I hit the wall earlier this week. And have spent the rest of the week doing my damnedest to avoid hitting it again (and so far have been only fairly successful). This back-in-school bit has been, well, exactly as hard as I imagined it would be. (Last semester, my Algebra class was a cake walk compared to this - which, if you know me, know how absolutely ludicrous that sounds coming from me).
My top complaints (I hate to call them that, but let's call them what they really are) are pure exhaustion, immense intimidation at the prospect of actually being accepted to the nursing program and the time that studying takes away from my kids.
My kids? I can't even go there tonight. If you want to get an idea of where my head is, I'll tell you that I forgot to put Ethan's Tae Kwon Do uniform in his bag and so he had to wear his jeans and t-shirt to class today. When I picked him up, he told me he cried before his class and that he was "so sad" that I'd forgotten it. Nothing like letting down your kids to boost your confidence. Damn it! I even wrote myself a note. I'm not doing much better with Eli. I had to sneak up to his room around 11 last night and scoop him out of bed so I could snuggle with him for a little while (I have only done this once or twice in the five years I have had my boys). Tonight, I picked up dirty clothes off of Eli's floor and realized that seeing his brown pants and yellow shirt in a pile by his crib was the only way I knew what he had on yesterday. That sucks. When I snuggled with him this afternoon, he smelled like my babysitter. That sucks more.
To say the competition for seats in the nursing program is almost not-even-worth-it-ridiculously-high is an understatement, and I only say "almost" out of fear of my mother coming over here to kick my ass upon reading this in order to keep me from assuming an attitude of defeat or worse, uttering the word "can't". A recent figure I heard from a reliable source: 400 students applied last semester. 65 were accepted. This is not encouraging. A 4.0 GPA is not technically required, but it might as well be since 4.0 students are being turned away. But it's okay. I can handle that. However, what that translates to for me is the EVERY test I take in EVERY class is THE MOST IMPORTANT test I take because it only gets me that much closer to getting my rear-end in one of those highly-coveted seats in the program. EVERY test is the MOST important because I cannot make ANY mistakes. And that's really not much of an exaggeration.
So the crazy, hormonal, sleep-deprived, unbathed, under-nourished, anti-social person I become the week and a half leading up to each of my exams is because I have the crystal clear understanding that if I make ONE mistake, then it's game over, baby. I treat each test as the most important test of my life because it is. A flawless performance, every time, is the only way I can stay in the game. There are no foul-shots or lay-ups here. As they say on Project Runway, you're either in or you're out. And I sure as hell am not losing all this sleep, working this hard and missing time with my husband and babies to be voted off the island.
For the past week, I've walked around filled with doubt about my priorities - why the hell am I aching for and missing my own kids while spending my time trying to learn how to take care of someone else's kids? I suppose I could look at that way, but tonight, I finally found my zone. All the facts, figures, formulas and concepts all came together for me. It all seemed so doable. I sat in Starbucks, completely re-inspired and rejuvenated, and worked problems, listened to music and dominated my text book (to the extent that you can dominate a really dorky textbook). And the truth is, in those moments, I knew I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. (Ok, right now sleeping is what I really want to be doing, but I'm talking bigger picture here). So, if I want to stay in the zone, I can't start crumbling under pressure, I just need to trust that I'm making the best decisions I can for myself and my family.
And that, my friends, is how Jen got her groove back.
So, bring it. Game on, baby.