My College Experience: Dream vs Reality

I was accepted into Molloy College back in December of 2012. I had an on site at my high school and was accepted on the spot. I was so excited, my dream of becoming a nurse was going to become a reality. I graduated high school in June of 2013 as part of the top third of my class, I was pleased. Soon after graduation I started my first job…and that’s where my life changed. I started working for a local Petco store as a grooming assistant. Basically, I washed and dried the dogs, scheduled appointments and unfortunately had to clean up after them if you know what I mean. At the time the minimum wage was $7.25 (crazy!!!), I was barely making any money but I had to save for school. I only worked there for one month before my injury.

Now the day this happened the salon was closing up and there was one dog left. I was allowed to do dogs alone if they didn’t need a haircut, only a wash and dry. Now I absolutely hated doing big dogs (I’m still not a big dog fan to this day) because I’m a petite 5 foot girl with no muscle. The dog was a chow mix and they’re pretty chunky animals. The groomer had to put a muzzle on this dog as it wasn’t being cooperative at all. She left me to do my work and the dog wouldn’t stay on the grooming table. You could adjust the height of the table so willing dogs would just walk right onto it without a problem. For this dog, I had to try to lift it up onto the table (the table was in the lowest position) and as soon as I tried I heard a loud pop. For the rest of the night, even after I left, I wasn’t it any pain. It wasn’t until the next day that I could barely move. I went to the hospital and they ran tests on me and found out I had a herniated disc in my lumbar spine. I was devastated as I was starting school in less than 2 months. I had a couple treatment offers presented to me: Steroid injections in my spine to relieve pain (I declined), physical therapy (I tried for a while but it only aggravated my back so I stopped), pain medication (I used them for the first month after my injury but was afraid of getting addicted so I stopped), and seeing a chiropractor (definitely not). By some miracle I was recovered enough to start school. I never told them about my injury as they would’ve kicked me out of the program.

 
Me and my dad on my high school graduation day

Me and my dad on my high school graduation day

My daily commute sucked. It was a 30 minute train ride there and coming back was even longer due to rush hour. I didn’t have the car I have now to drive there so I suffered in all kinds of weather (winter in NY is horrible). I didn’t make many friends in college as they weren’t the type of people I’d hang out with. It was a small private catholic college (good and bad). The school was nice and cozy since it was small but it felt like the students there were your typical privileged rich kids. Tuition was insane (not gonna get into it) and my professors weren’t good (except for a few). Orientation and college visits always make the school appear better than it is I sadly learned. My excitement was running out and I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

Fast forward two years and I’m at my local hospital doing clinicals for my nursing class. There was a patient a classmate of mine had that needed help being moved up in bed. Since I couldn’t tell anyone about my injury ( I’m not allowed to lift more than 20 pounds, even to this day without a flare up) and no one else was around, I had to help her. We end up putting the patient on a sheet and with us on opposite sides of the bed we moved her up in bed. But as we moved here I heard the dreaded pop in my back again and I immediately knew I was in trouble. Except this time, the pain kicked in immediately. I wasn’t able to continue clinicals in that condition and because I was falling behind I made the decision to drop out. My school was already known for wanting to weed out the “weak” ones so they pretty much encouraged me to drop out (I didn’t like the dean so her being so nonchalant about me leaving pissed me off and made me hate the school).


Fast forward another two years to today, I still have to pay off the student debt my school gave me. I still have days where my back acts up. I have an idea to try to go back to school to be an ultrasound technician. At 23, this isn’t where I pictured myself. It will take time but I’ll get there. I do believe that everything happens for a reason ( I wouldn’t have started my blog otherwise). To anyone who’s taking school for granted, whether it’s undergraduate or graduate, don’t. Not everyone has the opportunity to go to school or even complete it. Take it seriously and always have a backup plan. I didn’t and I regret it.

I still have some of my nursing school supplies. Here’s my customized stethoscope which I love and my school name tag

I still have some of my nursing school supplies. Here’s my customized stethoscope which I love and my school name tag