Steps Getting Into Nursing School

How I Prepared for Nursing School Financially, Physically, and Mentally!

 

It was early April of this year when I officially received my letter of acceptance into National University’s Accelerated BSN Program. I had waited three months before I would find out if I got into the program. Man were those three months the longest days of my life! I started to think ahead about how I needed to start saving money for school. In addition, I wanted to start eating healthier and not to mention losing some recent weight gain. I also wanted to prepare myself mentally for school. I had read so many blogs that nursing school was extremely difficult not to mention that you didn’t have time for anything but school. Let the stress begin! After reading all those entries I was starting to doubt myself. It got to the point where I wasn’t excited about reading what others had to say about their adventures in nursing school!

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What am I doing! Am I ready for this?! I can’t do this! This is all was running through my mind. I stopped took a deep breath. No!! I will not allow myself to begin nursing school on a negative note, I have always been very optimistic and a positive person. I began to form a plan. I was currently working a full-time job and needed to come up with about $3000. This money was to be paid up front before starting my nursing classes. How in the world was I going to come up with this money!

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I commute from the Menifee area to La Jolla five days a week, in addition, I pay for the fast-track pass to help me get to work on time. It was costing me around $800 to get to work this was including gas. I had to buckle down and write down exactly where my money was going. As I went through my bank statements I saw that most of my spending money was going to food as well as random shopping sprees. I had five months exactly to save up the money. I added all my bills and expenses that were needed throughout the month, here I saw that I had additional spending money that clearly I was not using well. By breaking down how I was spending, I was able to see that I would have just enough money saved up if I buckled down and saved. This felt like torture I couldn’t shop or randomly buy insignificant things. Well, I could but, I had to look at the bigger picture. How bad did I want this and were those “things” necessary?

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Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to get what you want. Growing up in a Hispanic/Latino household my parents always taught me that there was always a way to make things work out and sometimes you had to make sacrifices. Not to mention this was coming from a family that was once undocumented and many times had no other choices. After all the sacrifices my parents made for me I had no room to complain or not to mention work hard. Here, I am sacrificing my time, my commute to and from work adds up to five and a half hours a day! That’s on a good day, one time there was a car accident that involved a big rig and I was stuck on the 15 freeway… it took me 7 hours to get home! Yes, that’s right 7 hours that’s not including the 2 hours from the morning commute! Some people call me crazy, I call it dedicated! If you have a goal you will do or in my case travel wherever you need to, in order to reach that goal.

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My Daily Commute

As for the physical aspect because of my commute, it made it difficult for me to find time to exercise. And you’re probably thinking you always have the weekend, right? I also have a part-time job which I work on the weekends. I told you I wasn’t kidding when I said I was determined. I work as a vendor for American Greetings, this is a great job that I came across when I was living in Oceanside and wanted to pay off some debt. They have flexible hours its easy and best of all I get to listen to music while I work! So all those holiday cards you see at Wal-mart, Target, Rite- Aid, etc. Yours truly is working on making sure all those cards are nice and neat and in its place. So next time you’re in the card aisle please don’t let your children rearrange the cards all over the place and maybe think twice before shoving that card in a random spot. Because, who knows it could be my store that you’re at and you’re making me work harder .. haha!

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Working As A Vendor For American Greetings

Getting off the topic, where were we… ah yes! A plus about having this job is that that I am working on my feet all day long. My full-time job is a desk job where I work as a medical receptionist/medical assistant, not only do I sit in the car for two hours I then arrive at work and sit for another eight hours! I try my best to get up and help in the back and get as active as possible. Buuuut then its back to the car for another two-hour commute, by the time I get home it almost 8:00 pm. I am mentally exhausted from driving I have just enough time to finish some homework, eat dinner, and play with my pups before its bedtime.

Bed time

As you can tell I’m limited in time, so something I have control over is the food I eat. I started packing ..well my boyfriend started packing my lunches. I was buying salads from Vons to eat for lunch, not only were they bland but, since I have a sensitivity to dairy I wasn’t able to enjoy my salad since most salad dressings had some sort of dairy product in it. My boyfriend recently decided to also start eating healthy so this helps both of us stay focused. I went from eating burgers, Mexican food, tortillas, and pan dulce to salads and drinking nothing but water!

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Pan Dulce

I also limited my caffeine intake and you know if you’re coming from a Latina household you take away the pan dulce and the coffee and your going to have problems! Not to mention those extra pounds I had gained was now affecting my lab work so much so my doctor wanted to put me on medication! Clearly, I’m not obese from what you see in my pictures, how is this possible I didn’t think my diet was that bad. I then told my doctor to give me three months, I knew I could lose the weight if I was dedicated (there’s that word again) if I didn’t lose the weight I would agree to take the medication. I then began to train my brain and tell it that I was eating better for the sake of my health, I no longer saw it as a ”diet”. Which is true I needed to be healthy and started making better decisions about what I put into my body. Three months later I was able to lose 17 pounds! And my lab work improved, not only did I feel better but I was no longer craving junk food. Once in a while, I’ll catch myself gravitating towards the soda or some extra tortillas and I tell myself, remember this isn’t for weight loss, I don’t want to be put on medication and I want to stay healthy while I’m in school, especially when you can’t miss class.

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Your mind is the most powerful thing and if you don’t take care of it, it can and will turn on you. Knowing what’s ahead of me I wanted to prepare myself mentally. I slowly began searching for books, videos, and blogs that were on a more positive note. I reached out to prior cohort students from National University to see if there was anything positive they could say about being in the nursing program. Slowly I began to find students who would inform me that nursing school was possible if you learned to manage your time, as well as avoiding procrastination and most importantly they would tell me school was possible! This is exactly what I wanted to hear! I began to read books on different techniques nursing students used as help. I made notes on my phone on tips and tricks that would help me while in the program. Things began to click and I was no longer anxious about school, I felt prepared I had all kinds of sources at my fingertips. I began to envision that although some parts of the program can be difficult I wouldn’t let that stop me. By researching and looking at the positive side of nursing school one can feel good knowing that you will be okay. If you ever become frustrated, think back to pre-nursing school remember how bad you wanted to be here and how you were one of the lucky ones chosen out of 300 applicants! Yes! You can do this!

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