Nursing. One week in. Although it wasn’t even week one, it was ‘week zero’ otherwise known as January Freshers week. For the second time in my life I have acquired Freshers flu without getting drunk once. Tragic. I blame freezing fog and early mornings.
Freshers flu aside, my work ethic is much the same as when I was eighteen and delighted to be at university. Only this time I feel slightly less spaced out and genuinely passionate about the subject rather than the idea of being a university student. Within minutes of arrival on my first day, my fears of once again being the odd not quite mature student amongst a class of eighteen-year-olds were laid to rest. There are teenagers. There are people who were doing the ‘I’m a student and this is Freshers week’ thing properly. There are also people closer to my Mum’s age than mine. There are people with children. There are people who have degrees in other subjects. There are people who have worked as carers for years. I am not the only one who doesn’t enjoy clubbing. I am already beginning to form friendships.
Between now and April, I have lectures, seminars and training sessions at the university. In April, I start my first placement. It’s generally accepted as a given that placement is the make or break moment of a Nursing degree. I am determined. I am not the person I was five years ago. I am not the person I was a year ago. I am stronger now, I have a higher capacity to cope and more ways of dealing with the times that I can’t cope. I want this more than I ever wanted to work in a lab.
There is little to say on the Nursing side of things. I am officially a member of the RCN, I have my fob watch, at some point over the next couple of weeks I will have a uniform and I have a huge folder with all my competencies waiting to be signed off. Last week was an introduction. A sorting out of all the administrative, boring-but-necessary stuff. I’m getting my head around Moodle, the online learning platform. It is about as clunky as the other three I’ve had the pleasure of using over the years. Being the geek I am, I have already started reading up on this semesters subjects.
One of the highlights of last week was the discovery that there are no exams in First Year. That was overshadowed by the second introductory session on Monday morning being from Student Support Services. All subjects in all universities in the country need to adopt this strategy. This wasn’t ‘here is where to find extenuating circumstances if something awful happens, most of you will probably never need to look at it’ it was a full rundown of how extenuating circumstances worked with reassurances that many of us will use it and that’s okay. It was an introduction to the welfare team and encouragement to make use of the counselling service. It was an explanation of how the disability service worked, how to self-refer and the point was made that it was important for everyone to get this information because peoples circumstances change. We were encouraged to make use of the support service. Instead of being irrelevant to all but a select number of ‘special needs people’, support, wellbeing and disability services were presented as something we would all make use of over the next three years. Having a disability or needing extra support or going through a hard time aren’t things to be ashamed of. It’s refreshing to finally have that