When I first began the conversation about going to Nursing school, it was always supported with incredible enthusiasm.
“You’re going to do so well because you’re such a hard worker!”
“It’s so evident that you put in so much work so you’re bound to succeed.”
“I’ve seen the effort that you’ve put into other studies, and I know you’ll be just as successful in your program of choice!”
There was an emerging theme in all of it…but I cheered along with everyone in exuberant thanks, and imagined the day that I’d walk across the stage to accept my piece of paper with my straight A’s and 4.0 GPA.
After all, that’s how my hard work had presented itself in the not so distant past…but there was just one glaring difference – the completely blind naivety I was skipping in with.
I began the year off with excitement, determination, and an incredibly strong work ethic. I put in hours and hours of reading and note-taking, reviewing and perfecting. I was hitting the mark exactly where I wanted to (pun intended).
And then, somewhere amongst the craze of assignments and exams, it all fell apart.
I found myself putting in these same hours, but remembering nothing. I found myself sleeping longer when I should have been up and studying for my next exam; finding new things to watch on Netflix when I should have been prepping for lecture or lab; literally laying in bed staring at my ceiling when I should have been practicing my skills.
(SUUUUP DEPRESSION, HOW’S IT?)
I’ve had arguments with myself because “Don’t forget to have fun!”, they said… “It’s not ALL about spending every waking moment studying!”, they said… but every time I take a couple of hours to have fun I feel SO.MUCH.FUCKING.GUILT.ABOUT.IT because “in college any free time you have is just procrastination”. Y’all know that meme, don’t even lie.
In trying to manage both my life and my school work, it’s all just come apart at the seams. Every moment I’ve spent away from studying has pushed me back. Step by step, I feel like I’ve walked backwards into an ocean and suddenly, it’s bottomed out and I’m desperately trying to keep my head above the water.
& I feel like a fraud.
You know when you hear all of these great things that people say about you, yet you can’t seem to actually reach the damn bar they’ve set?
Every conversation feels like a lie. I fell short of my own expectations, and in turn I felt like I’d been letting down every person who believed in me. Everyone sees me as this incredibly talented, hard worker – and yet – I’ve spent most of the last couple of weeks curled up in bed every moment I get because I just. can’t. do. it.
Life happens. Stress rises. Depression creeps in. Inadequacy lingers.
Every moment alone in silence, with no pen to paper, has me immediately thinking, “Mayette, what are you doing? There are 1001 things you should be doing right now. You have to work harder than this!”
I’ve put so much pressure on myself to uphold this image that’s out there of me that I’ve completely burnt out. I’ve neglected self-care, I’ve neglected my nutrition, I’ve neglected my sleep. I’ve neglected myself – period.
I AM a hard worker, but I’m learning that that can’t be all encompassing.
In amongst all of the deadlines and chaos (and accomplishments, because those are in there, too), I have to remember to take care of myself.
I have to actually listen to my body and my mind.
I have to recognize my limits and heed the warnings they bring.
I have to learn to recognize and celebrate the victories, regardless of how big or small.
I have to learn to take the stumbles with a grain of salt.
I have to not be afraid to ask for help when I know that I need it.
& I have to remember that I’m not letting anyone down, not even myself…
Because I’m still here, doing the thing even though it’s incredibly fucking hard, and getting through all of the shit that goes with it.
(And I need to start writing more because I feel a HELL of a lot better after getting that off my chest)