I’m sure you’ve all heard this a time or two (hundred) during your college career. But it’s really something I’ve been meditating on over the course of this past semester. I’ve always been type A when it comes to my academic standing, but college has forced me to let go (unwillingly) of that facet of my personality.
My first year of college wasn’t bad because I hadn’t started taking classes for nursing school. It was a lot of general education requirements that taught me more about cramming and begging friends to edit my papers rather than making me cry and want to give up about 7 times a day. This year has been drastically different already, and it’s only been one semester. I still have 5 semesters left of nursing school and it’s already hard. Strangely, I’m learning to be okay with that.
Here’s the issue with me: if I’m not getting an A, I might as well be failing.
Here’s the other issue: I’m not good at getting A’s.
I’ve never been one of those students who can study the night before and absolutely destroy and exam. I’m one those that studies for weeks and weeks, and goes to every single review session, and asks the professor 8,000 questions, and then still gets a C- on the test. Somehow I usually get my life together by the end and resolve my grade before the course concludes, but I have realized this semester how much I was letting normalcy in my life become incredibly negative and detrimental to my success.
One particularly frustrating evening that consisted of a bag of carrots, some hummus, and my anatomy textbook sent me straight to my knees. I was exhausted and I had beaten up on myself for the entire week about how unprepared I was for an exam (in less than 12 hours). So naturally, I continued to force myself to read and re read the endless number of words on the textbook page, even though they meant absolutely nothing to me.
Then I stopped myself. I try to do this thing, nowadays, where if I catch myself wallowing in a negative moment, I stop and grab my bible, or open it up on my phone. In these moments, I just want to shut down the stimulus that is making me feel unworthy or incapable and replace it with everlasting truth and wisdom. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always thrilled to open up my bible and dig into some scripture when I’m frankly pissed that I am already having trouble focusing. But I try to do it anyway. Even if I don’t open my bible in those moments, I just try to pray.
On this evening, Jesus was ALL about sending me on a chase for answers. I opened up my bible to the last book marked page, but for some reason I wanted something different. I’m a neglect-er of Timothy. So, there I went. 2 Timothy 2:15.
“Be diligent and present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
I scrambled for my journal and started listing everything that I was feeling because I didn’t know where God was taking me with this.
- I’m frustrated because I have put in countless hours studying and I still feel unprepared
- I’m frustrated because I’m probably going to get a C on this test
- But wait, Hannah. C is average. C is not BAD.
- I’m frustrated because a C is bad in my head.
- I’m so tired
- Have I even asked anyone else about their day today?
- I’m too focused on myself
- I need to do my laundry
- But I have to get an A on this exam
- I can’t get an A on this exam. There’s no way.
10 things (and trust me, I spared you with the #) that I was harboring. 10 things that were creeping under my skin and subsequently ruining my concentration and my attitude. So I went back to scripture. “Present yourself approved to God as a workman.”
Okay God, here I am. I AM A WORKMAN. I DO NOT NEED TO BE ASHAMED. (Literally, aloud).
And I chose not to be ashamed by what considered to be my own lack of knowledge. I closed my textbook for the night and I crawled in my roommate’s bed to watch Parks and Rec. I let go and I let God, which is really hard for me. When I got up an hour early the next morning to study with a different mindset, I was able to focus. I knew what I was reading. It wasn’t Chinese?!?! Thank you, Jesus.
Did I still get a B on the exam? Heck yeah, I did.
I’m trying this new thing. It’s simply reminding myself that there is more to life than where I stand academically. Yes, I want to be an incredible nurse, and I think that one day I will be. But I also KNOW that I will be an even better nurse if I care for myself as I am preparing for that role. I promise that my heart is in this. I promise myself that and I will promise my future patients that. Because I know that my ability to love and serve others, whether that is in the form of bed-side care or hanging out on the quad, is greater than my brain will ever be.
I want to be a professional and I want to minister to others while practicing medicine, but I also want to be a good friend and daughter and just a person. I want to glorify God through my actions and my words and relationships, not through my GPA.
That’s me. Your future nurse who doesn’t get straight A’s.