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The Journey to Nursing School: Saying YES!

The last time I wrote a TJTNS, the journey to nursing school, post I talked about something relevant to me at the time which was {switching schools mid pre-requisites}. This time I thought I would talk about something a little more applicable to all the sweet wide eyed babies hearing back from colleges and that is saying ‘YES’!
One of the most exciting things about applying to colleges is the day that you finally stop waiting and start planning. You can start shopping with mom for towels and decorations and dad will probably want to tell you stories of his college days, but before he can over indulge his drunken tales you have to say ‘YES’!
But how do you decide who gets the final rose and who has to go?
 
1. There are big envelopes and there are small envelopes.
There are tears and there are victories.
And that is part of the whole thing.
Before you can even begin to sort through it all you have to let yourself feel and then accept the school’s decision. So maybe you were not quite what your dream reach school had been looking for. You’re allowed to be bummed. Heck, I even allow you go get Ben & Jerry’s newest flavor and some Girl Scout cookies to share in your bummed-ness. But when you get those acceptances you should,  by all means, celebrate.
And then sit down with your acceptances in front of you and think only of them.
Realize all of the good things they have to offer and really focus on those that you love.
2. Applying to colleges is a total game. 
You have those kids who have a one way ticket into Brown simply because daddy funded a library, a dorm and the new conservatory (under your name), and then there are those who set their sights in different places, deciding that maybe a four year university is not right for them.
I was neither of these two types.
If we’re being honest here, I only applied to one school. And I got in, thankfully.
I had an off senior year and applying to schools was, unfortunately, the very last thing on my mind. Luckily, things worked out for me and I met one of my very best friends there during the year I attended.
In order to say ‘YES’ you must first decide what you want.
Not what your parents, who met in college and fell in love singing their school’s fight song, want.
Not what your friends, who you could just never imagine living 5 hours away from, want.
Not want anyone wants but you.
Do you want a four year college filled with spirit and football games and parties and dorms?
Or does a lower key community college sound better to you until you get things sorted out?
There are two main types of programs related to nursing school; four year programs that you are automatically accepted into when you apply to the school, and two year programs that may have a nursing campus that you have to apply to when the time comes or find another school all together.
So you have to start by asking yourself some questions.
Are you the type who does not like change very much?
Maybe a four year, built in nursing program applies to you. You’ll take your pre-requisites on campus and get to know people who will eventually be right beside you in nursing school as well. This sort of program provides a lot of stability to you as a student, and less trips frazzled trips to your guidance counselor come transfer time as well. Its basically like a built in conveyer built to nurse-dom.
Or, do you need some time to really figure out if nursing is what you want to do?
Maybe, you have always dreamed of going to a certain school but they do not offer a nursing program.
In this case I would recommend the pre-requisite route with application to nursing school after about two years of classes. Often times, upon entering college, you state your interesting in pre-nursing and you will be placed in contact with the pre-health office. They can give you the list of classes you need to take to apply to their nursing program and also share how you can be a competitive applicant. 
If you do go to a school without a separate nursing school, however, this may become more of a headache than it is worth. 
I originally attended a four year university that had a nursing program in a completely different city, that you had to apply to separately after your pre-requisites were finished. There were lots of people in this same boat and we had a whole office with counselors who were knowledgeable on the topic. A school without a nursing program may not have this same support and knowledge. 
In this case, you have to become your own guidance counselor.
Create a list of nursing schools you want to go to, a few safeties, some in the middle and a reach or two, and compile their nursing pre-requisites straight off the bat.  You want to begin to check off the classes you will need to even apply to the program as you go through your first two years.
3. Most parents fears surrounding college is the cost. They are terrified that their child will get into their dream school and then they will have to say no simply because they don’t have the funds to cover it all.
My thoughts on money and college are this; don’t break the bank trying to accomplish your pre-requisites, but also don’t be afraid to apply for scholarships that may just allow you to go to your dream school.
Its short and sweet, but I talked a little bit more about paying for college in {this post}.
4. On paper this is the easiest step.
In reality it is the hardest.
Saying ‘YES’ to just one school.
Once you’ve looked through all of the pamphlets plastered with overly cheery posed faces in front of charming brick buildings you’ve almost got to just go with your gut.
They say you know a person is ‘the one’ because you get butterflies your gut.
They say you know whether or not something is wrong with a situation because your gut tells you so.
I say you know you had one too many dinner rolls when your gut begins to hate you.
But sometimes you really do just have to listen to your instinct.
You know better than anyone else what you want and you have control over your future. 
So take the reigns, kiddos. 
Sign that dotted line and celebrate. Buy some overly priced spirit gear and wear it like its the only thing you own.
Best of all, enjoy this time. Its a thrilling thing that you’ll never get back.
After all, next up is just lots of late nights studying. And you can always enjoy that later.
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