Thursday, January 25, 2007

When Things Settle Down

Dear Mom,
Remember how hard I cried the first week after I went away to college fifteen years ago? Remember how I said that I never would have come if I had known how hard it was going to be? Shouldn't fifteen years which encompassed an entire life span of a marriage, the birth of a child, the death of a father, and countless years of accumulated successes and failures have mitigated some of that emotion?

I've survived the first week of nursing school at BigSounthernSchool. After attending lecture last week, I made the following to-do list:
Be a Good Person.

According to my professors and textbooks, nurses are caring, attentive, selfless, open to new ideas, creative, calm and professional. They are reseveroirs of knowledge, advocates and teachers. They use good communication skills, show flawless emotional control and time management skills and are devoted to the health of their patients above all else. I begin to wonder how I will acheive this in only two years.

The first two days felt like one big blur of faking-it-til-I'm-making-it. With no clue, a thousand wishes and a million fears, we all dashed around to find classrooms (or not), see people that we recognize (or not) and collectively we waited for Things to Settle Down. Hopefully, I won't be too far behind in the reading when this finally happens.
For weeks before the semester started, I've been busy at home, shopping for books and looking at campus maps and bus schedules. Apparently, that was all for comfort only, because I never actually bought the books (everyone's already read the first chapters of everything), am lost immediately upon stepping onto campus and take the wrong bus for three days in a row (oddly enough, three different wrong buses). I was also busy constructing a thousand assumptions. No wonder I'm lost. How can I come to this open? How can I dive through the fear and get to the thing that needs doing? I sit in the library and wonder what needs doing. With each breath, I know. With each breath, I can open and dive. But this moment's breath seems caught somewhere small.

I'm lost. There's something in the feeling itself that can allow me to string together the times I have felt small and sad in a long heavy chain. But the the beads of all the days that I have grown larger and brighter scatter and roll under furniture. The joy is finding those beads in a dresser drawer somewhere. with love, kati

P.S - Things are Settling Down a bit. The doc from Counseling and Wellness who addressed us at Orientation had a slide that showed a much higher rate of grad students than undergrads come to the office for counseling. She said that grad students see the value of free psych services when they see it. I'm not a grad student, but I'm old enough and poor enough to perk up when I hear the words "free service". I've got an appt next week - let's see how good your free services are, nice lady.

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