My Nursing School Journey

Today I went to CPR class at my new school. I am supposed to be starting nursing school in January and I am required to be CPR certified in order to be able to take classes. It was really interesting being in that room because I was sort of in awe. The room was filled with students from my school. Both new, current and alumni attended the class. It was interesting to hear everyone talking about classes and certifications. It took back to when I was just beginning this nursing journey about 2 years ago. Can you believe it was April 2016 when I took the TEAS? Although I ultimately did not get into nursing school then, I have still been taking prerequisite classes.

Before I started my nursing school journey, I had known that I needed a career transition for more than a year. I think I outgrew my job in retail but I was too scared to quit. One, I have 3 degrees already. Two, I was thinking about how I was old. Four, I wanted to achieve other life goals and not be stuck in school. Also, because I am not rich, I figured the best bet was to keep the job and find a new one. I had been applying for other jobs consistently but nothing seems to happen. I kept praying and hoping that something would happen. But nothing seems to happen. The longer I stay in my retail job, the more I realize that the joy was no longer there.

So I decided that I needed to bite the bullet and do a career transition. I had a few criteria for a new career. It had to be people-centered. There had to be prospects for longevity. I also wanted something that had space for me to grow. I did not want to go into a clustered industry and have to throw my elbows around to find a job. I want to be in demand. I also needed a field that was woman and minority friendly. After much thought and consideration, I sent my sister a message it middle of the night: “Nursing?”

This is how I started my career transition from retail to nursing.

What do you do?


There is the age old question that happens when you put adults in a room. That question is, “What do you do?”

“What do I do? I am a student.”

“Oh really! What are you studying?”

“I am trying to get into nursing.”

“So good of you to be going back to school.”

“Ha, yes, but the thing is…”

Then I explain how even though I am back in school, I have been in school. I have done school, and I have done it well. Sometimes I need to emphasize that because people become condescending.

Nothing makes me more afraid than being read like a stereotypical black woman. You know the black woman of many a racist imagination; young single mother, uneducated, poor and struggling.

The fact is I am none of those things, except single. I am old, not a mother, definitely educated, earning a living and thriving. I am nobody’s cliche. But as you learn when you have lived in America long enough as a Black woman, nobody gives you the chance to define your existence. Your being is defined for you. Sometimes, when you realize that your autonomy is being taken away, you become defensive.

The thing about going back to school for me is that for the first time in a long time, I feel like I am walking a path to somewhere I want to be . I am not doing it for anybody’s acceptance or to prove that I am intelligent. I am doing it to fulfill my own needs. I am finding every day that because I have nothing to lose, I am enjoying being a student.

Back in that room where I am being maligned for being a student, I have learned to relax and let people make a fool out of themselves. If I am feeling particularly mean, I start talking about my background. On the days that I feel kind, I smile. I have nothing to prove.