If at first you don’t succeed – try crowd sourcing…

If at first you don’t succeed – try crowd sourcing….

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If at first you don’t succeed – try crowd sourcing…

The last couple of days have been a bit of a blur. I think my head is finally starting to catch up with the whirlwind. Which is good, because there are more midterms this week and I need to raise my grade average a little bit, just for my own satisfaction.

Funding has been the name of the game the last couple of days. Or, more importantly the sudden lack of. And so, with very little time and much to raise, I’ve decided to get with the times and try my hand at crowd sourcing for tuition for the first year of school. Desperate times call for desperate measures. And so here it is – my IndieGoGo campaign. http://www.indiegogo.com/helpjulihelpothers  Read it, love it, support it. For the love of god, please support it. 

Thank you. Honestly. From the cockles of my heart.

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Another day, another challenge…

This morning’s meeting held a frag bomb for me. After the majority of the week spent on cloud nine thanks to some ass-kicking at midterms and the gift of some new-to-me scrubs from an unexpected source, I was told that the university funding that had been assured is, in fact, not possible. It’s a good thing that it was self-directed study this morning, I wasn’t fit to tie my shoes let alone retain pertinent info in a classroom. So mostly I went home and became a whiny sot for the better part of the morning. God bless my poor family for putting up with me in those moments.

So what was the big problem? Not to get into too many details, but the work-for-trade deal that was supposed to put my butt through school came to a screeching halt due to insufficient funding on the other end. To their credit they certainly tried – they really did, alas, to no avail.  And with the news… My. Heart. Stopped.

Now I completely understand that sometimes the universe works in mysterious ways. And I also understand that even the very best of intentions don’t always pan out, and I am not blaming the original source. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we planned. But what this means now is that I am sitting here after doing some stellar work, kicking some ass on midterms, and jazzed beyond understanding about the new life and profession that is coming to me, and I am facing the very real dilemma of either creatively coming up with thousands of dollars or having to withdraw from nursing school.

I suppose I said that I wanted the real university experience – well, here it is.

Now, I have already tried the student loan route, scholarship route, the grant/bursary route, as well as draining the personal resources, and there’s nothing left. So what comes next? I’m not sure. Here’s where I get to be creative and use some of those problem solving skills I am supposed to be good at. That and pester my friends and family for ideas. Ideas and cash.

So what is this post about? Am I reaching out for funds from you? Maybe a little bit – if you have been following the blog and dig it so far, or have a burning desire to help a 40-year old woman get her nursing diploma, there is a PayPal donation button on the side bar. Am I venting? For sure, this is the hardest news I’ve had to deal with in … I can’t even remember how long. But mostly I am sharing the school journey as I have committed to do. And this is certainly a part of my education journey. One that changes the whole course of how it is all going to play out. Does it mean I lay down and give up? Hell no. That’s not who I am. And that’s part of what is going to make me a great nurse at the end of it all. The stubborn tenacity to get the job done. And I still have faith that it will.

So, what are my creative funding thoughts? Well, a public source funding tool, for one. I am setting up an account with IndiGoGo this afternoon and will have that link up as soon as it is together. And I have some pretty supportive friends who are already talking about belly dancing events, beer and burger dinners and sexy nurse car washes as fundraisers. Nothing like a bunch of hot chicks to get the dollars moving. And, of course, chasing the elusive grant money for later semesters. If this were the States I’d sell a kidney… Ok, maybe not the kidney thing. Maybe. Probably not…

As for school and funding and life around it – I’ll keep you all posted. And hey, Thanks for listening.

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First midterms down, time for a drink!

Two midterms completed this week, and it’s only Wednesday. What can I say except for – It wasn’t that bad. I didn’t spontaneously combust. I managed to put all of my clothes on. And I even matched! I was, perhaps, sans make-up, but that is another issue (namely organizing my mornings). And to top it all of, I think I did pretty damn good on the exams, themselves.

What can I say? Slow down. Relax. Be prepared and there is no reason to stress. The knowledge is in there. Cramming like a madman 1/2 hour before the test is not going to accomplish anything. There is no honor in stressing. And, to take the advice of a like-minded classmate, maybe throw a shot of Bailey’s in your coffee in the morning. Ok, maybe save the last one for after the test, but you get the idea. Chill. It will all be ok.

It likely helped that the instructors up at Thompson Rivers University WL were kind to us this first go around. After all, these are the first midterms of the first year. Too soon to scare us all off. I am sure they will save that for later on. But I hold fast to the mantra of ‘If you learn it, it is in there.’

So now that leaves the rest of the school week open for things like Vital Signs practice, bed lifts and research papers. And perhaps some Bailey’s in my coffee.

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Mid-Term Eve, and a full moon … coincidence?

Mid-Term Eve, and a full moon … coincidence?.

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Mid-Term Eve, and a full moon … coincidence?

Tomorrow is my first mid-term exam up at WLTRU for the LPN program and I am half convinced that my poor brain is old and dusty and won’t retain a single iota of information, thus causing me to not only fail miserably but to lose all function and fall to the floor like a flailing idiot, likely covered in bile and without wearing any pants.

Or so it goes in my head. It probably will go much easier in real life.

Studying for exams is something I haven’t had to think about for a lot of years. And here I am, now, the day before the first of many and I am freaked out just a little bit. I have read and re-read the information until my brain just couldn’t hold any more even if I lopped the top off and stuffed it like a sausage. It is full. It is full and sort of hurting. Though that could be hormones – who knows?

In my feeling like I have fallen behind I have not taken enough time to do the one thing that could make a huge difference – going over my notes on a regular basis. Oh I have looked at them, but they have, at times, been shuffled off to ‘look at them later on’… and as I should know by now (because, let’s face it, I tell my kids this every day it seems) that ‘later’ just never comes. And now here I am, less than 12 hours away from the first mid-term of the LPN course, and I can’t remember if I remember everything. I am questioning myself. Not a good practice.

I suppose I should be practising visualization and doing relaxation techniques to keep my stress levels down. Or maybe I should be heading to bed to wake up early tomorrow morning so I have time to go over my notes one last time before the exam. Or maybe I should get the hell of the computer and make sure I have covered everything I need to cover. Again. One more time. Just to be safe. You know, ’cause I am all old and junk.

I think I am going to go with the ‘go to bed and wake up early’ option. Partly because we talked about that in class not too long ago, and partly because my brain is a little fried with trying to make sure all the correct info is in the forefront of it for the exam tomorrow. And partly because I know that there isn’t going to be much gain from making myself crazy tonight just to go to the exam tired as all hell and panicked because I am over-tired, over-stimulated, and likely jacked on coffee. But mostly because of the in-class discussion part.

There are fantastic ways to study out there. And to be honest I haven’t utilized as many of them as I likely should have. Yet. Though I am aware of my weakness in this area and I am actively working on it. And not just because I have to pass this blooming exam in the morning. But because I want to be a better student, and ultimately a better nurse. Which is what this is all about in the long run.

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There’s always something

There is always something going on when you’re a mom heading back to school. And it’s not always a good deal. There’s always something.

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There’s always something

Well, wouldn’t you know it, yesterday was a sick day for me. Part tired as hell, part sick- as-a-dog. Though it did provide some space for good reading and catch up. Between some seriously needed Jerry Springer time, of course.

Today in class we are doing vital signs. Exciting stuff, actually. I am looking forward to getting into the nitty gritty of nursing. Hands on goodness. Practise, practice, practise.

I’ve had some serious ups and downs over the last couple of days. My pre-requisite course finally came through. So that is something to get excited about. I only have until the end of October to get it done, and it is going to be great to dig in to it. How bad can Anatomy and Physiology be, really? Six modules, six weeks. Like it is pre-destined or something. At least, that’s what I am telling myself. So that’s my good news.

The bad news, however, is that some of my funding sources are up in the air right now. And that is stressful. I am hoping to resolve that all this week, but in the interim it is freaking me out.

What both of these situations are telling me is that it is best to be prepared. Fully. Before you dig in to school, itself. On the flip side, don’t let a few things unfinished make you not jump in. It can be done.

Make it a mantra,even. It can be done. It can be done. It can be done. And more than that – I can do it.

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Oh what a feeling

I feel as if I am falling behind quite a bit with my homework. It is a few weeks in, now, and just looking at what projects need to happen, what notes need to be studied, what needs to be practised… I am feeling a little scattered and tired just thinking about it.

It likely doesn’t help that I came into the whole school experience a little haphazardly. If I could tell anyone anything about getting back into school – be prepared. Get on those pre-requisites. Know what is expected right off the bat. Ask questions. Lots of them. Plot out your days. Because when you are juggling work, family, and school – you need to know that it is going to be a bit of a struggle. You also need to know that it is worth it. And you can do it.

And so that is why I am not giving up or giving in to negative thinking, and that is the important part.

For anyone thinking about going in to such an intensive program, I would recommend not working, or working as little as possible, while in the course. I know that’s not always possible, and here I am running a business and working part-time, so I am the biggest breaker of the no-work rule that there is. But if it is possible – cut back on the workload – there is a lot to think about. And even though you aren’t running around all day, the poor brain gets tired by the end of the day. And if you can’t cut back – like me, I totally feel your pain – self-care is all that much more important.

Remember to care for yourself. Self care. Be gentle. Be kind. Make absolute certain that you listen to your own body symptoms. Where you hold stress. What are your triggers? Have you yelled at the kids three times today and then cried in the bathroom? You likely need a break. Take one. And those negative people in your life who just want to cast their own shitty days on you, point out the negative things in all situations (even yours), or bring you down to their own level of wallowing – you know the ones, we all do – cut them right out. You don’t have time for them. In fact, you should do that anyway, life is too short for naysayers.

Oh ya, and don’t fall behind in your work. Procrastination is a killer. And it is stressful.

Organization is key, and self-discipline cannot be stressed enough. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to turn into a fun Nazi, just that it is important to know your limitations. Stick to them. But always, always, always take time out for yourself every day. Even just a little. Go to the gym. Go for a walk. Take a hot bath with a glass of wine (something that I am sure will come up often in this blog)…

And study. Don’t study hard – study smart. Take a few minutes to go over your notes at the end of the day. Don’t make a 20 page graph of them and post them on your walls until you are enveloped in the crisp smell of fresh print paper. Just take a few moments to read them. Maybe in the tub with that glass of wine.

Maybe one of these days I will take all my own advice.

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One Week since I changed my world

With one full week of classes behind me, I am still feeling like heading back to school at 40 years old is a good idea. Am I in a honeymoon phase? Is that even a thing when going back to school? Or maybe I’m not actually doing as much as I am supposed to… God, am I not doing enough homework?

Truth be told, I am still a little nervous that my poor brain isn’t going to able to manage everything I have going on. But a good amount of positive self-talk, seemingly excellent and helpful instructors and TRU staff, some vital long-distance phone calls with my bff, and the occasional bubble-bath (complete with a glass of merlot), keeps me on the positive track. But some days it is harder than others. There is a lot going on in my world.

For example: It is also the end of the third weekend of my new DJ night job. It is also mid-way through our magazine deadline. And, wouldn’t you know it, the baby is teething. What this all means is that Sundays are a day of rest and mild-exhaustion, but that’s not too much different than what is normal for me so it is nothing I can’t handle. Yet. But so far, so good. 

The first week of classes, themselves, have been pretty mellow so far. I expect that to change in no time. But as of right now it is a lot of introduction to the subjects themselves. What is surprising, though, is the amount of reading. There are some substantial text books involved in this course. And not everything that we need to know is going to be covered in class. So I have had to schedule in time each night, after baby goes to bed, for text review and homework.

My poor hubby is pretty convinced that we’re not going to see each other for the next couple of years. And, I suppose, to some degree, he is right. Gone are the days of lounging around every evening playing video games or watching movies. Gone are the lazy weekends heading out for a festival or a road trip on a whim. Everything for the next couple of years is scheduled. Everything. But scheduling is what is also going to make it all work. Including making time to hang out and play games or cuddle up and watch something on the tube. And just like classes, tests, and the work schedule – family time is scheduled in pen.

So what have I learned this week? I have learned that depression and anxiety are a result, in part, of extreme levels of stress. I have learned that effective communication is key in the nursing profession. I have learned that with time-management you really can have it all – just not all at the same time. I have learned that, if you can, it is far easier to work with the current editions of the needed text books. And I have learned that everything is better when you have great friends and family around you. Even if they are sulking because they have to wait till you’re done your homework before you can hang out.

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