My life was so different a year ago. I was still in College Park, baby-sitting Mikey and Hunter, just got into nursing school, there was a guy involved, just started making amends with my best friend, had no clue what I wanted to do after graduation, excited to live in a city, etc, etc. I can’t tell for sure if I have changed. I’m sure people would say that I have. I just hope it was for the better.

And, of course, I regret not doing this after the spring semester. Why I must wait until one year to reflect is BEYOND me. -__-

2011:

  • Started nursing school
    I remember orientation. I remember walking through the gates of the Nursing building, and walking through the front door under the sign that said, “School of Nursing.” I remember singing that song, “Perfect Day” from legally Blonde in my head as i was walking in. It was all I could do to get a grip on myself. I was terrified. But that day, I had met some of my really good friends now. More on that later.
    I had talked about how nursing school was exactly the place for me. How I felt like I belong. How incredibly blessed I was to be attending an incredible school. But things got crazy, all hell broke loose. That’s why the blogging stopped, as expected, because I just didn’t have the time. The pressure is unbelievable. The work, astronomical. It is emotionally-draining, mentally-exhausting, nerve-wracking, and soul-crushing. These are harsh terms, but so were the conditions, I believe. I remember getting fevers because I was so stressed out. But even then, not once did I ever question my dreams. Not once did I had to second-guess whether or not it was the right place for me. Amidst the self-doubt and failures (oh so many failures), I never lost sight of my dream of being a nurse, of helping other people. 
     
  • Met people
    I met two of my closest friends in nursing school on orientation day: Faith and Hannah. I met Hannah first, and right off the bat, I knew we’d be good friends. She’s funny, friendly, smart, confident, strong, relaxed, beautiful, adventurous, and seemingly fearless. I think she sometimes sells herself short, though. I think she’s capable of great things, and I’m not sure she knows it. Then I met Faith. By that afternoon, after orientation, we were lying on my bed, cuddled up, watching HIMYM. I guess that set the tone of our friendship? Because I honestly would not know where I would be right now if it weren’t for her. She is friendly, giggly, funny, fun, smart, patient, tolerant, outgoing, thoughtful, polite, and so incredibly selfless. So selfless that I feel like I have to remind her to take some time for herself. 
    There are other friends that I met, but if I start listing down names, it’s going to be a long list. Another person worth mentioning, though: Andrew. He’s a semester ahead of me. He is… the light in the darkness. He is a constant reminder of God’s presence in my life. He keeps me on track, and he doesn’t even have an idea. He makes me want to be a better person. I need more people like him in my life, I think.
     
  • Lived on my own, in the city 
    I was terrified. I didn’t want to leave all my friends from College Park. I was lonely, for a few days. But obviously things got better. I met Jessi, small-town, farm-girl from middle of nowhere Idaho. But make no mistake. This girl will someday change the world. She has more heart than anyone I know. She is amazingly smart, patient, funny, innocent, and just a genuine person. She has taught me so much about being a Christian, about being a better student, a better daughter, and a better friend. She has taught me how to cook, to manage my finances, to get rid of the smell of onions from plastic containers, to change the fuse in Christmas lights… I am very glad I met her. The universe, and God, put her and me together for a reason. And I am thankful for that everyday.
    They city is great. So many things to do, so little time. And so little money. Baltimore is great, as long as you are safe. I guess? 
     
  • Turned 22
    I meant to write something here the day after my birthday, but I never got around to it. And now I don’t remember much from it. But I do remember that it was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had, and for no particular reason.  It was the little things. Waking up early to go to Mass, Faith baking me cupcakes, new friends taking the time to greet me even though I barely knew them, my mom telling me we got $10,000 back from taxes – meaning I can continue living on campus, Jessi taking me out to dinner, me acing my patient interview… The list goes on. But if I’m going to be honest, I think the highlight of the day was Andrew showing up on my doorstep. He brought me a bowl of strawberries, and we just talked for 3-4 hours. This is nothing special for him, though. He just talks that much. But my favorite part was when we were sitting on the floor, he held out his hands and asked if we could pray. He said, “I can’t imagine a better way to end this than a prayer.” And I agreed. That was the perfect way to end a perfect day. I hadn’t prayed like that with anyone in a very long time. And whenever I do, I’m always the one initiating it. It was refreshing and amazing to hear someone else offer. 
     
  • Got my first real job
    Very few things in life compare to the excitement and gratitude I felt when I got my job. Of course, it wasn’t nearly as exciting as getting into Nursing school, but it’s up there. I really liked my floor in the beginning. Not to say i hate it now, but I certainly don’t love it. It sounds awful, but I like the financial stability. But the staff, for the most part, was great. But there are times when I would come home crying. More often than not, it’s because I get so overwhelmed by work. But at least it’s a job, I guess? I don’t know. But if I’m going to be honest, if I were given the chance to transfer, I will do it, in a heartbeat.
     
  • Started 2nd semester
    Definitely one of, if not the, hardest semester of my life. But I think I handled it well. Too much work, wayyyyy too much work. I barely got to see my family. But I managed to pull-off a 3.4 GPA. Not as high as I would have liked, but hey, that’s a 3.4 GPA in a top-ten nursing school in the country. Fuck yeah, I’ll take it.
     Clinicals were both good and bad. Good, because of the amazing group I had. I wouldn’t change anyone in that group, even if I could. Bad, because of the site. Not even worth talking about.
     
  • Losing sight of things
    There were times when my faith was starting to be pushed back on the back burner, and I most definitely did not like it. I have always told myself that I am in this field for the greater glory of God. But there were days when i literally forget the date. Case in point: Immaculate Conception. It wasn’t until 5:30 pm when I realized it was December 8th, and it was WAYYY too late to go to Mass. I was upset, embarrassed, mad, and felt incredibly guilty. When I went t Confession, I told the priest all this. That me working this hard is making me start lose sight of why I am doing this. And I lose sight of that, what’s the point? He so kindly told me that it happens. That as students, things get out of hand. As humans, we mess up. He said that I wasn’t alone. That even in the seminary, where they are in a community of faith, where prayer is constant,  they also fail to juggle things at time. And that made me feel better. It was also a wake up call, for me to pay more attention to my faith, to re-prioritize.
     
  • New England Roadtrip
     This is a weekend I will never forget. Years from now I will look back on the first weekend of October 2011, and think about the beautiful things I have seen, and the fun memories I had made with some of my best friends. There should be a whole bog dedicated to this, but I’m pretty sure I only finished documenting the first day. Oops.
     
  • Casino Night Formal
    Probably the best experience I have had so far in Nursing school. Monica came as my date! We drank, we danced, we talked, we sang… Definitely going again next year.
     
  • Thanksgiving
    Jessi spent thanksgiving with us. She cooked for my family, and oh boy, was my family overwhelmed. So much food. And of course, our sink breaks. SO it took us 3 hours to wash everything by hand, using buckets, with my brother, sister, Jessi, and I on an assembly line. It was actually fun!
      
  • Florida Roadtrip
    No better way to end one of the best years of my life than to spend it with my family in the happiest places on earth. Just like the New England Roadtrip, this deserves a whole blog in and of itself. Soon. I hope. 

I don’t give thanks enough for how blessed I am. And that is an embarrassment. But I truly am lucky to be able to experience these things, to have amazing people in my life. And no, I don’t think I am the same person from last year. She has done a lot of growing up. I think I’m more mature, in a sense that I know how to set my priorities. I know certain sacrifices need to be made to get things that I want. I’m more responsible. I understand what is expected of me and what role I play as a team and family member. I have a better work ethic. I am more inspired. I am better at time management. I can cook food for myself. I take 7 seconds to cross the street. And no matter how hard I try, the quickest shower I can manage is 10 minutes, 20 on an average day, 45 if I’m taking my time. Might seem irrelevant, but it’s nice to learn things about myself. 

So that is 2011. Certainly a year I will never forget. 2012 seems daunting, but hey, if I got through 2011, I think I can get through 2012. It’s looking a bit scary, but also a little more promising than 2011.

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