Three Things I Learned When I Dropped Out of Nursing School
It's Never Over
When I entered nursing school, I was filled with excitement and hope. My plan was to get a Bachelor's degree in Nursing and work in a trauma unit. I wanted to be a hero, a life saver, a miracle worker for people in a terrible position, or at least that's what I thought. What I failed to realize is three important lessons which I was about to be taught after I dropped out of nursing school. These lessons aren’t limited to my specific majors and situations though, so I hope anyone reading this experiencing something similar can take something from this and make light of their situation.
Lesson number one: just because you like the idea of something doesn't mean you like the reality of it. The idea of being that heroic trauma nurse was very pleasant to me, but the actual daily exposure to death and heart break was not. Trauma nurses do save lives and are heroes, but trauma sees the worst of the worst of emergency cases and witnessing violent painful deaths is inevitable. While I do care about people and enjoy helping them, the reality of trauma nursing just wasn't for me. My reality was I needed to find another way to help people, which I did when I became a makeup artist who helped people look their best on important days such as weddings and school dances. Joy is the word I would use to describe the feeling of sitting with a teenage girl who’s about to go to prom; she’s not the most popular girl and maybe she’s even dealing with drama, a breakup, or insecurities about her physical image, and then I swoop in with makeup and take it all away. I turn her frown to a smile, her chin raises, her eyes glow, and her confidence soars. Some people are meant to be that super hero trauma nurse, but I was meant to help people in other ways.
Lesson number two: switching majors is way more common than I thought. Over half the people I know who have gone to college changed majors at least once, if not more. At first I didn't realize this and thought it would make me some sort of black sheep in college when really it just made me normal. And let’s face the reality, getting over your ego and accepting a healthy change in your life is way better than faking it and pretending to be satisfied in a situation that you’re not. Change doesn't have to be a bad thing.
Lesson number three: being the family disappointment has its perks. When you announce to your family you are going to school to be a trauma nurse, they are excited and even use you as a bragging right when they talk among friends or even each other. But when you announce to your family that you are dropping out of nursing school, starting business school, and becoming a certified makeup artist, there's a much different reaction. A million questions designed to cause you to doubt yourself are thrown your way. Eventually when it's clear you're standing your ground some people in the family will stop communicating with you. At first I thought this was strictly a con; but then I saw what my acquaintances in beauty school experienced with every member of their family constantly giving their opinion on which certificate or license they should get, if they should freelance or work in a salon, what prices they should do, constantly ask for discounts even if it could cost them their career, and so many other inconveniences that I only had to minimally deal with. By not having a flood of opinions coming at me I was able to more easily focus on what I actually wanted to do.
These three lessons can apply to anybody in any school or career. If you find yourself in the position of a major or career switch just remember; a like doesn't indicate a passion, a change doesn't mean the end or that you failed, and if someone doesn't support you then that's just one less weight off your shoulders for the future. Go be fabulously you, whatever that may be.
(The following is for anyone thinking about nursing school and is NOT for the faint of heart or weak stomach. If you were just here for the lessons, stop reading, you’re done.)
Side note: if you want to go into nursing, that’s great and I completely encourage you to pursue a career in nursing IF you are truly up to the job. When I was considering nursing school I mainly thought of blood and guts and while eventually that did get to me, it wasn’t what first shocked me. Remember you’re going to be dealing with other things like vomiting and diarrhea. From time to time you may need to perform a rectal exam, and the diarrhea happens to come at that exact moment. And maybe the vomiting too. Just realize if it’s a body fluid of any kind, there’s a good chance you’re going to have to work with it and it’ll probably happen more than once. But you will also help so many people when they need it the most, so if the fulfillment of the job is worth it to you then run full speed ahead and I wish you the best of luck in your nursing journey.