Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lessons from a woman who fell to earth (ouch!)

[Disclaimer: Time for another round of thoughtful introspection, enter at your own risk]

My melt down last week has led me to introspection on a new level. In my quest to identify what this has taught me, so that I may incorporate it into my life, I have discovered a few things about myself. As always, it seems to help if I type these discoveries out.

First, I love to learn. (Thus the fact that I am in doctoral school). However, I am shallow in this desire to learn. I would rather read US World News and be abreast of many topics, then to read say, MacWorld about a single topic on Mac computers (which I also subscribe to, but rarely read). My personality desires information and lots of it, but not in depth. At some point in my reading the numerous textbooks and articles assigned for my classes I become bored, my thought process is, “OK, that is enough of that. Next. This trait is a detriment to graduate school. Of course only if I allow it be. So now, when I reach the moment of boredom, I need to tell myself to go farther. Sounds simple, we shall see how simple it becomes. I also need to behave like a student. Something as simple as going to the library to study, might be an option.

Secondly, I have mentioned that I avoid connecting with people. It is almost like I am flying under the radar, trying to not be noticed. Invisible. Why would this be? I think that I wanted to get my “life” established and then add the friends. Almost as if who I am was not established. What a load of crap! That is going to change ASAP. It would be slightly easier to change if I had lots of extra cash lying around and could afford to go out. That of course is a marginal excuse as well, since there are a plethora of things that cost minimal to nothing to do in A2.

Thirdly, I have gone from being an expert in my field to being a novice again. This is quite an adjustment. Certainly a place I have been at many times in my life. I thought (incorrectly) that I could use my expert experience to assist me in this educational process. Not so fast, my experience is valuable, no doubt, nevertheless, (exactly how many comma’s may one use in a single sentence? ROFL) nevertheless, for educational purposes (at least in nursing school) experience is not a valued commodity. The expectation is that I regurgitate textbook information, not personal experience. I am rather surprised by this, as one would think that at this level of education, my opinion, backed up with research, would be what they are looking for. I suppose that doesn’t happen this early into the program. This of course takes us back to the first item on the list and that is reading past my boredom so that I can speak to the topic from the textbook versus my own experience.

Lastly, (although I have a feeling that I will be learning even more over the course of this program) Failure is a strong teacher. Now, by all accounts I did not even come close to failing this term. I had two not so great papers at the end, after many good papers. I am taking a guess that my GPA after the end of the first term will average at least a 3.5, so lets be clear on one thing, I did not “fail” at this. My perception of what I did is what failed me. The total melt down, my entire emotional state the last week, seems like a failure to me. “I should be stronger than that” Ok, even if that is true (humor me) so what? OH WELL, freaking out about it is not going to change it, saying “oh well”, forgiving myself for not being perfect, that just might assist me far more than pissing and moaning and feeling sorry for myself ever will.

I do have to say, that after coming back to my old job today felt pretty damn good. I was the expert again and had all of the answers. Damn that felt good. I get to do it again tomorrow too! One of the things that one of my professors said to me the last day of class was “Your background is hospice, that is “fluff”, this (graduate school at the school of nursing) is not fluff. This statement of course blind sided me for a moment, but only for a split second, as I felt this strength in me rise up and thought “is that what they think? They think I am fluff? Now it is time to prove to them that I am indeed not fluff. First and foremost death is not fluff (although if you remember, just this week I called a class on death and dying a fluff class, ROFL!) but my experience is in managing hospice…this includes firing people, managing accounts receivable, monitoring over 8000 pages of federal regulations, etc, etc, etc. That my friends is not fluff. Her comment is exactly the type of thing that will push me beyond my limits (which is probably exactly what the intention was for her to say that) but I will be showing them that Katie is not fluff. Count on it.

Ok, I think I expressed the main ideas that I have learned this first term of doctoral school. Not too bad for 14 weeks of my time and about $15,000 bucks, oh, and don’t forget a piece of my sanity! :o)

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