Thursday, January 1, 2015
SCHOOLIf you've followed me into my new YouTube channel, or even follow me on Instagram, you know that I've embarked on a new educational journey: nursing school. I've made my way through classes like college algebra, anatomy and physiology I and II, lifespan development, and applied ethics. I survived my first semester of nursing school, which consisted of fundamentals of nursing and our first clinical rotation. I've learned so much already, but with three semesters still ahead of me, still have plenty to learn! I've made new friends...yes, friends. The type of friends who encourage and support me. The type of friends who genuinely listen to what I have to say. The type of friends who will spread the cheeks while I wipe the butt. The stay up until 2 a.m. talking and sharing stories friends. They are just the absolute greatest--I'm so thankful for them. God has continued to bless me through nursing school in so many ways I never imagined in my wildest dreams. But here I am, 14.5 credit hours later (yes, all in one semester!) Sort of tied in with school comes work.
WORKAs if the stresses of nursing school weren't enough, I decided to keep my job. I, of course, dropped to part time hours, working about 3 or 4 days a week. I'm still doing medical transcription and loving every minute of it. In fact, I'm not sure if I've divulged it prior, but my transcription work is really to thank for my nursing school dream. Hearing, reading, and typing about patients and their care is nice, but really being there--being the individual to provide that care--it's a whole different dimension of the patient care dynamic and I've absolutely fallen in love with it. I'm still working as an independent contractor with the same company--I've been with them since October 2013...can you believe it!? I've been spoiled with my primarily English-speaking doctors and accounts and plan to keep this job for as long as I possibly can!
FUN/HOBBIESIt's just been a recent thing, as in over the winter break, that I've rediscovered what it is to have fun. You see, during nursing school your fun becomes learning how to manually take a blood pressure...memorizing Erikson's developmental stages and reorganizing your own life based upon Maslow's Hierarchy. Lately I've been nesting...minus the baby. Our house has undergone a complete and total makeover! I've been up-cycling furniture I snatch up on Facebook yard sale pages for cheap, cheap, cheap. I've gotten back into knitting...I'm currently knitting a blanket also. Every time I get a few rows in, it seems like some furry little kitty cat thinks it's fun to pull on the yarn and unravel it...and my sanity right along with it.
THE MILITARY LIFEThe last few months have been pretty interesting in my household. I've kind of returned to the bachelorette lifestyle (which is something completely foreign to me as Hubby and I were married so young). I've been mostly surviving on Publix deli sandwiches, Tijuana Flats' queso, and protein shakes. I've been living life by the seat of my pants...as in following my to-do list down to the very T as I plan out essentially every minute of every day to keep myself occupied. Hubby is deployed. Our first deployment is about half-way over. Someone told me that the first half is the worst...so far, it all seems to be the worst. It's strange to have to try to figure out how to function without my other half. What's even stranger is having to reorganize my day to exclude spending time with my husband, listening to how his day went, and telling him about my nursing school adventures. I haven't seen him since the first week of November. There are still a few months until he returns, but thankfully school will be starting back up in a couple of weeks and, with that, time should begin to really fly (I hope!)
This year has really taught me not to take things for granted. Be thankful for every single minute you get to spend surrounded by your loving family and cherish them! Cherish the bickering, the nit-picking, and the disappointment right along with the accomplishment and love. I've learned a whole lot in 2014--I can tell you how to insert a Foley catheter or how to assess the radial pulse. But I can also tell you how absolutely lucky I am to have such a wonderfully supportive, caring, and loving husband whom I miss dearly. The start of 2015 will be a bit different in our household. It will be quiet, suffocated by nursing textbooks, and a bit lonely. But it will also be filled to the brim with a new-found sense of gratitude for all that I've been blessed with over this past year and, of course, I will be anxiously awaiting the return of ol' Hubby.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Friday, July 25, 2014
Let me just begin by saying that my life is absolutely crazy in every aspect of the textbook definition of the term! Since December I have begun a huge journey that will change my life forever and that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. So, why do another post now? you might find yourself wondering. Well, simply put, I still get a significant amount of e-mail per week (and even some days), most of which, regardless of the intent, mentions something in regard to my having left The Air Force Wife high and dry. Rest assured that it wasn't intentional. However, my motivation behind blogging from the get-go was rooted in loneliness. I had no friends, wasn't really working toward much in terms of my life goals, and I just wanted to be heard and feel as though I could be related to. Some of these elements still ring true; however, I have most definitely grown as an individual remarkably when comparing the Rachel who began the AFW to the Rachel now getting ready to begin nursing school in exactly 31 days...yes, you read that correctly--FREAKING NURSING SCHOOL! Anyone remember me complaining about Anatomy and Physiology torture what seems like just yesterday? I certainly do. I applied to the program in April--the first of April to be exact--and was offered a chair in this Fall's nursing class on June 27th (which I eagerly accepted the very same day...maybe even hour after I pulled by blubbering self together!)
My academic journey has already been such a whirlwind. Establishing and maintaining that balance between the triangle that is home life, work, and school is something that has challenge me unlike anything I have encountered in my life before. During school (which I just wrapped up the summer semester last week and am now officially FREE until Fall classes begin mid-August), I would literally wake up, do homework, work, do homework, go to bed, and repeat. School has become my life. I'm so blessed and fortunate to have found my calling in the healthcare industry that every moment I'm awake I can't accept not doing something to put me just one step closer to my eventual goals. I've greatly neglected my blogging, but, as I hope you will all agree, with good reason. I'm proud to say that prereqs and gen eds later, I'm still sitting on a 3.9 (the B I was stuck with was literally 0.5 a point shy of being an A...AH!) and have learned so much about myself--academically and otherwise--throughout this entire time.
Hubby and I are still doing well. We have added another member to the family--Miss Luna the Golden Retriever puppy :-) She is all licks and play and an absolute sweetheart! We are still in Florida. I still miss my family every single day (although, as I type this, my sister is here for another sister vacation just like last year--woo hoo!) I still don't know many people in the area and--truly--don't care. It isn't that I wouldn't love to have friends here, it's just that I quite literally have no time to invest in a friendship. I am still working in medical transcription and absolutely love my job--I am so thankful for the ways I continue to be blessed through it and plan to continue working part time in the fall and through nursing school.
So now that you've been filled in a bit, I did want to share my new YouTube channel with you all. Be forewarned of the social awkwardness, rambling, and nursing-talk overload; the channel is completely dedicated to my nursing journey if that's something you'd like to keep up with. Aside from that, everyone, I'm over and out; lots of fun to be had and memories to be made while my sister is in town :-) God bless and I hope your summer is going wonderfully!
Friday, December 27, 2013
I love to take bubble baths--as in if our water bill wasn't affected by filling up our garden tub on a daily basis, I most certainly would. I also love facial masques. More accurately, I have an addiction to facial masks of any and every kind. I typically judge which of my collection to use based upon what the weather is like (humid, dry) and what my face has been up to lately (sweating, out in the wind, breaking out, dry, oily, etc.) And I have a masque for no kidding each of those individual elements, and in addition, there is a fabulous database of DIY masques online that I reference frequently if I feel like my face is in need of a pick-me-up. ANYWAY, getting my hair out of the way is always a must--slopping masques on is rarely a clean affair. I typically wind up with bits and pieces getting crusted in my hair, surfacing even days later after I've showered multiple times. If I could eliminate one element of my pamper night to save myself an unnecessary headache (and some time and sticky, gooey fingers!), this would be it. If only there were a way to make this step simpler...cleaner...and more efficient...
The facial masque fairies have granted my wish! I was recently given a Montagne Jeunesse Clay-Infused Masque to try for testing purposes (courtesy of Influenster), and I was shocked at what I found when I ripped into the package of (what I thought to be) clay mush!
Okay, okay, let's back up a few steps and get into Montagne Jeunesse masks themselves prior getting specific with this one in particular.
Next, take a peek at the ingredients. See anything you can't pronounce? See any wonky chemicals that probably shouldn't be in a beauty product, let alone one you're putting directly on your face? I sure don't. Another win point for MJ!
Lastly, clay-infused. What does this mean? That I'm not just buying a package of mud that will make its way underneath my fingernails, into my hair, and into other body crevices that are completely mind boggling? Um, yeah, pretty much! Take a look!
Things keep getting better too--look at how easy this is to apply...Warning: Brace yourself for what appears to be a swamp monster below. You have been warned.
Trying to look cute in a facial masque quite obviously is not happening for me here. A for effort though, right!? :)
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
I am very excited to introduce you all to a fantastically heartwarming Christmas tale about the journey of Ranger the reindeer, younger brother to our old-time buddy Rudloph, learning to believe in himself and aspiring to achieve his dream of flying among Santa's reindeer. Ranger's story is one that will become a hit with your family (all ages included!) and is sure to become an instant Christmas classic in your home with it's beautiful depictions by award-winning artist Roberta Baird and wonderfully worded pages by author Alan Salisbury. What's even more great is Mr. Salisbury, retired Commanding Officer in the US Army, has dedicated all profits of from The Legend of Ranger, the Reindeer Who Couldn't Fly to the Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund in Art Therapy for Children with Cancer, erected to help children with cancer cope with and survive their bouts with cancer through innovative art therapy programs.
Without further ado, a word from Alan Salisbury on his inspiration for and journey through penning The Legend of Ranger:
Mr. Salisbury was kind enough to provide me with a copy of The Legend of Ranger as well as the CD of the single Dream and Believe (Ranger's Song) along with the complete Audio Book of the story to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. To enter, simply check out the widget below. Good luck everyone, and thank you to Mr. Salisbury for sharing his beautiful story with us!
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Friday, December 20, 2013
Today after sinking what is now coming to hours into school things, I felt inspired to make a post about all of the time that goes into being a student (particularly a military spouse student) completely separate from taking notes and test taking and cramming our brains full of information. School is exhausting! The entire process! I remember first enrolling in college fresh out of high school and having my dad to walk me through every step of the way--Financial Aid, books, registration, dealing with the schools--it all seemed so much more simple back then!
Now I'm finding that investing large chunks of time into getting things taken care of and ready to go for school is taking up tons of time! Hopefully what I am able to share can help at least one person shave some seconds off of their administrative school time. We spend enough time studying as it is--we need every other valuable second to do something not school related for our sanity's sake!
Registering for classes. Registering can be a real headache, but it depends on your school. If your school is like mine (and I hope for your sake that it is), you are able to register for classes online. Your school should notify you in some way, shape, or form when class registration will open (exact open/closing dates), and oftentimes schools will let students who have more completed credits under their belts register earlier than those who do not. For example, this fall I had 6 (ish) credits, so I was able to choose my classes a day before those with no credits, giving me a greater likelihood of securing a seat in classes of my choosing. Tip #1: Write these dates down on your calendar and set a reminder! I can't even begin to explain how frustrating it is to not make it into a class and have to wait an entire semester until you can take it.
Paying for classes. This is where the migraine starts to take the stage. Schools are sticklers about their money--can you blame them, though? If you have qualified for Financial Aid or intend to use a scholarship, you want to make sure that all of your bases are completely covered. Tip #2: Call your Financial Aid office and inquire as to whether you need to fill out a tuition deferment form; this is essentially a document that informs the school that you are paying, but your money may come in late since it is coming from another entity in the form of scholarships/loans/grants/etc. This is extremely important, especially if you are using any military related funds! My first semester I had no idea about the tuition deferment form, and thus I was dropped from my classes for "not paying" since MyCAA had not actually cut the school a check to cover my classes by the date when fees were due. It was a nightmare, and I had to spend hours playing phone tag with the Financial Aid office to try to get everything straightened out. Just save yourself the trouble, and invest 5 minutes of your time into completing this form. You'll be thankful you did!
Just as with registration dates, I find it extremely helpful to write down the specific dates when fees are due by. The thing about these dates, though, is that you will be dropped from your class, meaning you are no longer going to be taking that class the upcoming semester and your seat is now up for grabs, if you do not pay your fees on time! Tip #3: Check, double check, and triple check that your fees have been paid! My school has an option available online to view and pay fees, which I frequently use. Most of the times, Financial Aid and scholarships will not cover all of the fees involved with classes--for example, distance learning fees for online classes, lab fees, etc. Thus, it is extremely important that you keep on top of what you personally owe the school. I pay my fees as soon as they are calculated and displayed online. I set a reminder in my phone 3 days prior to their due date and on the due date and verify that my fees are still shown as paid in full on each of those days. It may sound a bit excessive, but like I've already said, being dropped and having to beg and sob your way back into a class is not a fun (or quick) ordeal, nor are you guaranteed any results from it!
Book vouchers. Some institutions allow full-time students to get a voucher to cover their books, but they must be purchased from the college book store. Weird, I know. What I've found to be the best bet for books is to rent them (thank you, thank you to the person who told me about Chegg!) unless it is for a class that you have a particular interest in and want to hang onto the book from (like me with my revered A&P book...I don't even let Hubby touch it!) Financial Aid "leftovers" are mailed out a couple of weeks into classes, so hopefully your books aren't too awfully expensive and you have enough of a FA reimbursement to cover them!
Transcripts. Tip #4: Always, always, always be sure that you know what scholarships require you to submit a transcript after you've completed your courses to A) Prove that you did in fact make it through B) Didn't drop out C) Passed as a lot of FA and scholarships will require you to pay funds back if one or more of the above are not true. You want to do this in a timely matter--I typically send them off as soon as unofficial transcripts are posted online. Make sure to verify whether the funding institution wants an official or if an unofficial transcript will suffice. Unofficial transcripts can be sent via .PDF or a Word document whereas an official transcript will be submitted either electronically or by mail from your college directly to the funding institution. With being a transient student this past semester with A&P, I had to go through the process of requesting transcripts to be sent to my home school, and after playing phone tag for a couple of days with the Student Records Department, I decided I would do an investigation on the school's student portal online. Come to find out, I was able to print an unofficial transcript and request official transcripts (electronic or hard copies) to be sent to wherever--schools or scholarship offices. This was a huge time saver, just make sure that you've got the correct address or electronic institution ID!
At the end of the day, you probably will feel like you've taken on a part-time job with all of the things that have to be done and squared away for your classes, but hopefully these pointers can help to steer you in the right direction and away from potential time-sucking pot holes!
What's been the most beneficial thing that you've learned throughout your college career? Did you learn it from a friend or the hard way?