Saturday, March 31, 2012

The end is near...

So, I decided to write an end-of-the-year post for everyone who wanted to follow my experience. In a nutshell: it has really stunk. REALLY. It has definitely been one of the worst years of my life.

That's basically why I stopped blogging, by the way. I wasn't just slacking. I was just sad, angry, or overwhelmed all the time and didn't want to sing the same sad song every blog, so I just stopped. I've been crazy busy, out of my mind. So much work to do all the time. Even as I write this, I have eight assignments in the back of my mind. And I'm already finished with the vast majority of them!

Nursing school has been a real challenge. I have seriously considered quitting three times. I'm not even 100% sure right now that I'll go back next year. I have had teachers treat me badly, lab instructors telling me that I should know everything "because it's in the required reading!" and no friends and definitely no teachers to lean on for most of the year. I've felt like I didn't have any friends for probably 85% of the year. Now, I do have some new friendships that I value. These really are a blessing and I am very thankful for them.

My one happy place has been working in the library. Sometimes I think that's the only thing that has kept me sane. It's quiet, the work is easy, and no one is ever upset at me there. No one pretends to be concerned about me. The people there that I see like me well enough, and that job doesn't really have to do with people anyway. Much better than working with teachers who pretend to like you but really don't.

Recently, I threw up in clinical. It was my last day. I have liked clinical and have some good stories from it. I can wipe butts like no other now. Lots of people think that's such a big deal... I thought so too at first, but it really isn't. I have learned that people need what they need, and if that's someone to wipe them after they go to the bathroom, well, that's that and its no big deal.

Anyway, I was sick. My shift was almost over anyway and I asked my clinical instructor if I could leave. Super sharp pain in my abdomen, I felt really hot and then cold. No. Can't leave. I had to present my project first. Then she tells us that no one will get a full score before we even start. She even says no one will even get a 9/10, but if we're EXCELLENT, maybe an 8. But we should expect something more like a 7, because we're first years.

Sound weird? Sounds weird to me, too. But I hear it a lot, especially from the one professor. I think she must give us all 70% just because we're first years. I'm waiting for my grade to come back on a research paper that I spent 18 hours on... I bet it will be an 80% at best. Takes the wind out of my sails a little.

So anyway, I was waiting to present my project. Lying on the couch at clinical, not well enough to be up and walking around. The girls on my floor come in when the shift is over, and it wasn't their fault, but they all started eating. Then my clinical instructor comes in and starts eating as well. Eating and talking, asking people about their lives... While I am laying on the couch in pain, just wanting to go back to my dorm. After their little chitchat, they finally turn to me and she asks me to present (after telling us that we won't get a good grade, mind you) and so I present the best I can. I'm afraid for my grade now. They always told us that that specific presentation was no big deal, but apparently it's so hard to get 100% that it was already decided we wouldn't be getting it before we even started.

So anyway, I presented and then she asked me if I would like to leave and I said yes. I think she must have dismissed me in her mind. Don't know why nurses always seem to think they know what you're going through, but all I know is that I had very severe abdominal pain and I threw up during clinical and she took her time getting ready to present so I could finally go home. I don't know. It seems like I don't get much grace here. That's just a small taste of what I've been going through since being here. Stuff like this has happened again and again this year.

It's like the nurses completely forgot what it's like being in nursing school. I must have permanent bags under my eyes from all the late nights I've pulled here. I try so hard, and they treat me like I can't do anything. They treat me like I don't want to be there, and it makes me not want to be there. I just recently talked to my nursing adviser, just a routine check for classes for next semester, and I broke down in her office because she asked me how I was doing. I hardly ever cry in front of people, and there I was, completely broken - and I mean the ugly cry - in front of a lady I had only seen probably four times in my entire life.

She was so good though. A very compassionate adult. She listened to me and asked about what was causing me all this distress. I told her many things about my experience here and she said, "It sounds like Trinity isn't a very safe place for you." That's so true. She said it perfectly. I'm always on my guard. I don't trust my teachers, and I'm a trusting person by nature. The music in the lower cafeteria is inappropriate. The movies they choose for movie nights are inappropriate. Are we in a Christian school or what? The only difference is the "If life gives you lemons, give it Jesus" poster on the inside of the study room door.

Except for the weird Christian lingo about it being a spiritual gift to be single. I've definitely heard enough of that. Single girls here are so insecure about being single they have to take it out on people who are not single, unfortunately for me. They like to talk about how great they are because of how they are "waiting" to date because they want to get right with God first. Very noble, but sometimes I just doubt it's true. Some people mean it, they do, and that's very nice, but sometimes I think some people just need to make themselves feel better.

Yeah, so I've been stressed. But I did like the residents that I worked with. Very funny, meeting all the different personalities. There's the drill Sgt lady, the lovely little English lady, the two German ladies, the feisty (and actually mean) Spanish lady, the little old men that flirt, so many characters. Many of them have dementia. I am no longer afraid of people with dementia, I love them. Most of the time they are still quite sweet, or at least harmless. One on my floor sings all the time, and another will tell you that you look "just lovely!" every time you talk to her. So sweet. She thinks she's drowning when you give her a bath, but then you can distract her by talking about her grandchildren and she might forget she's in the water. I even found a hardcore Christian lady, I connected with her the best. She told me today that I can't let the devil get to me by saying that I feel ill. Not sure what to think about that, but maybe it has some truth to it... :)

Community clinical has been fun, too. I sang with people in the choir. Half the time they were just wondering why in the world we were there, but when they realized it was for school they'd open up and talk to us. That place was really neat... People often find places like that after they lose a spouse, and it saves their lives. Community helps people from being a vegetable on the couch, a sure way to a fast death. That's what I saw in community care. Very noble, very good cause. I support it wholeheartedly. I wish we could have done a fundraiser for them.

Anyway, maybe I'll make a few posts about my favorite clinical stories. That would be fun. Sorry this post doesn't flow as well as usual, I just wanted to make a post for anyone who would like to read it. So, that's my year in a nutshell. I liked the people I served... Not so much the professors or the lab/clinical instructors. But, who knows? Maybe nursing is still the right thing for me.

I love all of you guys. Hope you had a less stressful year than I did. :) 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lovin' it!

Okay, here comes the post you've all been waiting for... I'm finally really enjoying myself!! The transition here was hard, and sometimes still is, but I'm looking forward to living here and studying here now. It took me a little while, but I warmed up to it eventually. :)

I like it here for several reasons. I'm no longer overwhelmed by all of the new faces. I know a lot of people's names (I'm surprised, actually, at the amount of names I know) and I know all the girls in my dorm. I'm starting to make a couple legitimate friends, one of which is leaving at Christmas to go to a different school! So sad. :( I've met some nursing students that I like, which is really nice since we all have so many classes together.I also like my roommate more and more. She's awesome!

Another thing that I found today is the ballroom dancing club!! I'm thrilled! I am so excited to be dancing again. I've missed all of my artistic outlets dearly, but now I have one back! Every Thursday at 4:15 the ballroom dance club meets in Robson, and I love it! I went with Michael -- he's going to dance with me, too!

I also LOVE working in the library. Even yesterday, when I really needed to study for my midterm, I didn't regret working my shift. I love being on a mission and putting everything where it belongs. I feel like I'm helping and I really like it. :) It really makes me less stressed; it's so peaceful and soothing. In the library, I'm never sad! I love it.

I met a graduate student and he was really friendly and interesting. He's going to be a Bible translator -- cool, huh? So I'm not feeling quite as starved for older people in my life. Also, the man who usually supervises while I work is very kind and joyful. I think he has deep peace in his life. He has the most genuine smile (which seems rare to me at this point) and he'll return a smile every time I smile at him, so it happens pretty frequently. It's really, really nice. It's refreshing to have an adult look at me like I matter... Like my happiness is contagious and I'm making the day better by being joyful. You know, next time you hear that cheesy person saying you can make someone's life better just by smiling... Think about me and my experience, because it can really be true.

Anyway! I am happy here now. I am having a good time and enjoying myself. I'm working out regularly, trying to eat healthy, and enjoying my classes, my job, and the activities I do in my free time. I've achieved better balance in my life and I'm learning how to release stress. I am applying the material I've learned in class to my real life, and I love that it is so practical. I'm just having a better time here, can you tell? :)

Anyway -- please keep me in your prayers, I don't want my good attitude to be lost... Sometimes that is easier to lose than it should be... :) Message me anytime, I miss you all and I'd love to talk to you. I have Skype, too, so I'd love it if you found me and talked to me! Oh, and I have texting! If you ever want to drop me a note, just text it and I'll get it fast. :) I love you guys!! Hope to talk to you soon!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Jonathan, Survival Pack, and Sponge Baths

So, my parents made me one of the best things a college student could ever have, and we've dubbed it: the survival pack. I love it SO much. :) What is it full of? Well, maybe you've already heard, but it has soup, cereal, granola bars, cake mix, toothpaste, SODA (which costs an arm and a leg over here), cookies!!, Powerade powder, Nutella (Yumm!!), candy (all my favorite kinds), hot chocolate mix, crackers, chips, popcorn, cheese nips, Top Ramen, and peanuts! It probably goes without saying that I LOVE IT SO MUCH! :D Food costs a fortune over here. There isn't enough money on the food plan to get you through the semester if you buy every meal on campus, so people often resort to stealing other peoples' food out of the fridge or begging off their friends. But me? I'll be safe because of my survival pack. Even if I have to eat Spaghetti-Os for three days straight, I won't starve!

Jonathan was the one who delivered the pack to me. It is HUGE -- two big plastic bins' full! He came and visited. It was so awesome. I was really sad to see him leave, though. We went putt-putt golfing and he took us out to eat -- we went to Tim Horton's for a treat and to McDonald's for our lunch. Michael won at putt-putt and he couldn't believe it! I barely lost(I was shocked, I usually lose by a whole bunch), and Jonathan came in second. We went on the underwater course -- it was inside. It had glowing paint everywhere, the decorations were really cool. I think that's the most fun I've ever had putt-putt golfing. :)

Sponge baths, you ask? Yes! The nursing students had to bathe each other today. We all put on our bathing suits and pretended to be a client in need of a bath. I was a little traumatized by the illustrations and videos for Perineal care, but we don't need to get into that, now do we? :) It was pretty fun -- and also weird. We brushed each others' teeth as well, and drooled all over our chins. Of course, the TA only got a picture of ME looking disgusting -- just my luck. :)

Today I needed to do homework but didn't do it -- isn't that naughty? I was working all day on both Saturday and Sunday (probably a combined total of 28 hours of homework), and today I could not make myself do any more reading. Maybe after I write this I'll be able to convince myself that I need to do it...

So, how am I liking school so far? I'm not sure yet. I'm doing better than I was before, but I still miss being around older, wiser people. The students here (and I don't blame them) get really wrapped up in homework and grades. It seems like someone is always having a meltdown, crying, or nearly giving up on university. Sometimes it's hard to live in an environment where everyone is stressed and not be stressed yourself. But I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I do like it here -- the academics can be a little frustrating, but they can also be very fulfilling. My Old Testament professor is making everyone uncomfortable by telling us the Genesis creation story and Noah's flood might be symbolic language, and Michael's Biology teacher is easing his class into thinking that evolution might just be right -- maybe. :) Of course, all of the teachers here are Christian, so they come at everything with a Christian point-of-view. That is really an encouragement and a blessing.

I need something creative to do. I didn't bring my drawing, jewelry making, or my Ukulele. Anything would be great right now. I just need something to de-stress -- I didn't realize how valuable it would be. I also didn't realize how cut-off from the world I would be -- I didn't know that I had no access to stores, clothes, groceries, hair cuts... Next year I really hope I can bring a car. Anyway, all that to say I'm going to have to find some way to do something creative that has nothing to do with school. I'm dead busy, but I have to have a little down time sometimes. Balance is the key! :)

Okay, that was a huge blog!! Hope you guys enjoy! Love you!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


There is so much pressure when it comes to school. Pressure to do things with your dorm mates, pressure to meet everyone, pressure to act like you're perfect. It's funny that everyone says they love transparency, and hardly anyone actually is. I feel like hiding in my room so no one sees me in my imperfection.

Michael and I have both found it hard to be in a school full of young men and women. We almost can't help comparing ourselves. At first it was really hard not to, but now we've gotten a little better. I don't feel quite so inferior anymore. At Pierce, there were many different age groups. One of my favorite study partners was Lori, who was closer to my parents' age than mine. Here, hardly anyone is older than 25. They're trying to partner us up with "mentors" who are sophomores and juniors.

On a happier note, I like the people in my dorm. We'll probably eventually all warm up to each other. My Old Testament Professor is stinking hilarious, I love his class. He brought a giant bendy tube to class the first day and showed us that we were supposed to be "in" the Bible by getting into the tube and speaking out of it. I won't forget THAT lesson! :)

 I absolutely love my nursing labs. We all get together and either pretend to be the nurse or the patient, and it can get really funny. I've been learning how to act professionally around ornery patients, schizophrenics, patients that weigh over 500 lbs, etc. Of course, these are all pretend scenarios, but later we will really be going to the hospital and using our skills with real people! Exciting!! All we've really learned is hand washing and how to make a bed (an OCCUPIED bed, too!), but that's where we have to start! I know I can do the skills and academics here. I just have to find a group of people that I get along with. :)

I love you guys!! If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
Oh, and if you want my address, facebook me!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Banana Challenge and Other Exciting Adventures

Today we had the Banana Challenge, the annual, school-wide relay race. It was pretty fun! Every dorm dressed up differently and then ran a crazy relay all across campus. There were the creepers, the cross-dressers, the guys-who-only-wore-underwear(guys REALLY like to take their shirts off around here), the where's waldos, the painters (dressed up in big white painter's suits -- Michael's dorm!), the unicorns, the clowns, the mimes, the-guys-who-wore-girls'-swimsuits (two pieces -- eww!! But they wore short shorts on the bottom, at least), the posers, and last but not least... The ALIENS! :) That was my dorm, of course! We painted our bodies green, wore green shirts, and created aluminum foil accessories. It was pretty cool. :) No one else painted their entire bodies like we did, so people thought our costumes were funny.

In  the relay we had to take a banana through a series of obstacles, such as completing a kid's puzzle with oven mitts on, diving into a tiny pool filled with water and flour, spinning around with a bat seven times and sprinting toward the other end of the field (my obstacle! I was thrilled because I was actually better than the other people who were racing me -- I must have good balance.), going through a slip-and-slide, etc. At the end, we had to make a pyramid and the person on top had to eat the banana and drink an entire sprite. It was hilarious. :)

We didn't win the relay (even though we were fast) because we had a guy on our team. I don't know who decided to have him on there, but it ended up being a bad thing. I heard we were penalized an entire minute, which completely knocked us out of the race. But it didn't matter -- it was fun! :)  

Other than that, I have tons of homework already. My dorm wants to go out to Denny's tonight and spend the day at the beach and church tomorrow, but I'm going to have a movie night with Michael (yay!) and spend tomorrow doing homework and reading for my new job, even though I would honestly rather go to the beach and church. Which reminds me -- I got the library job!! I don't remember who I told about the interview, but I was interviewed for a job in the library (and I felt REALLY good about the interview) and I got it! It made me feel so good. :) Now I hope I'll have a little extra money.

People have asked Michael and I SO many times if we started dating since we got here. It's really annoying. I want to introduce us to new people like this: "Hi, I am Allie and this is Michael, my boyfriend. We have been dating for five months. Yes, I did say that. FIVE MONTHS." But last night one guy thought we weren't first years, so that almost made up for it. :) (And honestly, it's not a big deal. It's just a little surprising that people think we got together in less than a week. Sheesh!)

Michael and I are going to try and take the bus tomorrow when we have a study break. I need to buy scrubs and a watch that shows seconds. I took my spending money out of the bank (now it's in Canadian currency! How weird!) and I am ready to use it on the things I need. College is more expensive than I thought it would be, socially. Everyone is wanting to go out to Value Village to get costumes, go out to eat, and go out for the day, which always ends up costing something. I have to be careful about what I do and don't do. So far, the only thing I've gotten outside of the cafeteria has been a snack out of the snack machine. I'm doing good! :)

Anyway, I've already written a novel, so I'll leave it at that. I love and miss you guys!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

An American Student in a Canadian World

It is weird being an American in a different country. The other day, someone was talking about how hot it had been on some day during the Summer -- thirty degrees! Whoa! I was confused as to what in the world they meant until I realized that everyone knows Celsius here. Good thing I didn't say anything. :) And the annoying thing about living here -- my money is worth less. I didn't realize how annoying it would be, but exchanging money in general isn't a lot of fun. Oh well! Soon I'll be an old pro. :)

Orietation Week has not been a lot of fun for me, but I'm sure it will get better. It was basically a week of insanity and leaders trying to get you to meet the whole campus before classes start. Hanging out with people I really don't know stresses me out as it is, but to be introduced to fifty people every day? I wish they were more sensitive to our vulnerable position and let us have some peace. However, just the name games, ice breakers, and silly speed dating (it was okay one time, but I was sick of them by date three) got under my skin. I have a really good connections group and I'm looking forward to my classes.

I have made a few acquaintances here. I've discovered it is hard to balance Michael and other dorm buddies -- if I'm not completely spontaneous, my dorm leaves me behind. I'm working on figuring out the balance.

My teachers seem fabulous. The faculty is really what I am looking forward to here. The nursing staff is really passionate about what they do, and it is such an amazing experience to have Christ in the classroom. It is obvious at every turn, and here they aren't afraid to say what they believe. I never would have gotten that at a state college or at Pierce. That is what really makes me glad I came here. I got to visit a faculty's home yesterday with my connections group, and we visited Professor Eriksen. She seems really amazing and very Godly. She is definitely passionate about people. She baked us cookies and sliced watermelon for us -- it was very fun. :)

Okay, a random side note -- I am ALWAYS hungry here. Why? I have no idea. DAD, I MISS YOUR FOOD. SO MUCH. Why aren't there any leftovers in the fridge...? The food is definitely average here. I had the first meal that I actually enjoyed yesterday, but I'm not sure if that was because it was really tasty or because I was starving.... Oh well! At least I loved it. :)

Oh, and one more thing before I go! Freshmen went to Stanley Park yesterday, it was a lot of fun! I saw wild otters and seals swimming in the water!! They were really close, too! It was a really unexpected, happy surprise.

Anyway! I am getting more comfortable here, so that's good! :) Not everything is as easy or fun as I expected, but classes are beginning and I am thrilled about that. That is something I know I can do. :)

I love all of you and miss you!! Family, church family, friends!! (Marissa, I've been thinking about you in particular a lot lately... I wish you were here! Everyone at Trinity is my age and it gets really monotonous. I miss you!)

Lots of love to everyone!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

First day!

Hey everyone!!

 I miss you guys. All of you. HOWEVER, I am happy to be at Trinity. My first day has been crazy, and I learned many useful things. One of which is: NEVER get the pre-packaged cafeteria sushi. Ugh!!

I met my roommate, and I like her a lot. We have a ton in common and I think we'll get along really well this year. We hung out, ate lunch together, and have been talking in our dorm. Woohoo! :)

Today we packed everything into the car, drove the very clogged highway to Trinity, and unpacked when we got there. Michael and I had to squash our stuff into the car -- good thing we had a Thule, otherwise it wouldn't have fit! It was fun getting my stuff into my room, but then my parents had to leave... That was sad. :( Afterward, Elyce came in and I was still all puffy-eyed and sniffling. What a first impression! :)

We did a very interesting thing today: Douglas speed-dating. They said it was a Douglas (which is the name of my dorm) tradition. It was just a get-to-know-each-other activity, so it's not like I was actually dating other guys. It was fun, although we did it outside in the dark, so I have absolutely no idea who I met, everything said and done. My RAs were very interested in Michael, and one of them said they'd be keeping an eye on me - she was joking, of course. :) I think about 99% of the people here at Orientation week are single. I guess it makes sense, but the lack of other couples is still a little weird. I guess people usually break up right before college...? Who knows?

They had a little performance for us with lots of singing and dancing -- it was pretty funny. They made a speech about not caring about being cool. Appropriate for our age group and for our time of life. I hope everyone (including me) takes it to heart. Although, I've never been cool... I don't expect to be cool now. ;)

I am SO tired from all the activity today and am ready for a good night's sleep! Phew! But I'm glad I got to post to tell you guys about my first day. It was good and I look forward to the rest of the week! I especially  look forward to the start of classes... I can't wait!

I love and miss you all!