It’s been a little over a month since I’ve submitted most of my applications on NursingCas for grad school. I recently applied to another school, so we’ll see what happens.
Overall, with General Human Anatomy done, and the beloved waiting period begins. I do have to say, when I think about the timeline of schools (i.e. when interviews are suppose to happen or when does secondaries come in or will I hear back with a rejection/acceptance), it can be incredibly grueling. The intercession, this waiting period, can be intense. A lot of anxious thoughts can occur, even for the working professional like myself.
So how does one deal with the waiting period when they’re done with their prereqs and are simply passing time? Here are some things that one can do while they wait.
- For those who don’t work, volunteer at a local organization that you have a lot of passion for. Whether it’s Salvation Army or the local health clinic, I’m sure there are places you can volunteer at.
- Get a job — If you’re going into healthcare, there’s never really a problem with not having too much experience in the health industry. The industry is incredibly vast where a lot of times you can really think outside the box when you want to gain some health experience. For example, I wanted to work at a local nonprofit clinic. I emailed a bunch of clinics asking if I could volunteer since I had by Certified Nursing Assistant license at the time with updated CPR and First AID cards as well. One clinic was short staffed and asked me to come in to help out with vitals. Soon, I got hired and was trained to do immunization, EKGs, assisting with outpatient procedures, orders, medical records, EMR systems, etc. These weren’t postings on your traditional sites such as Indeed, Career Builder, or even Craigslist. I simply emailed a bunch of clinics and I got lucky. So, you never know, go, search, and see what’s out there. You never know.
- For those who have jobs, be faithful to it. Don’t slack…I know it’s hard because potentially, there’s a chance you’ll get in, and the work that you do may not matter. No! No! No! Don’t do that. Don’t set yourself up to leave in a bad way. Don’t ever think that the work you have doesn’t matter just because you applied to school. What happens if you don’t? That’s a real question that you don’t know, that I don’t know. Be faithful to your job. Learn, empower yourself with the skills you have, and do your best—even when at times you feel like you don’t want to. I’ll admit, I have those days.
- Even with a job, do try to do something educational. Whether it’s reading a book or taking a free course on Coursera, the thing is, with several months of wait time, your brain, like muscles atrophy and it gets lazy….Right now, even after the intensity of general anatomy, I know that to prepare for nursing school, regardless of getting in or not, that I need to ensure that my brain is ready to work when the time is right. So, I’m in the process of looking for some free courses to refresh my brain on areas of pharmacology and pathophysiology (Whatever is available..anyone know? Let me know if you know of a free course. 😉 ). Another thing I’ve been doing is picking up a book. I haven’t read a book in a while, so, I decided I’d read a book. It’s a good discipline.
- Utilize free time and hang out with friends & family. Let’s face it, we’ve probably seen, heard, and know that once school starts, our social life is next to none. So, use that time to spend quality time with them.
- Prep yourself on the latest news surrounding health, nursing, whatever fits the grad school you’re going to for potential interviews. I’m lucky in that my world of public health requires me to follow the news closely. From politics to Zika virus to shootings to chronic disease to even economics (budget related), I follow it pretty closely. In fact, it’s important because my work requires me to know quite a few things that a normal person shouldn’t. For those who may not be familiar with things such as the Affordable Care Act or other areas surrounding their passion, I suggest you do some homework. You never know, when you go in for an interview, and you are asked a basic question you ought to know. Trust me…it’s incredibly embarrassing when you don’t know what the Affordable Care Act is (it wasn’t me…I was in a group interview, and a person did not know what that was).
- Gather supplies — It’s school supply season! Now, I know this may sound odd, but I will say this. One of the schools that I applied to actually starts Spring of 2017. School supplies aren’t on sale around that time….everything else is for the holiday season. There are tons of Pinterest check lists and articles of what one needs. As a nurse, one thing that I am looking around for are clicky pens as opposed to the ones that have tops. Highlighters are always a must in school. If your tech needs a bit of a boost, then now’s a great time to see what’s available.
- Save up. Let’s face it. Grad school is expensive…unless you’re ok with loans, with whatever earnings you have, put that away towards school. Having been there and done that (i.e. grad school), you’ll be surprised when you get that first bill. Your mouth will drop…and hey, even if you do loans…save up still…you have to pay for living right? Rent, food, bills..they add up…so, such funds can go towards things like this.
- Check out blogs to see what updates are available. I will say this — I was hesitant on putting this up, because many of you know that such can cause unwanted and unnecessary anxiety. If others are saying, “I got an interview on such and such date.” and you don’t…how’s that suppose to make you feel? It’s informative, but sometimes, it can not be as helpful as you’d like. I’ve stayed clear from them only to check every so often to see what’s been happening. For instance, for one school with a fairly new program, I go on to see if the class before has any insights on the application process because the school’s website doesn’t have these things available to us like more developed programs.
- Travel — Now this may be counter intuitive to #8, but if you like to travel, I would like to say, trying planning a vacation, no matter how small or long it may be. The truth is, once you start school, you’re not going to travel until you walk across that great stage with a cap and gown or passed your licensure exam. There are some opportunities, but let me just say, at least for the nursing programs I applied to…there is no stopping..there is no summer vacation…so, get that travel bug out of your system.
There you have it. The wait is real…so instead of sitting around and do nothing, do something to pass that time. When you start grad school, it’ll be grueling, and you want to prepare yourself for it mentally, physically, intellectually, and emotionally. It’s not to say that once you go through the interview process, get accepted, go to orientation, and start that first semester, doing these things would make life a breeze. I’m not saying that. I’m saying that use this time wisely. We all have to wait (especially for those of us who applied) so it’s important that in this waiting period, we do something with it. Time does not rewind (though…don’t we all wish it did in some point in time?). So, during the intercession of the next chapter of our lives — whether we get in to grad school or not, let’s do something rather than sit and wait.