For the last few months I have been working towards applying to a nursing program in Fresno. I thought that I was not ever going to pursue this again but after two years away from school, I one day just felt I needed to start looking into it again. I spent several unproductive weeks talking to the community college and several technical colleges about maybe starting with an LVN program but things just didn't work our there. The state colleges still have huge waiting lists (up to five years in some cases, straight lottery in others), I couldn't get the final classes I needed for the program for another year, and by the time I finished with that, I would have timed out some of my classes and would have had to start taking them from the beginning. None of that was going to work. Heck, I'll be fifty at the end of this month and there is no way I can take the time to start all over. That seemed like an answer to my question of should I or shouldn't I. But one day out of the blue (or whatever!) I thought about looking into National University. The next day I went to talk to an admissions officer and here is the gist of that conversation: You can start on Monday (it was Friday that we were talking) and take one class for each of the next three months and that will put you only 10 days from the deadline of applying for the November cohort. If you hadn't come in today, you wouldn't have made it and would have to wait until January to apply and then start in April. Whoa, so I had a whole day to decide if I could commit to a program that costs $1400 a course, and started in 3 days.
Speedy decisions are not my strong suit but both Allan and I were overwhelmed with excitement and good feelings. He because he knows how happy and content I am when I'm in school and me because I could finally, maybe, sorta, see a way to reach a dream I've had for many, many years. Seriously, every road block I threw in the way, every obstacle I could invent was blown away by minor and major miracles. Financial worries? No problem, let Me email you about a program you might not know about. Driving back and forth in that big clunking car of ours? Hey, why don't you look into getting a car from the Fresno Mission? Don't think you can do the math? Let me give you the best and easiest stat teacher on the planet.
So I took the classes, and applied for the program. Next came the biggest hurdle to date: the TEAS test. I bought the book, purchased the practice test and proceeded to completely melt down. I swear it was like I'd never taken a science, math or chemistry class in my life. But I studied and studied and studied. One night I was outlining one of the study books and it was as though I could see myself in the very situation that I had first learned the concept I was studying. I don't know how to describe it but for example, when I was reading about the periodic table I could see myself in my chem class listening to my teacher explain it. That was a very powerful experience. but even with all that help, I still couldn't get over a 74% on any of the practice tests. But the night before, I had an overwhelming feeling of peace and was relaxed and calm. Come what may, I thought.
20% of the application process was based on an essay written on the day of the test. The school offered a free seminar on essay writing and I was going to attend but that morning one of my visiting teachees called and asked if I could take her to the temple that morning. "No! I need to study!" was in my head but my mouth said, "Yes." My heart prayed that somehow I would be blessed for this sacrifice but I had little faith. A couple of days before the test I decided to spend the day writing an essay on a random subject relating to nursing school and had Michayla and Tori edit and critique it. I choose to explain some of the experiences in my life that had led me to nursing as a profession. Imagine my surprise and awe when as I watched the proctor write on the board the prompt for our essay: Question #2---Describe some of your life experiences that have contributed to your decision to become a nurse. I'd say the Lord allows tender mercies for even those of us with barely a little seed of faith.
The day of the test: First was the one hour time to write our essays, then we had 4 hours for the test. I took nearly every minute of the time, checking and rechecking and guessing at the answers to the questions. I was one of the last in my room to finish, about 50 of us. When you finish the test, you immediately get a score and print it and hand it to the proctor. I was not pleased with my 83.4%. There is no way I could complete for a spot in the program that admits only 20 of approx. 120 applicants with that low of a score. I gathered my stuff and trudged to the front to hand it in. the woman looked at it and said, "Great score!" What? She said that it was the highest she'd seen all day. What? Yeah, good job. That's when reaction set it. I barely made it down the stairs and to my car while sobs were building in my chest. By the time I got in, I was full out bawling and sat there for over twenty minutes blubbering and sobbing. I didn't think I was that stressed, but apparently, I was and the relief of just having it done and out of my hands was overwhelming. Looking at the printout, I was shocked to see that I was in the top 94% of the national average and 85% of the program average. Maybe I had a chance after all.
We were told that results of our applications would be sent out at the end of the month so imagine my surprise when I got this email the next week:
Nursing Program applications are reviewed on a point based system. We look at four major areas: 1) number of attempts to pass your core sciences and statistic pre-requisite courses, 2) math and science based GPA, 3) the TEAS score and 4) the proctored essay. Each section is weighted to determine your overall admissions score.
The Admissions Committee of the National University Department of Nursing has thoroughly reviewed your application for admission to the nursing program.Unfortunately, your score is not high enough to be included in the top twenty, chosen to be in the November 2012 cohort.
You are welcome to apply for the next application deadline, which isJanuary 18th, 2012.
I was shocked. The rest of the email was about ways in which you can reapply, etc so I spent a few minutes looking it over and wondering if this was a final answer: NO. About fifteen minutes later I went back to my email and found this waiting:
My Email account just sent you a denial letter. Please disregard!!! It malfunctioned and send every applicant a denial letter. AGAIN, please disregard. I don’t have the top 20 students selected yet.
Oh. My. Heart, you may begin to beat again, thank you very much.
So, that is my summer adventure so far. I am still waiting for an answer and even though I don't expect it to come until the end of the month, every time I open my email, my heart skips a beat or two. I can't imagine not getting into the program, and I can't imagine getting in. So I'll probably be happy and depressed either way. Not sure how prepared I am for a program that lasts 23 months and expects between 60 and 80 hours a week of your time. But every time I think about being in the program, my heart beats a little faster, I can't catch my breath, and I feel like I'm floating. I'm either allergic or in love.
To be continued....