I work with a paramedic who also teaches. He told me a story one day that inspired me.
Back in the day, he was teaching a paramedic class. It was tough, as good paramedic programs are, but the students were managing. Well, most of them. One student just wasn’t getting it. It wasn’t for lack of effort, or desire, or motivation. The guy worked his butt off, but he just wasn’t getting it. One day, he pulled his teacher aside. He wanted to be a paramedic so badly. There was nothing he wanted more. And yet, despite his best efforts, he was doing terribly in class. It was discouraging, to say the least.
The teacher thought it over. A couple of classes later, he pulled the student aside. He handed him a new, shiny, gold disco patch. That very thing this particular student craved. His eyes widened. Taking it cautiously, he offered a confused expression to the teacher.
“You can’t wear it. You can’t sew it to anything, or display it. You can’t be telling others you’re a paramedic, or giving that impression with this patch,” The teacher said. “But, you can have it in your pocket. You can know that it’s there. And, when times get tough, and you have a moment alone, you can take it out and look at it, and remind yourself why you’re doing this, and why you’re going to make it.”
The student did just that. He kept it in his pocket at school and during clinicals. When he was home, he kept it on his dresser. There were times that he doubted himself, for sure. There were rough nights of studying, long days of class, frustrating shifts of clinicals. But that patch helped him. He did ultimately make it through paramedic school. Now, he can wear a gold patch on his arm.
Nursing school started last week. I have two 3-hour lectures a week, plus an 8-hour lab. When I’m not at school, I’m either driving, working, sleeping, or studying. Which would explain my lack of posts. And my soon-to-be lack of sanity. Things are stressful now, but certainly do-able. But I know it’s a matter of time before my faith in myself starts to wane. Before I start to wonder if I can do this, and how I’m ever going to make it. I look at my 13 textbooks, and the pages upon pages of notes I’ve already written. Once already, in the middle of a 100-page reading assignment (due 32 hours after it was assigned. Along with 15 pages of med math, 15 pages on cultural awareness, 40 pages of pharm, and 30 pages of nursing diagnoses), I began to wonder if this was ever going to end. And we’re only on week one. I have a long way to go.
But, that paramedic’s story stuck with me. I have a little pin that I fasten to the inside of my innermost pocket on my uniform. It has been with me at every class and every lab, and I plan on keeping it on me for the rest of my nursing school career. It’s just a little thing to keep me going, to keep me focused. Somewhere out there, way off in the distance, is a light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime though, it’s nice to keep just a little torch by my side.