In the meantime, I just submitted my application for nursing school (proper). Had to write a personal statement. It's a 500 word synopsis of my journey over the last couple years. Thought I might as well share.
At 29 years old, I stood in a glass-walled corporate boardroom on the 45th floor of a skyscraper, staring at the expanse of lower Manhattan stretched out before me. It was surreal – not only the view, but also the situation I found myself in. In a few short years I had worked my way up to an executive position and was living the charmed life that accompanied it. Yet, as I surveyed what was around me and assessed what my life meant at that moment, I knew I was not where I needed to be.
It all seemed too perfect to give up. On paper everything was right. But years of stubbornness couldn’t shake the gut feeling that it was, in fact, all wrong. Eventually I realized the literal ivory tower I was standing in didn’t have meaning for me. The corporate goals and rules of success didn’t motivate me, much less bring me joy. Through the guidance of good friends, research and soul searching, I realized the key component I was missing: I want to help people.
Part of it was ingrained in my upbringing. My grandmother was a bush nurse in East Africa most of her life. It was commonplace for her to be serving in war zones and the wake of natural disasters when I was a kid. Giving of yourself for the sake of humanity was an unspoken standard that was established.
Nursing never occurred to me as a profession when I was younger. I can admit now I was much more concerned with conquering mountains and breaking down barriers. My focus was to blaze my own path. I wanted to distinguish myself from family traditions or anything traditional for that matter. I wanted to be different.
I realize now, a big part of that same spark that is inside my grandmother is also inside me. As I continue to sift through my experiences over the years, evaluating what has worked and what has not, the one fact that remains is that I want to make a difference in people’s lives. That is what makes me tick. Applied to the real world, for me, this means I want to have a tangible skill – something I can contribute to humanity that’s practical.
After following what is without a doubt a winding, yet interesting and adventurous path, it has turned out to be a giant circle leading me right back to the beginning. I admire and respect my grandmother so very much for the work that she has done. And the more I learn about and get involved in the healthcare industry, the more amazing men and women I meet who are just like her.
Both my aunt and my cousin followed her path. They are both incredibly happy with their career choice, along with numerous other friends and colleagues I continue to meet who are kind enough to give me a window of access into their professional lives and calling.
I want to work for and with people I admire. In my experience, it is an excellent litmus test to determine where your skills and potential truly fit. I’m excited and humbled at the prospect of joining their ranks and becoming a nurse.