Sunday, May 31, 2015

My Educational Decision

On Wednesday, I received a call from Aurora University stating that I was accepted into their nursing program for the Fall of 2015. This was a shock because I had previously been denied and put on the wait list. Despite this generous offer to join Aurora’s Bachelors of Nursing program I choose to decline. I made this decision in only a few minutes and could not be happier with my decision.

            I could not possible accept their offer because my heart belongs elsewhere. When I was first denied by Aurora University, it was a couple days after I received an exhilarating call, saying I was accepted into Rockford University’s Nursing program. I immediately accepted Rockford University’s offer before I knew if any of my other two options would accept me. There was safety in accepting because I did not know my future at other nursing programs. Fortunately, both of my other two options came back as being declined because it really drove home that I was not meant to go to those schools. When I heard I was declined from both I was happy because it meant that I was solidly destined to go to Rockford University. I am a believer in a divine hand who plays a role in our lives and I believe only getting accepted originally to Rockford University was a gift from above. It helped to clarify that despite all my concerns about leaving home, meeting new peers, and the challenging curriculum of a nursing student that I would find my place within this new community. I think my certainty also stems from the fact that after I received my phone call of acceptance to Rockford University at work. A member whom I had not seen in a while, traveled up to speak to me. She was wearing a Rockford University sweatshirt and I learned she was currently in their nursing program. Upon confessing to her, I had just heard I was accepted she offered me her nursing textbooks to help save some money on my expenses. Although I am sure Aurora University has an amazing nursing program from the beginning it has been clear I was meant to go to Rockford University.

            Not only did I feel that I was destined to go to this school, but I had a lot of other motives to why I actually decided to decline the offer to join Aurora University instead of Rockford University. Both of these schools are private colleges which to be frank means they have a higher cost than public institutions. My financial stability when I get out of college depends on me making the wisest choices with my educational expenses. I am constantly applying for scholarships to try and lighten the burden of higher education but regardless of the number of scholarship applications I submit it is out of my hands if I am selected. While searching for scholarships, I have come across a lot of companies that are generous enough to help students with the significant cost of secondary education like Iron Security. Rockford University was the better choice because I was already selected to receive their prestigious Dean’s scholarship resulting in about half of my yearly tuition being funded from this scholarship. Rockford University also included an advantage over Aurora University, because I have been blessed to have been introduced and bonded with about five people who will be peers in many of my nursing courses. These are people that will be pursuing their nursing degree at the same time as me, and we will be in the same graduating class. I cannot speak highly enough of knowing people in my major before school even begins, it is great to know that I will be seeing a few friendly faces and have a dedicated group of people to study with and help navigate the difficulties of the nursing profession. Even during this summer, I have been communicating with a girl about all the excitement and concerns about starting school in the fall. These reasons help to contribute to my choice to not change my nursing educational institute.

            In two minutes, I made a life altering decision to decline the offer to go to Aurora University and I could not be happier. My financial future depends on wisdom when choosing the better choice to lower my educational expenses. The Dean’s Scholarship offered to me at Rockford University helped to make this college the best choice. The friendships I have developed before the start of class with other future nursing students have comforted and excited me for the lasting friendships I will generate during school and beyond. And last but not least, my final reason to decide not to go to Aurora University is because my heart believes I am destined to spend the next 2.5 years at Rockford University. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

One Degree Smarter

In a couple of weeks, I am graduating from McHenry County College with my Associates of Science in Administrative Office Management. Not only will I be receiving this degree, but I will have five certificates that display my name Leah Baird proudly for the world to see. Being a 23 year old graduate might not seem like a major accomplishment. But when I was in middle school, I was told from a counselor that I would never graduate from college. You might be wondering what could possibly give a counselor the foresight to predict such complicated and discouraging declarations.

During seventh grade my world changed, I developed into a child who was extremely tired all day every day. I would often sleep in class and when I got home from school. People around me thought I was having a growth spurt. I remember the first time I felt the uncontrollable need to sleep, my father a photographer took my brother Kyle and I up to Wisconsin to take photos of the beautiful landscape, and I slept the whole time. My dad would be trying to get me involved but I felt an insatiable need to sleep that no amount of sleep could correct. I have always enjoyed laughter, but at a certain point humor became a problem. I would collapse to the floor paralyzed during moments that I found funny many times a day. Hitting my head on my science textbooks or collapsing all the way to the floor from a standing position. This could be concerning to many parents, but mine considered I might be seeking attention since I am their youngest child of five children. Later in the summer, I started to have vivid dreams that frightened me to the point of nightly terror. I was so terrified at this time that I would cling to my father every night and in the process ruined his sleep cycle. This is what led my father to search for answers, one night he stayed up googling the phrase “night terrors and falling down laughing.” During his search he discovered something known as narcolepsy, and by morning with absolute certainty woke my mother up and said I had narcolepsy.

My middle school counselor took the fact that I had a severe sleep disorder to mean that I would never graduate from college which is quite sad of her narrow minded view. It seemed to say to me that regardless of my drive, purpose, and decisions in life I could never overcome my sleep disorder. I find this honestly comical today, and it reminds me of how far I have come on my journey. In my late teens, I was deeply troubled by this new diagnosis of narcolepsy not only because of the daily challenges it brought on but because of my worries about the way I would be perceived by others. I have blossomed from the shy teen that was fearful of others in the ten years I have lived with this sleep disorder. My purpose in life was refined by developing narcolepsy. I have taken a burden and decided to use it as a gift. In the fall of 2015, I will be heading to Rockford University to become a registered nurse. I plan to specialize in sleep medicine and specifically help the patients and parents of people with narcolepsy understand that life does get better. My journey is not over yet, but I will continue to fight daily for every accomplishment. My future is very bright and I am looking forward to continuing my journey!