Since childhood, I dreamed of becoming a nurse. I played “hospital” with my brothers in the backyard using our trusty green wheelbarrow as the ambulance, stretcher, and hospital bed. My brothers alternated being the patient or doctor, but I was always the nurse. However, my path to becoming a nurse was not easy.
It took three attempts to be accepted into nursing school. The first attempt devastated me. I remember going to see the college nursing advisor. His counsel was shocking. He said, “You would never get into nursing school; your grades just aren't good enough. You have to change majors because you will never make it as a nurse.” Unfortunately, at that time, I believed him and followed his advice to change majors.
Three years later, a month away from graduating with my bachelor's in biology and a chemistry minor, I realized what a mistake that was. I didn't want to be a biologist in the lab. I didn't want to teach. I still wanted to be a nurse; I needed to be a nurse. Deep in my heart, that passion to have RN behind my name was still there. That fire was still burning. I had to reapply.
I was disheartened when rejection letter number two arrived, but I still had hope. Okay, so the fast track is out of the picture. I still have a chance at the traditional program, I thought. I kept my options open and took summer classes that were prerequisites at another school just in case a fourth application was required.
When the next letter arrived, my heart felt like it was jumping out of my chest. I had been accepted. I was ecstatic.
Nursing school had its challenges. I failed a few tests, but never failed a class. I worked full time as a nursing assistant, made time for my husband and friends, and trained for my first half marathon while a full-time student. It wasn't easy, but I was determined to become a nurse. When doubt crept in, I repeated:
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14, ESV)
It would have been easy to focus on the words of that previous advisor, that I'd never make it as a nurse. I could have given up when it got hard. But I put my trust in God.
God's promise of strength for the weary (Isaiah 40:29-31) offered me comfort. I often prayed, “God, give me the strength I need for today.” And he would.
Today I attribute success in nursing school to putting God first, family second, and school/work last. I know that sounds crazy and counterintuitive, but I was going to school to advance my family's future. I served as an example to my classmates that studying and getting perfect grades were not necessarily the road to success. Often, my classmates would be extremely stressed and overwhelmed regarding an exam; I felt calm and relaxed though I sometimes had studied less than they had. Some asked how I could be so serene. I told them it was by God's grace. I knew this peace and calmness was a God-given blessing. With God as my priority, my resources, time, energy, and mental capacity became more abundant.
I have been a nurse for more than 7 years. My resume reflects multiple certifications and skills, the most rewarding honor granted in May 2019: I was named pediatric nurse of the year at my hospital.
I often think of that first advisor. I wish he could see how, with God's power, I overcame my struggles. It turns out that my co-workers and patients recognize that I am actually a pretty awesome nurse.
When the odds are stacked against you and everyone says, “It is impossible,” keep reaching for your goals. Trust in God. Do not stop fighting to attain your dreams. Refuse to give up. Pursue your passion. Pray for strength to make your dreams reality. If God is in it, you can do it!