Study Time

It’s risky business blogging without a plan, but here I am. And here you are.

I’m sitting inside Letizia’s Bakery on Division PREPPING FOR THE GRE, of all things (!).

When I tell people I’m thinking about going back to school, I get this a lot: “You’re changing careers already? I thought you liked nursing.” Some of you may be thinking this very thing at this very moment. I’m not offended, but you should know there are many many post-baccalaureate Masters and even PhD programs for nurses.

I myself am looking into NP (Nurse Practitioner) programs. This means roughly three or four years getting a Masters or DNP (Doctorate of Nursing Practice). Programs start next fall, which means applications are due early next year. So here I am, studying for the GRE which I’ll take mid December.

I have to say, while taking the GRE seems a bit daunting, I found myself getting pretty excited about making color-coordinated flashcards for prefixes and suffixes. I guess that’s a good sign I really am getting ready to go back to school. Sure, I only have about a year of experience under my belt, but in the nursing world, one year can make a huge difference. And since being at Northwestern, I feel like I’m getting experience at turbo-speed.

Today I can honestly say I enjoy my job. I think I can even say I love it. I could not have said those things two and a half months ago. What an adjustment it’s been to move from UCLA to NMH. Who would have thought moving from one CTICU to another would bring so many new challenges and difficulties? It’s great to finally feel like I’m on the other side, once again enjoying being a nurse. I like my co-workers and really respect them. I’m being challenged and stretched as a nurse, and am beginning to have a confidence that I have learned some things and my experience is significant. I’m really thankful for this, and encouraged to feel like approaching grad school is actually a pretty good option for the next few years.

I’m still not sure which program or specialty is going to be best suited for my interests and goals, but I’m excited about moving ahead. I’ll keep you posted.

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Real love for this city

Truth is, I’ve had a difficult relationship with the city of Chicago over the past few months. Objectively, it’s a great city; better than LA. It’s got a lot going for itself. Decent public transportation, incredible architecture and history, successful sports teams (for the most part), actual weather. People love Chicago. And I think that’s my problem.

I don’t know when or why, but somewhere in my growing up years I developed a value of loving the underdog. Loyalty to places, ugly animals, sports teams that no one wants to be loyal to. This has made it very difficult to love Chicago with my whole heart. PEOPLE GO CRAZY FOR THIS PLACE!

But what a silly reason not to love a place. It really is great, and–more importantly–it’s mine now. So let’s quick reveal to the world the things that are not peachy about Chicago, so that the world has the truth and I can get on with enjoying my new home city:

1. Nature is far from here. Yes, there are trees, but where is the hiking? Where is the camping? Not that close. (Side note: did I miss fall? I saw some yellow trees, but what about the reds and oranges? Was that it?)

2. The air is not that clean. I smell trash sometimes.

3. This place is seg-re-gated. I see one person in this coffee shop who isn’t white.

4. Watch out if you own a vehicle here. The City of Chicago is ALL about taking your money. 6 hours at an impound lot, an hour in court, and another impending court date and we still haven’t gotten our $170 back for parking in what was NOT a tow zone, thank you very much.

5. People are way too into sports. (We’ve only been here four months and I know the mascots for all of Chicago’s sports teams.) I am skeptical all the people who claim to LOVE the Bears, the Blackhawks, the Cubs *or* White Sox, AND the Bulls are real sports fans. (Can you seriously be THAT into EVERY sport?)

Ok. You’re informed. Now we can all love Chicago with a real love!!!

Recently we saw this guy (Sufjan Stevens!) at the historic Chicago Theater. Boy what a great concert to see IN CHICAGO. Great great great times. That’s three greats. Props to my husband for suggesting attending this concert AND for laying down the cash to do so. Something else great about the concert was that we got to have drinks with the Van Elswyks beforehand AND we convinced them to stay the night at our place (instead of making the long trek back to theirs late in the night). It was a wonderful evening and we got to enjoy a delightful morning with them as well. Win.

Something else recent and completely unrelated: my friend Emily Schmunk is engaged to her boyfriend Kyle!!! Emily is this wonderful girl I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know since moving to Chicago. Turns out we went to Biola together. Also turns out she’s one of my favorite people to spend time with. I feel like we see the world through similar eyes, and she’s just great to be around. What a blessing to have found such a friend so quickly in a new and unfamiliar city. Her and her boyfriend have been dating longer than Jeremy and I ever did, which gives you an idea of what a neat thing it is to see them engaged. Jeremy and I are going to an engagement party for them tomorrow night. FUN.

Also fun: I’m really starting to feel at home in my job. I like the people I work with and I’m learning so much. I spent the past three days taking care of one of the sickest patients in our ICU. I made it through intubating her, bronching her, scoping her, placing central lines, starting her on continuous dialysis, giving her 15 rounds of various blood products, keeping her blood pressure stable, fighting to control all her bleeding, and talking her family through everything. The first day I had her she didn’t start out crazy sick. I was with her when she went downhill and after my first day with her I figured they’d pass her off to someone more experienced. To my surprise, I had her for two more days. It was sort of a wake up call: I’m not so inexperienced anymore. What an encouragement it was to see that my superiors and co-workers allowed me to take on so much responsibility. I had a lot of help from them those three days, and they were three difficult, long shifts that undoubtedly made me a better nurse. This is the kind of job I’ve been hoping for.

God has been so good to us in Chicago. William is behaving much better. Ma and Pa come next weekend. My husband is doing great at his new job AND is making our closet/dog room/book-stashing room into a lovely, cozy little office. It’s chilly outside. It’s November. Life is so good. It’s incredible how many things I get to enjoy. It has to be true that I take far too much for granted.