Ever since I was young, I have always wanted to study nursing. Something about the thought of helping others made me feel good. I’ve always loved people and being someone’s friend, so I thought that nursing was literally made for me.
I was 20 when I started nursing. When I look back, I think I liked more the idea of nursing if that makes any sense. During my first semester, we had one week with anatomy and the other week with practical procedures. I realized when I was going to my classes how this was not how I thought my days would look like. To be quite frank, I never knew what to expect when I first started nursing, but this was not it. I didn’t really enjoy the subjects at all. While we were in class, I felt so isolated and I didn’t enjoy it. I thought my second semester has got to get better (!!!)
During my second semester, I had my first clinical experience in a nursing home. It was 10 weeks and I’ve never been more unhappier than in that time period. I was wishing my days and nights away… Even though I loved to help the elderly, it was something in the back of my mind that I could not shake off. It was this truly bad feeling that this was completely wrong for me. I even started looking at other schools. But I didn’t want to disappoint anyone! What would my friends think?!
After the summer, it felt really hard to start my third semeste, but I tried my best to have an open heart. I had mixed emotions going into this new year and I didn’t know what to expect. After 1 week with classes, we went straight to clinical at the hospital. It was tough. I cried almost everyday, I suffered from panic attacks before going to the ward and it was so hard. My self esteem had hit rock bottom, I basically didn’t feel good enough and I felt like I was doing something that I didn’t enjoy. After my clinical, it was straight back to school. I felt very sad and I lost my appetite; not only for food, but life in general. There were many days I couldn’t get out of bed, because I thought “What’s the point?” And the thing is, having those feelings are so unlike me, because I usually love my life and I try to be grateful for everything I have. But suddenly, I just hated my life and everyone in it. That’s when I knew something was very wrong.
At the end of my third semester I did, surprisingly enough, take my exam. I didn’t get a very good grade, but I could not care less. And that’s another sign of when I knew something was definitely wrong, lol. It was so unlike me, this careless behaviour… I would basically go to school and when I came home, I would lay in my bed with the lights off, either crying or sleeping. It makes me so sad to think about, looking back at it now. When I decided to quit after Christmas, it was the best decision of my life. I felt like I had truly given my all at clinical and in my classes. I think I am way too sensitive, vulnerable and emotional for this profession. I thought that if you treated people good and loved to help others, nursing is the profession for you. But it’s so much more and it’s truly not for me. I enjoyed the patients and caring for them, but I have always envisioned myself working in an office helping others. That’s why I’ve decided to study social work this upcoming fall. I couldn’t be more happier with my decision.
When I reminisce on the time in nursing school, I think it was more the practical side of nursing that I didn’t enjoy that much. It didn’t give me confidence at all and I looked back at high school and all the subjects I was good at. Like writing, law, sociology, religion… I figured that those are all subjects important in social work. I think it’s okay to change your mind. I’m not the same person today as a 22 year old woman, as I was when I started as a 20 year old girl. I needed this experience to figure out who I am and what I like and dislike. The worst part is, I always felt like nursing was the wrong thing for me, but I kept on going because I didn’t want to let anyone down. But the truth is, I just let myself down, and that’s an even worse feeling!
I’ve realized that after this experience, you only have one life and there’s no time to waste. Always trust your inner voice and love yourself first. You know so much more than you realize.