Thursday, 6 September 2012

School in the Time of Cholera

Day 27
338 Days Remaining 

Warning: this post contains some description of bodily functions (hey, I'm in nursing school now; what did you expect?).

Someone at church told me recently, "When you start school, it will open up a whole new dating pool."

Of course, I laughed and said it didn't matter, since I wasn't planning on dating anyone for a year anyway.  Now that I've started and have three (only three???!) days of school behind me, I'm thinking that there's no way I'll be dating for at least four years, never mind one!  How does anyone find the time?  If I already feel that this has been the absolute longest week of my life (and it's only Thursday), how will I feel about Exam Week?
Exam Week burnout

So I apologize for having been in absentia for a few days, but now you know why.  After nearly five years of working toward it, I'm finally beginning the Nursing program at Camosun College/University of Victoria.  It would feel like a huge success if all the work ahead of me didn't seem so daunting.

Tuesday was the first day of classes.  Due to my exhaustion, my mother volunteered to drive me to and from school during this first week, and she arrived before 8 o'clock on Tuesday morning, ready to go.  I had barely slept the night before, despite my lovely YouTubed relaxation channel (when you're anxious, it seems to irritate rather than soothe: What is that noise? Now it's too loud and I'm too comfy to get up and turn it down. Oh no; I don't want to leave the computer on all night.  WHY DO THEY USE TRUMPETS WHEN IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE RELAXING??!) but I was ready, having downed a healthy breakfast, packed a yummy lunch, and figured out which books I would need for that day's classes.  We left the house in plenty of time to make it to my 8:30am first class.

I love my mom for taking care of me, but I am sure she hates my backseat driving.  I directed her the completely wrong direction for that hour of day, but she gamely followed along.  By the time we fought through morning traffic, it was about 8:25 and my heart was beating double time worrying that I would be late to class.  Mom soothed me: "Don't worry; it's the first day.  I'm sure most people will be late."  Sure enough, there were hundreds of students wandering the campus, so I blew Mom a kiss and hurried to my first class.  My stomach was doing flip-flops.

As I walked down the hall looking for the correct classroom, I heard an authoritative voice coming from WT103.  When I peeked in the door of the classroom, I saw that nearly every seat was filled and the teacher had already begun the lecture.  Nooo!  Exactly the way I didn't want to begin.  I had to quickly find a seat and then squeeze past everyone in my row to get into it.  My seatmate greeted me with a smile as I wrestled my two-ton backpack and lunch bag (it's a laptop bag.  I'm making do for now) past her and under my chair.  The moment I was all settled in and ready to pay attention to my instructor, I felt my previously nervous tummy grow ever more uneasy, and suddenly I realized that I couldn't sit in this seat much longer.  I needed a bathroom, and I needed it soon.

Oh, no.  Not now.  Not on the first day of class when I don't know anyone and when I've come in late and when I've just shimmy-shimmied my entire body (my bum is the main shimmy-er) past all sixteen people who sit between me and the door.  Please, God; don't let this happen.

I tried to ignore the twisting in my belly.  Perhaps I can manage to make it all the way through class before really needing the bathroom.  I glanced at the clock: 8:35.  The class would let out at 11:20.  Fat chance.

The instructor was telling us about what we would learn in the class, and everyone seemed to be paying rapt attention.  I was attempting to forget that I had a digestive and an excretory system.  I focused on what she was saying and did my level best to open my ears while keeping other parts firmly shut (I know; that one was horrible.  I couldn`t resist).  All I could think of was how I could get out of that classroom without disturbing every single one of my classmates and drawing attention to myself.  I took small sips from my water bottle, trying to distract myself, but wouldn`t you know it, that only increased the swirling and churning in my gut.  Finally, I couldn`t take it, and I had to pry myself out of the seat, past all sixteen row peers, out the door and to the blessed relief of the bathroom.
This is pretty much how I felt by the time I finally got there.

I suppose a nervous stomach and its results are par for the course on the first day of class, when you don`t know anyone and have no idea what to expect from the next four years.  I nearly had to run back a couple of hours later, when our instructor showed us a video about the cholera epidemic in Bangladesh.  Ironic, really; they showed the vinyl-covered beds for the cholera sufferers, featuring a hole cut through the bed, which was draped with plastic.  The victim (cholera produces uncontrollable diarrhea and vomiting) would sit over the hole so that their waste products would just go straight down into a bucket which was placed beneath the bed.  It seemed a fitting way to end the class, for me in particular.  I was actually a little disappointed that I didn`t know my seatmate well enough to joke about it with her.

Let's move on.  I tend to not mind graphic descriptions of bodily functions, but I hope not to alienate my audience here, so I've tried to be subtle!

So, my first week in school is nearly at an end, and I am feeling fairly good about it.  The best part of the week thus far (aside from the realization that nearly everyone in the program was feeling the same sort of nerves I was, and the fact that yesterday I visited the bathroom before the start of my first class) was today, when my English instructor told me that my writing was very good, and that I should consider challenging the course.  Having an extra three hours a week to do other things (ie: study!), and getting course credit and a refund for the class itself?  Sounds good to me!  I've sent off an email and am looking forward to seeing if this is an option for me.

And now - although I really should be studying - I am going to take advantage of not having the kids tonight, and be a bit lazy.  I think I deserve it.

'Til next time, 


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