I am now two weeks into the Fall semester. I have my first Anatomy (mini) exam on Wednesday, the first Anatomy lab exam on Friday and a Spanish exam in another week. Nothing like jumping right in! I don't think I could have made a worse choice in classes to take concurrently...Anatomy, might as well move a bed into the lab; Spanish, tons of workbook and text pages each week plus mandatory language lab hours. There is one scheduling choice that would be worse...Anatomy, Physiology and Micro, concurrently!
I am about 95% decided that I will transfer to a nearby 4-year university as a pre-nursing student. Here is what I have been mulling over...
1. Pre-nursing students at the 4-year university get first preference for admittance to the nursing program at that school.
2. Students that meet admission requirements at the school I am at now are put in a lottery for acceptance. Everyone's name gets "thrown in a hat" and people are accepted randomly. Those not accepted get put on a waiting list, if anyone drops IN THE FIRST QUARTER ONLY, waiting list people are moved into the spot. When the next semester begins, the next lottery begins...and all wanting to be in the lottery have to REAPPLY to the program! I have talked to some people who have gotten in on the first round. However, I had someone in a class last semester who was completely changing the direction of her education because she had been through the lottery and wait-listed FIVE TIMES!! That would be two and a half years that she had been trying to get into the program!!
3. I have finally gotten to a place in my life where my education is a personal priority. I am not getting an education in order to "make the big bucks"...although the increased earning potential WILL be nice, it is not the main reason I am going to school. As a teenager I was the kid who didn't do hardly any of the homework. If a paper was required to pass the class then I would write the paper, the night before it was due. I would often not go to class at all, then show up on days there was a test. I would often ace the test or get B's. Although I would get very high scores on tests, I would get zeros on homework and attendance and any class activities that happened while I was not there. I barely graduated because of this. I also spent a lot of time thinking "I can't do this"... never recognizing (until recently) that if I actually did some of the work...not even ALL of the work, just SOME...I would have probably been a straight A student. Now that things have changed in my life, I am enjoying school. I have learned the value of studying (and actually learned HOW to study). I have discovered that I LIKE school! How cool is that?!? I like learning, I like hearing people's ideas during discussions in classes, I liked making aspirin in Chemistry (and also liked putting a tiny drop of a yellow chemical into my tube of clear chemical and watching it smoke and turn royal blue!).
4. I am graduating soon. After this semester I can petition to graduate with an AA in Social and Behavioral Sciences. It feels somehow "wrong" to graduate and then continue at the same school. I already have 68 units of lower division, transferable credit...continuing at the same school will keep adding on lower division credit. Why do that? If I'm going to continue taking classes, why not take classes that will actually count towards a higher degree?
5. I have the financial aid stuff going now. If I start working, I lose a lot of it...some of it is need based and some is due to being "disabled". Working will change my financial need. Working will end my disability benefits. In short, working will make returning to school at a later date very, very difficult financially.
6. Working will also effect my forward momentum...inertia may set in. I think I am starting to know myself pretty well. If I go work for a couple years, I will forget that I like school, I will forget that I'm good at it. I won't go back. It took 15 years for me to go back this time. If I get an ADN, go to work and then take 15 years to go back...I'll be 56 years old when I START back...that alone is likely to make me not go back. There is also the issue that when I am 56 years old, my partner will be 68. She is a very young 50 right now, but she is starting to talk about "when I retire"...and I want her to actually be ABLE TO retire if that is what she wants to do. If I am going to school (still or again), she won't be able to retire.
7. If I transfer to a 4 year university and finish there, I will be the first person on the maternal side of my family to achieve a 4 year degree. I will be the forth person on the paternal side. Interestingly, two of the three from the paternal side of the family have degrees from the same school I am considering...one of them is a BSN. The third one was my Grandmother...she was a 5th grade teacher. Two of her three children got Bachelor's degrees and the third got an Associate's and then a couple years of trade school. I would be the first (and possibly only) one of the three grandchildren to graduate from a 4 year university. It sounds a little lame but is important to me just the same. I spent many years feeling like the idiot failure that would never amount to anything...whether people actually said this to me or my perception was off kilter does not matter...I felt this way. I no longer do now. Getting my Bachelor's will be proof (to myself) that I am not an idiot.
So there you have it...it looks like I am actually more than 95% decided!