping up a house (even minimally but there would still be laundry to do, etc.) You are an inspiration for young women to reconsider and maybe rechange their original line of work and go back for further education. You are a great success story saying that persistence and perseverance works!ReplyDelete
Yes, there was laundry and housekeeping and meal planning. Not sure I could do it again. But at that time I had a goal And I just kept pushing at it. One day at a time. Failure wasn't in my vocabulary then!!Delete
I bet you were an inspiration for many of those students! Oh I hate Math too and wonder why it is required for anything but a Math degree:)ReplyDelete
I don't think I was an inspiration to them! Kids don't like having examples pushed on them. I can remember some times when teachers used us older students as examples. It wasn't comfortable!!Delete
You deserve to brag! Yes you do! What an accomplishment. It just proves that one can do almost anything if they really want to. I bet you were a great nurse too!ReplyDelete
Thank you Lyndagrace!Delete
YAY, you! I'd have waved a white flag the moment someone mentioned Algebra.ReplyDelete
That's neat how well you remember your instructors ... perhaps because you WANTED to be there, v. enduring days until graduation.
Love the image of you carrying around that raw egg in its pink basket!
That was a pretty interesting week with that raw egg and that little pink basket!!Delete
When I started college, I met another student who had been in the military and was just starting out at 20-something. He said he felt so old. He didn't seem that much older to me. (I was 18.)ReplyDelete
It was a different decade, but I met several students through my college career who were "older". One lady had been taking a class a semester for a decade. I don't think I paid much attention to the ages of my fellow students, but occasionally others would comment on feeling old.
No I doubt that 20 would seem that old if you were 18. Now, there are almost more older students at our community college than there are teenagers. But, when I went there weren't that many of us! And 30 is pretty old to a teenager!!Delete
These are really interesting stories. You do a good job of sticking to the key points, and not getting lost in the weeds, which is easy to do.ReplyDelete
Isn't it great when people who could make you feel dumb, just don't? We met with a financial advisor yesterday - lots to do with changing jobs and changing countries, and probably being jobless for a bit - and I really thought I'd get my hand verbally slapped for having so little set aside at this point. Not at all! It was a huge relief.
Thanks Red. I am trying to just capture the highlights and not get caught up in the hum-drum.Delete
As well you should have been proud of yourself.ReplyDelete
Thank you Wendy!Delete
It definitely sounds like a lot of hard work so you deserved to be proud of yourself. Doing all that studying would be hard enough without all the work involved in running a home and bringing up a family but I'm sure it made you a better nurse.ReplyDelete
It was hard work but so worth it in the end!!Delete
You did well probably because you needed to. I was a chemistry major and did help a lot of nursing students with their chemistry problems. It must have been difficult juggling motherhood, a job and school but you did it with honors. Good for you.ReplyDelete
That is exactly why I did well. Because I had no other choice at that time!! Thanks Sue!Delete