Last week is over and I am still alive—how is that possible? At times I felt as if I’d spontaneously combust from stress overload. Last week was one of the busiest of my entire life: three tests, one nursing lab simulation, volunteering, working, a five-page essay and last of all, teaching (yes, I did say teaching) one of my nursing classes. Honestly, as much as I fight against and deny it, speaking comes naturally, leaving me at ease in front of a crowd when it comes time to “do my thing”; the time leading up to it is not so easy, leaving me feeling as if I could collapse. Ever since first grade I informed God I would have absolutely nothing to do with teaching since endless scars camouflaged my fragile and overlooked soul as well as body; school as well as the medical field personified the essence of hell in my relentlessly wounded mind, bringing to the surface wounds too abominable for this world to ever know. Once I surrendered the little I have to the God of the Universe, nursing evolved into my undeniable passion and now the same may be true for teaching, as much as I hate the thought of it. I’ve never thought I have what it takes to be a teacher but as I was sitting in church today, I was overcome with a calling to equip future nurses with the tools they need to be successful in nursing school and eventually nursing as a career; as I go through college my eyes are opened to the laziness and absolute selfishness surrounding me and I cannot help but feel unfalteringly disgusted. Nursing is to some people merely a good-paying job with disregard to the impact of each client interaction; nothing has become more stressed than the concept of impatience and unaltered selfishness. My heart raging with disgust is furious because nursing is not merely a job but a passion and commitment to forever change lives in an absolutely positive way—the patients’ lives are literally in our humanly imperfect hands and this is nothing to take lightly. Patients don’t exactly want to be stuck in the hospital, at least most, so we as nurses need to encourage as well as teach; nursing is about influence and living by example. Caring is the essence of nursing—the core of its endless identity. Selflessness rather than selfishness is the key to satisfaction—the very essence of servant-hood of which we were created. I long, above all, to allow God to change and “beautify” this crooked and depraved world through my mere existence and I wholeheartedly believe it is possible—God’s love never fails so what better place to start? If teaching is part of God’s plan for this beautifying process, than I will take up my cross and follow Him in absolute surrender and brokenness. I truly believe with all of my wounded heart that God’s love never fails because I am a living example; this world desperately needs this incomprehensive and unfailing love, so what are we as disciples waiting for? As TJ, my childhood and present role model, would say, “Let’s give it all we got”.
Now, for all of you who are wondering how my first college teaching experience went, here is the story and let me warn you—it’s not so pretty! At the beginning of the year we were split into groups of three and assigned a topic to teach and spend the whole class period on; my group was assigned “Teamwork/Group Process and Development/Facilitating Group Discussions”. We’d been preparing for weeks on end and the day before our presentation one group member informed us she hadn’t done her part but in fact decided to go out on a limb by piecing together bits and pieces of a jumbled mess—it was pure and utter chaos to say the least! Even though my other partner and I had done our part and were all prepared, we had to completely change everything the night before because the other person wasn’t willing to cooperate to put it bluntly. We were literally sitting on the bookstore’s floor, in the middle of Kent State clothing and memorabilia, desperately trying to figure out how to make this monstrosity work. My one willing partner than later came over to my house so we could at least attempt to smooth over this monumental disaster, despite the fact we were missing the most crucial part: the information that was “set in stone”, unwilling to be altered by the one who caused this mess. The power point I’d worked endless hours perfecting had to be torn apart and reconstructed from basically nothing in a matter of hours. Two speeches were ripped to shreds and completely reconstructed in less than five hours while one remained unknown yet absolutely untouched. My body kept screaming “Sleep, I need sleep!” but was silenced by the effects of coffee—my lifeline. Finally, after reaching a conclusion that we were getting nowhere and needed to be able to function at seven o’clock—merely six hours away—we called it quits and allowed our brains to recharge. Seven o’clock AM came way too fast but in all honesty, I just wanted to get this nightmare over-with before I spontaneously combusted. The entire time I felt like a chicken running around with its head cut off but tried to remain at least remotely functioning (I do not like feeling unprepared in any essence). The only positive thing that came to mind was my cute outfit I’d prepared—the one thing I had absolute control over; since we were required to appear professional and dressed up (we were actually graded on this), I had to come up with a new look of which was absolutely foreign to me: how on earth could I be a professional yet still fashionable, remaining true to my identity? I bought a pair of dark grey dress pants (yes, my very first time wearing such a thing) to pair with a black sheer button down blouse, black chunky sequined belt, silver sparkly pumps (high heels), black sequined infinity scarf, a black and silver flower and of course...color—a hot pink camisole to shine through my boring, black top. Walking into college was quite a trip; the wind nearly blew me off my high-heeled feet, reminding me of why I rarely wear such things: I remain a victim, unable to run away or even walk fast which is my worst nightmare. Minutes before our seminar was to begin, the coffee came into effect and I had to rush to the bathroom; my only choice to do this fast was to run barefoot through the halls (which I would prefer to do every day), so I took off my “chains” and sprinted for the door, nearly taking out one of my own classmates but for today my student—way to start off an already chaotic day! I miraculously arrived before eight o’clock AM, when we were scheduled to begin, attempting to appear “put together” and disguise the fact I had no idea what I was doing. Being the last person to speak just very well may be the worst possible feeling as I was forced to remain calm all-the-while increasingly freaking out about the speech I’d never gotten a chance to recite. Once my turn arrived, a sense of peace overcame me (undeniably the peace and confidence of God) and the rest is history; God took my absolute brokenness and shame, turning it into undeniable beauty. Once the much-anticipated nightmare was over, I was free to go home and do what my aching body desired most—sleep, only to be awakened to study for two tests the next day. Yes, my life is in fact insane but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I trust that putting myself last, forsaking competitive exercise and sports—my one love and past identity, will be worth it, even though I hate every second lost! Since my first teaching experience is finished, I’ve had time to get my head back in place, as well as my belongings (I cannot function properly in a chaotic, messy, and unorganized atmosphere) and even slightly relax—a foreign yet much appreciated feeling!
Despite this previous chaos, I discovered a new talent of which I once thought completely out of reach: teaching. Organization and technology remain two things I cannot live without (or at least not for long) as well as learning and research—the very things required to be a Nursing Professor. If God calls me there, I am no longer unwilling but whole-heartedly surrendered.