The journey to becoming a nurse was rather unconventional for me. I knew when I began started at Emory College that I wanted to do something that involved being around people, making a difference, and a change of pace every now and then. My experience may be a little different from my fellow colleagues because I transitioned from Emory College to the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. My first week was filled with orientation and getting a feel of the college. We had orientation leaders and small group discussion among first-year students. The first few questions were aimed at getting to know one another.
“What is everyone’s perspective major or career track?”
I honestly did not know and I assumed that a few people did not know as well. We were a group of 12, so I was interested to hear what others wanted to do in the future. As everyone went around the circle all I heard was ‘I want to be a doctor.’ This was then followed by someone who said that they assumed that’s how the rest of the circle felt like. I was surprised not because of my peer’s response, but of my orientation leaders lack to facilitate the conversation in a more neutral light. However, this was not a problem that simply remained in my first few weeks of college, but the mindset that if you were not doing medicine then you were doing public health followed me until I came across nursing.
A friend of mine who was thinking about pursuing nursing invited me to sit in on one of their lectures. It was the end of freshman year and I was in a crisis because I simply had no idea what I wanted to do, so I said to myself, “why not?” The lecture we decided to audit was a Patho course and I was hooked as soon as class started. The professor was engaging and even though the class was three hours time seemed to fly. She was not only engaging but showed so much passion for the course that I wanted to take it. Soon after I had a chance to talk to a few of the students and they told me about the ups and downs of nursing school. I appreciated how open and honest they were being with a complete stranger. By the time I left I had made a decision. I was going to pursue nursing as a career because it had so much to offer.
You are probably wondering about my title. This post represents my journey to nursing school and the wall society automatically puts up because you are a nurse. My mom was not against it, but she proceeded to ask me if I was going to use this as an opportunity to go to med school. A few people who I tell that I am a nursing student ask me the same thing. I’m not mad about this, but simply sad that the career does not get the recognition and appreciation that others do simply because of the lack of knowledge most people have about the profession. I honestly do not blame anyone for that. If you are a Grey’s Anatomy fanatic and all that you know about health care is what you see on TV, then I fully expect misconceptions about the roles in a real hospital.
As people I interact with have gained greater exposure to the life of a nursing student, I have seen their appreciation and also respect for my career choice. One of the most memorable days I think a future nurse ever experiences is when a patient truly thanks them for saving their life. Those are the moments I live for. Those moments are what give me the satisfaction that I will someday be a nurse.
Gloria Alafe is a BSN junior as well as a BUNDLEs Scholar who looks forward towards embracing the diverse field of nursing. Her interest includes pediatric ICU as well as generational PTSD.