Reminder to Self and Reminder to You

Be brave. Do it scared. Refer to the sections “Scary, Scary, Scary” (page 12), “Defending Your Weakness” (page 16), “Fear Is Boring” (page 19), “The Fear You Need and the Fear You Don’t Need” (page 22), and “The Road Trip” (page 24) in Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I'm Not Perfect, But I'm Frickin' Awesome

So I think I'm the coolest person I know, but as a social creature (human, not extrovert *insert barf emoji*), I still care about what other people think of me because without friends, life would be very lonely. All that to start to say that I have self-esteem issues to an extent. Add in my school life (Let's be honest--my life since I've been in school nineteen of my twenty-five years of life.), and you get self-esteem issues mixed with perfectionism. I used to think Type A and perfectionist were compliments, and to an extent, they are. However, is it worth the mental exhaustion to be Type A and a perfectionist? Simply put, no. Do I wish I were a Type Z (I don't know if that's a thing, but just think of it as the exact opposite of what we know Type As to be.)? Absolutely not! But can I be a Type M or something? You know, something in the middle? Maybe a Type F, somewhere in between average and perfectionist? Being a Type A makes some parts of nursing school really hard. Namely, the part that most nursing students enjoy--clinicals. In case anyone else uses different terminology at their nursing school or for non-nursing students who are just not familiar with the term, clinicals is what my nursing school calls the portion of nursing school where we go into the hospitals and work with patients to put into practice what we learn in class. This is new territory for me. I've only ever worked a month and a half in my life, and that didn't go over well because I chose to dive head first into a career too soon. Besides traditional schooling (classes, textbooks, notes, tests, papers, papers, papers), I've only ever taken care of sick family members or been four years old and younger. So I am very comfortable with traditional schooling. In fact, after having completed three degrees already, I enjoy traditional schooling. I love going to lectures and taking notes and absorbing information. Studying, not so much, but after these other degrees, I'm not having to study much at all to pass. I graduated high school with a 4.0 and finished my first two degrees with a 3.7. So far, for these next two degrees, I'm at a 3.6. And I kept a 4.0 in college for my first year and a half. So I'm used to doing really well in school AKA I'm not good at mistakes. And this whole posts so far probably sounds like a big brag, and I am proud of what I've achieved. I don't think I should have to minimize that for anyone, but to be really good at books doesn't make the rest of life easy. In fact, it makes the end goal of traditional schooling extremely hard for me, and between my first job, which is a complex topic to begin with, and clinicals, I am seeing just how hard it is for me to transition from being able to read or listen and choose the right answers to taking that information and making it mean something to sick patients. And I'm not doing poorly in clinicals, but I am struggling with it a lot mentally. If I'm being honest, I hate clinicals, but I don't think it's because I'm choosing the wrong career. I know it's because the fear of making mistakes paralyzes me. I've been in clinicals for a year and a half now--that's three semesters on my school's curriculum. I spent the first two semesters and the first two of eight clinical days of this semester crying at some point every day because I was so scared to do the wrong thing and either fail the course, get kicked out of the program, or being told I'm not fit to be a nurse. None of which have happened nor are likely to happen. I heard my mom who went through this very same program only seven years ago (while I was working on my first degree) tell me that you're supposed to make mistakes and that you can't expect yourself in your first, second, or third semester to perform as well as a seasoned nurse, which sounds so obvious, but I couldn't feel it in my bones. I thought the expectation in nursing school was we have given you this information, you have been tested on it, and you have no reason to not be able to do everything we taught you. It all sounds so absurd seeing it typed out like this, but it felt so real, and it made so much sense to me. I mean, what else is the point of all the information we were taught, right? Well, to answer my own question, it's to help us transition from student to nurse and make informed decisions on the way. It's not to say that seeing it a couple times before the test or even having practiced it for twelve cumulative hours in a controlled environment is enough to make you execute it perfectly the first time you need to on a very real, very sick, very vulnerable patient. And I have to realize that besides making mistakes not making me a terrible person or a stupid person or unfit to be a nurse, having these feelings and struggling like this also does not make me any less than frickin' awesome.

So if you, too, are struggling with anything, it (Probably--I mean, we can talk about struggling with the impulse to hurt innocent people.) doesn't make you any less than frickin' awesome either. I don't know what mantra you need to make with "I'm frickin' awesome," in it, but I need this one. I'm not perfect, but I'm frickin' awesome.


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