Pressure to Deliver: Give Into It and You Might Just Lose it All…

It was early morning, just like any other day in June, I had just finished going over my nursing test and knew that my chances to pass the quarter had just gotten slimmer. I would exactly need a 93 on the cumulative exam to keep my hopes alive. Tell me, how do you handle such news, and to add on that, carry on with your other life responsibilities like handling your business at work and paying your bills on time. After grading my test, I knew that I had accumulated more on my plate than I could chew. I was currently working as an ER tech full-time while also in school. Any nursing student would tell you that this is absolutely insane, and that is what was exactly happening to me. I started becoming more forgetful, scatterbrained and really depressed from all the sleep deprivation. My schedule, at the time, consisted of going to school from 8AM to 2PM and going to work from 4PM to 2AM finally to come home and sleep for 4 to 5 hours to wake up and do it all over again. After a while, the material becomes so unexciting and boring because you’re too tired all the damn time. Before taking my last exam, I started putting on many hours of studying trying to embed all that material in my head hoping to get enough to pass by. For any other relatable African students, failing in school is like throwing a disgrace on the family’s reputation. From a young age, our parents set high expectations for us to succeed because for some of them they literally had to fight for the same privileges that we sometimes take granted for. Till this day, that was undoubtedly the hardest call I had to make to my parents to inform them that I was more than likely going to fail this quarter. I was obviously so scared of how they would perceive me. I started even thinking about quitting and just heading back home, that this nursing school was not meant for me. But then I remembered that I actually enjoy studying about medicine and had been pretty good at stellar grades for most of my life. So, why this time I could not deliver. This thought kept circulating in my head and fueled my anxieties. On my days off, I started even having trouble sleeping because the final exam kept coming in my head. Fortunately, my mother, whom I am very close to, was very understanding and just told me to give it my best. But I knew that giving her those tragic news was not easy on her because that is the last concern I wanted to add on their burden given the financial troubles our family was going through. The day came, and I went in the class with my anxieties through the roof. The types of tests we get in nursing school mainly deal with understanding and application, applying those concepts and skills to real life situations. I had never done tests like that ever in my life, and sometimes I had no clue what they were exactly asking. I kept fighting through my anxieties as I kept answering questions, really hoping and praying that I was keeping the right answers. I was not able to ace that test and finished with a B, my teacher called me later that day, right before work, to inform me that I would need to write an appeal later to the board to give me another shot. That was one of my hardest days at work, trying to keep a smile on my face and ignoring voices in my head telling me that I am dumb, a failure, and a disgrace to my family. I had failed, was in denial. I refused to believe that it had actually happen and didn’t want to figure out a way to tell that to my family. As hard as it was to receive the news, I got down and thanked my Lord for this setback even though it was hard for me to own it. When I look back, I don’t even think I really meant what I was praying. At the time, I knew I needed Him more than anything for the day ahead of me at work in one of the busiest emergency departments in the state. 

The following summer, I decided to turn over a new leaf and rediscover my true self. So, I embarked on a journey of reflection, meditation, and exploring the magnificent nature and scenic views of Washington State. During these times, it was still hard for me to accept what happened. I had always been a spiritual and faithful, but during that first quarter I had lost sight of what I truly valued the most in my life. Here I was in a self-pity party of failing a class, while there were numerous people in this world fighting for their last breath of life. That summer, I decided to get a better control of myself and not get easily dazzled by the ongoing circumstances in my life. I started getting in nature more whenever I had time just to unwind and replenish. Quite frankly, I have found that to be the best adjustment I have done these past years. I was able to get another shot at nursing school and came back more focused and eager to learn what I did not fully understand the first time. The fall quarter was going well until a week before the end, I find out that I would not have a clinical spot for my rotation the upcoming quarter because everyone in my current group had successfully passed. It was one of the toughest things I have had to admit because it then reminded me of my past failures. Deep inside me, I felt as if people around me were losing their belief in me and that is one of the worst feelings to experience or overcome, which I will thoroughly discuss in my next entry…

As I embark on this journey of sharing of my story and experiences, I hope y’all can relate to it and hopefully find a great deal of lessons. I believe that we are each given special gifts and it is our duty to radiate them to the rest of the world through what we endure. 

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