Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Too late to take the Plunge?

I want to do something more. I need to do something more. I feel too powerless, too helpless in life, and I want to live a life free from regret.

But I have this one regret that I simply can't shake. And I'll probably be crying as I type this.

Last Sunday, representatives from BYU and it's partner schools in Idaho, Hawaii, and the LDS Business College came to our Stake Center to present an education fireside. It was for students in grades 8-12 and their parents, basically with a tutorial of how to get into the various universities and what to expect once you're there. I learned a lot. And the whole time I was wishing that I was in grades 8-12, and that what I was looking at on that screen would be my imminent future and that I could be preparing for it with gusto, as I know my own children are now.

I make no bones about it. I should have gone to school. I had the grades, I had the ACT score. I had the acceptance. I even had some scholarship help. I should have gone. I wish someone had pushed me. I wish I knew then what I know now. I should have gone. I will not allow my daughter to make the same mistake that I made.

Sure, I'm proud of the things that I've accomplished even without school. I've been blessed with many opportunities that I don't feel worthy or deserving of. I'm grateful that I have spent my years as a mother, and I do not regret that. But I should have gone to school. I want it so badly that it consumes my thoughts many days. Is it possible for me to go back in time, in a way, and catch up? Can I go back and fill in that chapter of my life? Sure, it won't be entirely the same, especially socially, being in my mid-thirties and married with 4 kids and all, but I think all that considered, it would still light my fire in a way that I need.

Education is so important to me! I've dedicated 11 years to homeschooling my own children and hammering into their heads that they are each getting at least a Master's degree. Period. We learn and read around here like other people snack and breathe. And I don't discount the learning that I continue to do personally, but I want more.

And life is so uncertain. I've been a single mom with no real job skills to speak of. Now, I'm a married mom who has tried her best to shoulder financial pressures with her husband who struggles against a weak economy and a slow job market, with no steady employment. So I teach piano. I bake cakes. I write. And I wish I could go to school.

I want to get an RN. It hit me two weeks ago. I could be a Nurse! There is a nursing shortage, especially in CA and nurses are paid very well here. After finishing up prerequisites (which if the college will accept my classes from eons ago, I will only have three more to take before I could apply to the Nursing program), the program is 2 years. Well, I'll still be here in 3 years, and probably still struggling. Maybe even more so. Life is so uncertain. I don't like the fear and the helplessness I feel inside. I want to do something about it, for me. For my family. For my children. I know the road would be long and hard, and I know the competition is very fierce, but another goal I've had "down the road" is to be a midwife, and an RN is the foundation of that goal as well. I think I should do it. I want to do it.

But I don't know how. Yet.

I don't have a car. Public transportation is not an option. Even the college website says that. I wish I had a car. I miss being able to drive my kids places, or go somewhere as a whole family. (Ah, the beach! The museum! Sean's soccer game!) It's one of those awful vicious cycles. You need money to buy a car, but you need a car to seek more money. I see lovely minivans and those hefty Suburbans and I send my positive energy out there that somehow, in some way I will be able to have a vehicle to drive my children around, and to get me to and from school. (Heck, to evacuate in case of a fire, like we were threatened with last week! Or in the event of the looming "big one"! All so scary to consider, when you know you couldn't even fit your children in the car, let alone supplies and important things if you suddenly had to leave.)

I go to the college website and browse around. Glendale Community. Great nursing program. Not too far away. I'm sure I could get financial aid. What if I could be a nurse? It's exciting for me to even think about! I could work in obstetrics, or a burn unit, or in surgery. Would someone hire an almost 40 year old nurse? Is it too late? I want to be helpful. I want to be a blessing. I want to know that no matter what happens, I'll be okay.

I'm really toying with the idea of filling out an application to see what happens. Maybe I need to take that leap of faith and trust that a way would be provided. Aaaagh! Scary!


Annette Lyon said...

Oh, Jenna--do it! Find a way. You'll be so glad you did. MY SIL nurse says that older nurses are in more demand because they're less likely to quit because of all those things that happen in your 20s--marriage, kids, etc.

You're not too old, not by a long shot. (If you're old, then so am I. I refuse to be old.) When I was finishing my BA, there were several women as old as 55 in my classes, and no one batted an eye or wondered why they were there with 20-year-olds.

The next three years will come and go regardless of what you do. When they're over, you could be an RN. Or not.

This is something that will benefit you and your entire family. You can find a way!

dcr said...

i've been reading your blog for some time, even though i don't know you (your husband was in my ward some time ago). as i have recently returned to school at age 43 and with two kids and a full time job, i totally understand your concerns. two words for you--DO IT! it's hard and not a lot of fun at times but you have different motivation now than before. you will likely be a more sucessful student. apply, do whatever you need to for acceptance and then GO! you will sacrifice some time with your kids but they will see you fulfilling an important goal and remember when they are older what you have accomplished. i to hear more about your nursing school!

Anonymous said...

Go for it. Find out what you need to do. Find out how much time. Find out the answers to all your questions. Go for it. Finding out is the hardest part of the adventure.

Abby said...

It's amazing that you wrote about this today because I just dragged myself out of bed from crying about the very same thing. Today's Orion's first day back at school. I'm proud of him..so very proud, but at the same time I feel like a big pile because I haven't even finished high school. I want to. I hate feeling like my only accomplishment in my life so far is that I'm a mom. I hate not contributing to the finances around here anymore (not until the kids are in school, anyway). I feel like I'm worthless because I don't have NEARLY as many skills and talents and just general know how like you do. I feel like I've been left in the dust with no real skills to speak of and what kind of an example am I to my children??

I've got some researching to do..but as for you..do it. Do it do it do it. The best nurses I've had have been in their 40s and beyond. I can so totally see you as a midwife (I don't want you around when my next kid is born for nothing, ya know.) and I think you should just go for it. You won't know unless you try, right?

Don said...

Life is short, and leaps of faith are hard. Becoming a nurse is definitely a righteous desire. Your thoughts sure seem like promptings to me.

I hate to sound like a Sunday School lesson here, but fast and pray and council with Adam, and if you feel good about it, do it. It's not too late, and you're not too old, and it's possible the reason things are so tough right now is to spur you into action.

Just a thought.

templework said...

My sister went back to school at 50!
This past May she graduated with Honors!
( http://jarcasforums.yuku.com )

Educations is always right.
Just pray about it so you have His guidance pertaining to how, when, where


Stephanie Humphreys said...

Going back to school would be so exciting! Good luck. I don't think it is ever too late to get more education.

Amber said...

Do it! The only thing you have to lose is regret - and that is so worth losing! I'm taking independent study classes to finish my degree and it is hard being mom and student and working but I know its what I need to be doing.

Do it!
Do it!
Do it!

I'll join your cheerleading squad ;)

Wonder Woman said...

Do it! Have faith and take that step. This is an exceptionally noble and righteous desire. You can do it. You are NOT too old - not by a long shot. Make sure it's what God wants, then make it happen.

Do it do it DO IT!!!

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

It's never too late and you're never too old. When my husband was starting chiropractic school, he made the comment that "I'll be 34 before I finish." My reply was, "You'll be 34 anyway."

Go for it! You can make it work.

Sarah said...

My sister just recently got her RN. She is now making a pretty decent amount of money, too. Of course she doesn't have kids, but I envy her so much for the fact that she completed school and everything. I think you should go for it!

James and Angela said...

I think you should have faith in what you're feeling and go for it. If it's not what you should be doing, you'll know, but you need to put forth the effort and faith if that's what you're feeling.

My Aunt went to school and got her RN degree after her kids were teenagers. She has never regretted that decision and she makes great money now.

I went to school and got my bachelor's degree last spring. I am 33 and am still going to go back to school to get my master's degree. Lots of people at school were just like me, older. I have friends of all ages at school, teenagers, people my age, and people who were older. There was a 72 year old lady in my writing class in my last term. We all loved having her share her work with us.

GO FOR IT, this will bless you, your husband, and your kids!!!

LB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LB said...

Jenna, If you want a better insight into the nursing profession, call here and speak to my wife. She is an RN by education and degree, but the opportunities that reach from this degree extend far beyond what you are considering. Anne is now working in research, running drug trials for drug companies to submit to FDA, she is home officed, and travels lightly, but the pay available to this end of the industry is unbeleavable. I also have a very good friend who didn't finish college until she was in her late 30's, then went to med school, and graduated in her 40's. She is now a forensic pediatrition, and just turning 50. Think about it, pray about it, involve your husband and children in the decision, and again, feel free to call Anne and talk to her about it.

Uncle L

idahohubers said...

So much support here! Easier said than done I'm sure, but I agree. My SIL is planning a return for an RN even though she already has a teaching degree. She is almost 38 with 6 kids from 12 to 1 year old. She has talked about it for 10 years. The education I received in my 20's was invaluable to me, but education at an older age can be so much more life changing. I always loved when I had older classmates.

Plus, imagine the depth age and motherhood would bring to the nursing profession. They can't teach that stuff in school, so in a way you are ahead of the pack!

I say leap, apply and see.

You never know until you go for it. All you loose is an application fee if you change your mind or if the timing doesn't work out. Maybe the vehicle problem won't be resolved until the last minute. I don't know your area but there is a chance that a classmate lives near you and needs a carpool buddy!

Sometimes a change or new direction remains unclear until we move on it. One way or another the clear solution presents itself. Good luck!

YogaNana said...

I think you know I wanted to be a midwife and checked out the requirements back in NJ. I was 40 at the time and training was going to be 7 years. I gave up the idea because I couldn't see an 'old woman of 47' actually ... well, having any remaining life force, I guess.

Now at nearly 60, 47 looks like a mere slip of a girl and I've wished many times I had at least tried.

Do It.

who just began her 10th year answering the phone for Comcast -- whee.

Madam Crunchypants said...

It is never too late!

I am an LPN (Licenced Practical Nurse). Where I live, it is a 1 year program, and the scope of practice for LPNs is very very similar to that of an RN. If you're concerned about the time commitment, look into doing an LPN program - then you can bridge into RN, while working at an LPN wage (here, starting wage for LPNs is $22/hr, and for RNs ~$32/hr) - it's a ladder, and it will definitely take you longer, but you'll be working and using your nursing skills while taking your RN, which will help you in the long run.

Good Luck!

Raelene said...

My brother became an RN in his late 40's, just a few short years ago. I know you can do anything you set your mind to! My sister says you could sell a sink hole. You gotts what it takes. Love ya!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I understand that feeling so, so well.

I went to school, but gave up shortly after. Got scared. Didn't really try. Have regretted it ever since. Also plan to go back some day. When the kids are older.

I hope I don't put it off too long. I hope I don't get complacent and miss my chance.

And I really, really hope you don't miss yours either. Your passion is inspiring. ~hugs~

Misty said...

i am a big fan of going back to school... you should so do it!

Luisa Perkins said...

I did it; you can do it, too.

You'd be an amazing nurse! There must be a way.

Jenn -- said...

I'm trying to decide whether or not to go back to school too. I'm scared silly. Just from reading your blog I know you are amazing. You can do it.

Piper of Love said...

You are so much braver than me.

And you WILL be an INCREDIBLE nurse. The best one ever. I'm so proud of you, and inspired.

Good for you!! Taking back your power.

I love you

Blessed said...

Go for it!

You'll never regret the decision and you are definitely young enough to do it. In fact I have a friend who is around your age who just finished the nursing program at the local community college and is working at the local hospital now - she wonders why it took her so long to just go ahead and do it.

Melissa Angert {All Things Chic} said...

its never too late. nurses are in demand right now -- and its the perfect field for a mom of 6 who needs lots of flexibility!

Jennifer said...

You did it! :)