Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Commissioning, Pinning, Graduation, and Next Steps...

Today is May 18th. That means that commissioning, pinning, and graduation are all over. What a fun, important, exciting, and emotional time. I'm pretty proud of a lot of things that I've done with my career, but finishing nursing school with honors and being commissioned in the US Navy are definitely two of the highlights so far.

We finished our last nursing school test this past Tuesday. I needed an 84 to make an A in the class. I finished the test with an 83.75 which fortunately rounded up to an 84. Grades this semester:

Leadership: A
Research: A
Special Problems - Audiology: A
Community: B
Capstone: B

Final GPA: 3.56 = cum laude

Never in a million years did I think I would get a high enough GPA to graduate with honors. Does it make a difference at all? Not one bit. But for me personally, it's a huge accomplishment. My first degree was so much easier than this one, and my final GPA then was a 3.04. The only reason it was that high was because I took 9 semesters of Choir and two semesters of bowling (not because I failed bowling. I just liked it and took it again.) I also did really well in my Information Technology Studies minor. That's pretty sad that my GPA was so low when my major was Health and Exercise Science. I just didn't take school as seriously as I should have back then.

Program write-up
The commissioning ceremony was awesome. The SFA Army ROTC let me participate in their ceremony. They made me feel very welcome despite 1.) looking completely different from them in uniform and 2.) not having shared all the awesome experiences they've shared together over the past four years. I was equally included in every aspect of their ceremony. I had write up about my career in the program, they framed my commission for me, managed to find me an official Navy document folder for my Oath of Office paperwork, and presented me with a command coin. It was an evening that I will never forget.

Our pinning ceremony was probably the most long-awaited event of our nursing school career. We managed to keep everyone who started 4th semester with us, so that's very exciting for us as a class. Nursing school is a pretty tough, emotional time for everyone involved - including our instructors. They all sent us the sweetest final e-mails wishing us well with our future plans and ensuring us that we are well-prepared for the NCLEX and for the start of our careers. It was so wonderful to have all of our instructors there for one last time and to recite the SFA Nursing Graduate Pledge with them all. I'm going to miss every. single. one of them. Not to mention the fact that I've seen the same nursing students nearly every day for the past two years, and now, everyone is moving to different places. I talked to a nursing school buddy of mine today about how weird it was that everyone disbursed after graduation so quickly. It just all ended so fast. I will likely never see some of those people again. It's pretty sad to think about. But the last two years (some three years) with them have been fantastic. My favorite instructor, Anne Collier, pinned me. She's been a mentor to me since the beginning, and I'm going to miss her terribly.

2011 Nursing Composite Photo
Graduation was long and very cold, but I'm glad I walked. At SFA, the nursing degree is the very last degree to be given. It was fun to be surrounded by the people that I love for one last time. The faculty of the whole university surround the area where we all sit as we process in. We were the only students to high five our instructors on the way in. There is a connection between nursing student and nursing instructor that is just not present in other departments. We definitely had the largest turnout of instructors compared to the rest of the departments. The very last person to walk gets the loudest cheers at graduation. It's always a nursing student and this year, it was my friend Maria Yount. Her commencement card was #1221. That's how many people walked.

Next step?? NCLEX at 8am on June 1st in Shreveport, LA. I really wanted to have my license before I check in to the hospital for temporary duty. Because Ms. Rosemary and the amazing staff at the school of nursing, that's going to be able to happen. The Navy detailer told me that it would likely be impossible for me to check in with my license. I took that as a challenge.


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