Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Back to school for me!

Posted by Lissa on January 10, 2011

Good moring all!  Thanks for leaving me your input in the last poll — I really did have constipation of the brain.  So, um, my dear readers are the figurative equivalent of Ex-lax.

Crap.  You know what?  I’m not liking the direction this post has taken.  I’m starting over.

Good morrow, dear friends! Per your stated wishes in the last post, I shall at once describe the change in vocation that I hope to bring about.  Tally-ho!


As y’all know, I went to Ye Olde Liberal Arts School.  It was a very nice school, with very lovely professors and very accomplished students.  I learned a lot about myself during those years, started to grow into my skin ( a process I continue to this day), and made some friendships that I do think will last me the rest of my life.

Aaaaaaand . . . that’s kind of all.  Sure, I graduated cum laude. Sure, YOLAS is considered an elite school.  But it’s not that well known outside of its regional area.

I graduated in 2002 and jobs were nonexistent.  After what I like to call my Lost Year, I started working for Ye Olde Financial Company in 2003. I stayed there until we left MA this October.  The company was a good place for me; I moved around some, got promoted some, and generally had a successful career.

I thought, when we moved down here, that it could not possibly be as hard to find employment down here as it was in 2002/2003, and I was right — I’ve got high hopes for a couple leads I’m following.  But the fact remains: It’s damn hard to quantify being a good worker in that industry.

Let’s compare my resume to Made Up Person, who was in my group back in Boston.  Now, the folks there hated MUP.  He didn’t do his work on time, wasn’t attentive to the bosses, was careless in his editing, and generally belligerent.  Every time he was assigned to a project, the other participating folks would groan internally and plan on doing more than their fair share of work — they knew they’d need to.

Me?  (Sorry, but I’m gonna toot my own horn here — bear with me for one paragraph.)  They loved working with me.  Higher-ups would request me specifically on projects, or approach me independently with small projects that I’d have to clear with my boss. I was always careful in my review, massively hard on myself when I made mistakes (I **HATE** making mistakes!!!!), and diligent to such small things as whether the higher-ups preferred their copies double-sided or single-sided, paper-clipped or stapled.

And yet on paper? His resume and mine will list roughly the same thing in that position.  The average recruiter will see no difference between his resume and mine.  This despite the fact that I was told explicitly (well, I would have been told, if I wasn’t making up the MUP character) that they cut MUP’s bonus to increase mine.

I’m so TIRED of this.  I’m so tired of looking for work with nebulous credentials.  And now tack on the fact that there’s a decent chance we’ll have to move again within the next seven years, so I’ll get to do it all over again.  Yay! . . . umm, not.

Soooooo . . . I’m going back to school!

Mind you, I never missed school.  Well, not school per-say.  I missed having tons of friends within walking distance, along with my two choirs, but that’s all.  I have enough younger siblings and friends to remember exactly how much I hated doing 20 page papers and cramming for tests and having the fear of unemployment hang over me.  I never wanted to go back.

But I’m hungry for an actual skill set.  I’m eager for a license or qualification that frees me from depending on the intuition of an HR person who will believe that I’m a good worker.  And I need something that will transfer easily if we end up moving.  Oh, and since I’m tired of being frightened of unemployment — a fear I’ve had my whole life, btw — I want a job in an industry that I know is growing.

Can anyone guess?  I bet people have guessed!

Yes, I’m going to nursing school!  Hooray!

Well, actually, I’m starting at a community college this week to get the prerequisites so I can apply to a university Advanced to BSN program.  I’ve got my BA, so it should take about two years total — one year to knock out the prereqs (who wants to butcher a pig?) and one year for the actual program.

I think I’m suited to being a nurse. Whether it’s caring for the camp kiddee who scraped his knee or holding back some girl’s hair in the graduation party bathroom, I somehow end up caretaking for the folks around me.  I’m fairly sure my stomach is strong enough — I don’t have a problem with blood and guts.  I volunteered at a hawk shelter for months and got to play with rats and dull scissors; that didn’t bother me.  (“Let’s see, 18 red-tailed hawks . . . each one requires one-third of a giant rat . . . wish they didn’t have rat shit all over the hindquarters . . . ”  **)  I don’t have a lot of trouble switching my biological clock — I could do the midnight-to-8-AM shift without difficulty. I know the job can get gross, and I know the job can get absolutely heartbreaking, and I think I’m prepared for that.

Of course, whether it’s nursing or parenting or whatever, everyone *thinks* they’re prepared, right?  Perhaps the first time I get puked on by a complete stranger I’ll hang up my Crocs.  😉

But I’m determined.  And, assuming that I get my license, I’m guaranteed a growing industry.  I mean, does anyone think that the medical profession is going to become less important?  And with ObamaCare rolling down the Pike and doctors quitting willy-nilly, does anyone think nurses are going to become less valuable?

So that’s my story, folks.  Wish me luck!

P.S. I know Christina‘s doing sort of the same thing.  Thanks, Christina, I’m braced for Microbiology!


**The rats didn’t bother me.  Nor did the chicks.  However, the osprey food? VILE.  It would take HOURS for me to stop smelling that nasty slimy fish on my fingers.  Even if I was imagining it.

15 Responses to “Back to school for me!”

  1. Jay G. said

    Nurse Lissa.

    That thought is so awesome, that it is in danger of collapsing in a black hole of awesome.

    You. Would. Be. ***GREAT*** as a nurse, Lissa.

    SCI-FI’s lovely bride B is also a nurse and I’m sure would be thrilled to talk to you about the program, etc.

    Best of luck!!!

  2. B said


    i kinda had a feeling Lissa 🙂

    I attended a second degree program back over 14 years ago when they were hard to find. But having had a health science BS for my first degree i actually have a better anatomy and physiology and pathophysiology background that nursing typically do.

    I love being a nurse. I love working with people and helping people.

    it’s also, IMO, one of the most flexible degrees out there. Once you have some experience under your belt you can do so many thing and go so many places. it’s also a great job if you like variety, I currently work part time in 3 jobs, I teach at the College level, I work as a school nurse and I case manage demented elders.

    I haven’t worn scrubs or an nurses uniform if over a decade, i had to go out and buy a lab coat when I started teaching Fundamentals of nursing. My kids puke on my much more often than strangers…lol

    and if you have any questions or if there is anything i can do to help just holler.

    hopefully with in the next 6mth to a year i’ll be heading back to college to get my MSN… now i just need to choose which of my many fields of practice to actually get the degree in lol


    • Lissa said

      Thanks, B! Yeah, the flexibility is a key attractor for me — we’re planning on starting a family in the short-to-medium future. Add that to the likelihood of moving (again!), and flexibility looks mighty good!

      And thank you so much for the offer of help — I will keep that in mind! I’d offer the same since I think I read that you’re in the process of getting your MA firearms license . . . but then, I think I read that on Jay G’s blog, so you’re already in better hands than my own 😉

      • B said

        I’d love to chat with you about the classes at the Sig Academy, they were so great when we toured and I’m definitely going to take a class or 2 or 5 lol.

        Do you have a specific program in mind? I was able to get my BSN with a 12 month( started in the summer) program. It was an entry level Nurse practitioner program, but i choose to stop after the BSN portion.

        there are many great program out there now and i think you’ll enjoy a second degree program MUCH more than a traditional program. The faster pace and the more mature student population makes for great learning eviroment.


      • Lissa said

        I’m planning on doing the UCF program – it’s the major university in this area. If I’d majored in Health Sciences I’d be saving time and money on those damn prereqs, that’s for sure 🙂 And you will LOVE the classes there! I give SIG very very high marks for professionalism.

  3. YAY!!!!!!!!!

    I’m so excited for you! Microbiology will be a breeze for you, I’m sure. And it’s fabulous that you already have a degree, that will certainly make things go more quickly. The reason it’s taken me so long to get this far is that I started from point zero, plus going part-time stretches everything out. Once I’m in the actual nursing program, I will be going full-time, and I’m both excited and nervous about that.

    Good luck, and keep us posted. Don’t hesitate to call me if you want to kvetch, B. has my number. 😀

    • Lissa said

      Well, I’m glad ONE of us is sure Microbiology will be easy for me :-p As far as how long it’s taken you —

      A) I didn’t know when you started this track, whether it was six months ago or six years ago;
      B) You, however, already took care of your next generation. I’m *just guessing* the production of a few rugrats will make my next few years . . . interesting.

  4. Good for you! As B says, there is a lot of flexibility in nursing once you become an RN. Different jobs, different schedules, lots of opportunities for interesting work. I have no doubt you’ll do fine.

    • Lissa said

      Thankyoukindly, sir! It’s been so nice (and reassuring) to have folks say they think I’d be a good nurse, but you get extra Authority Points if you work in the industry 🙂

  5. breda said

    Wow, good luck. You’ll do great in school, of course, no worries there but, oy. Nursing. I think there’s probably mucus involved. I know I couldn’t hack it.

    • Lissa said

      My exact quote to Mike last night: “The blood and guts stuff doesn’t bother me. Know what’s weird? I have a much bigger problem with snot than with blood.”

  6. Katia said

    Good luck with the new career. I think you’ll be great. As a Hem/Onc NP, I can tell you it’s definitely an interesting career. Prior to going back to school I worked Med/Surg (never, never again), ED (being a former paramedic that was sort of like going home), ICU (loved, loved, loved it). Did travel nursing for several years in ICU and ED and it was wonderful. Housing paid, 3 12 hours shifts a week, and lots of time to be a tourist. I had always liked travel, but really that is the way to go. I made it to Alaska, Hawaii, several stops in California, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico, NY, Washington DC, NoVA, Florida, the Bahamas, the Marshall Islands, etc. All with plenty of time to have fun and all at company expense. When your bed is provided and you have a place to cook cheaply (always a nice, private, condo or apartment in the US), touristing is even better. When I want to go out of the country I usually try to get a license for wherever I’m going and work there for a year or so. Nurses are needed everywhere and that gives me a chance to really get to know a place. I keep up my RN so that when I retire from this job (It’s gummint work, the retirement is early if wanted), should I decide to I can travel again. Harder to travel as an NP as the licensing is more of a pain and the sponsoring physician requirement can get in the way. So can the sponsoring physician.

    Anyway, all that is to illustrate a comment friend of mine once made, “There are so many work options available in nursing, if you can’t find something in the pool that interests you, you’re just not swimming hard enough.” I think he was right. You’ll find a niche that’s just right for you and your family.

    By the way, I loved Micro. A&P was a PITA, but due to the instructor, not the material.

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