I'm scared. I don't want to let my family down.
A couple months ago my mom told me one of the saddest stories. I've heard sadder, but this one stuck.
It was Mother's day and my little cousins wanted to get their mom i did meaningand present but didn't have money. There are four of them. They all searched the house for coins and gathered up their piggy banks and collected enough money to total around eight dollars after exchanging their coins for cash at the supermarket. Every year they'd gone out to eat for Mother's day. But this year wouldn't have it. Another story to match the economy sucking. So they thought they'd celebrate over food anyway by ordering her favorite chicken wings for her and surprising her once she got home from work. When she came home they gave her the wings and said they understood they couldn't go out to eat this year, so they thought they'd bring the food to her instead. She cried to my uncle and told my mom the story the next day.
Ever since then I realize how much I hate the fact that my family struggles over money. By now, I know money is not the end all. Some of the poorest people I've seen have been the happiest, and some of the richest, the saddest. I know money can't be everything, but at the same time, it's really a survival thing. Families that immigrate to the United States are set in the mentality that they need to take off, maintain, and survive. Get off on some foot and be consistent; bring in income. Provide. Get by in an easier way than back at home. So I understand the race with money, the constant need to be keeping up. I get it, I'm right there with it, right behind it, it's beating me. It's beating us. So when will we tie. When will I beat it. When can I win?
They say education is key and college is the way out. Knowledge is power, and I can see part of that now, but I need to see all of it. Because I'm a nursing student, I've been able to get summer jobs vastly better than what I had to settle on before. The first summer I got a home-care job, I saw the power of going to college at work, as I cashed out of my previous summer job as a receptionist at a nail salon and denied offers to be a waitress. All three are arduous, hard jobs. But I'd be helping lives more directly, getting paid better, working less hours, and feeling like I did meaningful work.
This summer, I'm fortunate enough to have an even better job. I say fortunate in the fullest sense of the word because I am truly lucky to have been accepted to the Hausman Fellowship program at Massachusetts General Hospital. Because going abroad lasted a month into the summer, I thought I'd have no chance at finding an internship since they usually run all summer. This program is unique in every sense, in that it has two sessions and you rotate floors. It also seems a lot more personable than most internships I hear of. This way, I was able to go abroad, spend some time with family, and work. I'm excited. But at the same,
This past year I didn't do as well in my classes as I would have liked. I gave up to an extent, and I admit that. I justified it by saying my priorities changed and while that's true and I do intend on putting more weight on other aspects of my life, I need to make nursing my number one again. It's hard because once you're in the nursing state of mind, you get so easily overwhelmed. Maybe it doesn't need to be my number one. I just need to be better at it.
I need to keep my clinical performances up and learn to test better. I honestly don't care entirely for grades anymore. As long as I'm learning and I'm extracting the important things in my practice, I don't need the caliber of my potential as a future nurse or my value as a nursing student to be determined by the margin between an A- or B+. I don't need A's anymore. And I damn well don't care to compete with cut-throat students who aren't willing to help me. I know what I want. I want to be have enough money one day to take my mom on a shopping spree, and to take my family out without having to look at any price tags. I know what I want, and I know how to get there. I'm just so scared to fail. Especially when everyone around me is so competitive, and I want to take a moment to enjoy things other than studying, like events, and people, and conversations, and places. Especially when the weight of my purpose, the reason I even chose nursing from day one, is testing me as we speak. As my mom rests in bed, beat up from chemo, as my family recovers from the wounds of losing my grandpa a year ago, as I realize my mom's cancer was starting up when they were burying him in Vietnam back in June.
I'm still finding that balance between nursing student and life. I want to be grounded and committed to my work. I love the essence of what nursing is and what it entails. But these are delicate years and I refuse to lose them to over-sized text books, all-nighters, and people stressing the fuck out over the next exam. I will study and I will work. But I choose to be a person in the running, also.
I want to know I lived.