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Nursing wasn’t my first career choice.

The year was 1998. I had just graduated from the High School of Science and Technology in Springfield, Massachusetts. I had been accepted into the 2 colleges that my mother had applied to for me (yes you read that correctly). I had been too wrapped up in my high school boyrfiends and drama to really give my future career a thought. I was an almost straight A high school student but had very little desire to “figure it out” so I let my mom choose for me. She was an LPN and had enrolled me into a CNA course when I was 16, so working with patients wasn’t a hard no for me, but a nursing degree was never in my mind. I kinda did whatever my mother suggested but that’s another topic for later). I had also done a summer in UMASS Worcester for their health careers camp, so health care was more than likely going to be my future.

Two weeks after my high school graduation, my mother came home and told us she had been diagnosed with stage 4 uterine cancer. My 18 year old brain had no clue what that meant, and she really didn’t make it seem like it was as big of a deal as it actually was. Two weeks after that she lost her eye sight from a retinal hole and was diagnosed as legally blind. Life as I knew it was about to be completely flipped upside down. I kept on with life even though there was a part of me that wanted to stay in Massachusetts to be with my now sickly mother, she insured me that she would be fine. Plus, the boys that I was so wrapped up in were not helping me grow into the young lady I was destined to become. So off I went to college own in Buies Creek, NC at Campbell University. The school was a private christian college and the town was the school, and school was the town. There was one blinking stop light and a Pizza Hut and Subway were located about 10 miles down the road. I started as a Pre Physician Assistant major and did well my first semester in everything except biology! By Christmas break I was begging my mother to let me transfer schools and wasn’t aware of just how much sicker she had become. I was very wrapped up in myself and my boyfriend at the time.

I returned to Campbell for Spring semester and my mother agreed to let me transfer to another college or I could come back home. Going back to Springfield was not in my radar so I instead chose to apply to two colleges in Greensboro, NC. I was accepted into both UNCG and North Carolina A&T. At first I was going to go to UNCG but they didn’t have any student housing, so at the last minute I chose A&T. Funny thing is, A&T didn’t have any on campus housing either, so I ended up living off campus. My sophomore year was really challenging for me as I was taking a full course load and working. I had decided on psychology as my major because the nursing program wouldn’t allow me to take the needed freshman level classes now that I was an incoming sophomore. I busted my butt that entire year and came out with a 4.0 GPA. The nursing program agreed that if I took courses over the summer to “catch up” then I could apply for a seat in their upcoming Junior cohort. And that’s just what I did. I took a full load for both summer sessions, while working and while my mother was dying!

Junior year began, my mother was now down in North Carolina and living about an hour in a half away at my brother Tyrones house. I had a new boyfriend and was also working. On Sept 22, 2000 at 630 am I received the phone call that would forever change my world. My mother had taken her final breath and at 59 years old was now officially my first ever guardian angel. Looking back I really didn’t grieve properly for many different reasons. I held onto fear and shame from early childhood traumas and now added grief and despair on top of those. I literally turned into a walking shell and focused all of my time and energy on nursing school and my college boyfriend.

I ran my race joining Sigma Theta Tau and volunteering my free time. I graduated Summa Cum Laude in May of 2002 and sat and passed my NCLEX in July of 2002. I interviewed at several hospitals including Duke, Chapel Hill and Duke Raleigh, before finally interviewing and being accepted in the Rex Hospital ICU nurse internship. I packed up my college life in Greensboro, NC and moved into my first “nice” apartment in Cary, NC. I began my ICU training in July of 2002…and my career and life journey was officially about to begin.

Published by Crystal A Grant

I’m a CRNA, transformation coach, CEO of Superscript Wellness, dog mom and podcaster! I help women of color overcome their limiting beliefs so that they can live the life and have the career they've always wanted.

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