Look how terrified I am in this picture! Actually it took everything in me not to cry because:
- Obviously I was so happy!
- I didn’t really get any closure. Everything just… ended.
- I SANG THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AT GRADUATION!!!
Can we talk about how terrifying that was for a minute?
The weeks leading up to graduation I got no information about anything. Where I was gonna stand, if there was going to be any sort of mic check, if I was singing with any music, nothing. I get to the arena on the big day and half an hour before graduation starts they take me and everyone holding flags for their nations (We are a very diverse school with students from all around the world) and they walk is through everything that is going to happen when we start. I was walking in behind the student carrying the American flag, along side the student speaker. So, we were literally the first 3 students to walk into the arena full of maybe 3 or 4 THOUSAND people (No joke… see why I was so nervous???). As they were walking us through everything, I found out that I would NOT be sitting with the rest of the nursing department, but instead, in the very front row in front of the stage, which for some reason was also terrifying to me, but anyway…
At this time, I still had no idea if I was singing with music or if I was doing this a capella. When they were finished telling us everything we needed to know about where to stand and stuff I promptly asked them what was happening and if I had music to sing to. And to my horror they said “yes, there should be music”. I could feel the color leaving my face and I told them politely while trying not to hurl, “I haven’t been sent any music to practice to”. They went over and talked to the guy running the music and came back and told me that I was going to sing a capella after that. But even then I was still so nervous because I was afraid that with all of the different things going on, the gentleman running the sound would have forgotten that!
So I stand at the side of the arena, right under my family so they can’t actually see my face, and wait forever for all of the students and faculty to walk in. When everyone is finally at their seats, they announce me and immediately I can feel my heart pounding and I start getting all sweaty and nervous. The cameras are all pointed right at my face and I’m PETRIFIED! I couldn’t look at the cameras otherwise I knew I would forget the words, so I just stared into a void and started singing.
You guys, I felt like I was singing for a year. I was so scared and so determined to not screw this up. There’s a video of the whole ceremony up on YouTube and I just gained the courage to watch myself for the first time. I looked like I was going to pee my pants. I kept thinking to myself “don’t forget the words, don’t forget the words, don’t forget the words” instead of actually thinking about the words and when I got to “And the home of the brave” I immediately thought “Holy crap, I didn’t forget the words!” That’s when I kind of snapped back to reality and everybody was cheering and I felt so awkward, so I smiled, gave the mic back, and booked it to my seat.
After the ceremony, we went out for dinner at this awesome tapas restaurant that Boyfriend and I really like and we had great food, great drinks, and lots of laughs. We were put in a semi private area where we were really able to let our freak flags fly, because yes, we are an extraordinarily weird family. I love them so much though. I was so sad for everyone to leave the next day, but we all had to get back to reality. And I needed to start my final downward spiral breakdown.
Yes. I had a final nervous breakdown the day after graduation. Boyfriend and I were making dinner and I kept thinking, “How is this happening? I’m not smart enough to have just graduated from nursing school”. I crumpled on the ground in the kitchen and started crying… again. Boyfriend was telling me that this happens to a lot of people. It’s called Impostor Syndrome. Essentially it means you feel like a fraud and you can’t really internalize your accomplishments. It was a mixture of that and a feeling of “now what”.
That was a few weeks ago. Since then, I have come to terms with the fact that I am officially done with nursing school. Now it’s just getting ready to take my boards. I took a review class with Kaplan last week to help prepare me for that step and it was INCREDIBLY helpful! It helps you think and answer questions differently. The way the NCLEX wants you to answer questions. To any nursing students reading this post, I URGE you to take that course! Mine was only 4 days long. It was a lot, but it really has helped me answer questions differently.
So, that’s what my plan is now. Just getting ready for my boards. The Kaplan instructor suggests that you study 5 days a week for 6 hours each of those days. It makes sense to have to study like that. I need to make a schedule for myself because I also have vacations coming up in July that I need to work through too. But I know I will make it through this. I just need to take my time, answer question after question, and review why I got questions right or wrong and I will be in good shape.
I am so proud at how far I have come. From being told in high school that I would never amount to anything by a horrible excuse for a guidance counselor, to having a diploma in musical theatre AND a BSN, I will NEVER let ANYONE stand in my way. Ever.
And you shouldn’t either. You know your own worth. Don’t let other people make you doubt that. Since finishing nursing school, I have been thinking about going back to school. I have even been thinking about trying to get into medical school in the future. But for now, I have my eye on my nursing boards. That’s the most important thing right now. And never, even for a second, take your eye off that prize. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel. I can see it.
See you soon, friends.