Hello, can you hear me?

December 06 2015

Don't deny it, you've also had Adele's song stuck in your head since the day it was released.

Of course, I left this submission to the last possible minute which means that you're about to read a stream of thoughts that go through my mind on a daily basis. Thinking of something worthy to say to an audience this large is...daunting, to say the least. But then again, who determines worth, and should I even care? That's thought #1.

I'm a senior nursing student. This is my last year of school before I enter the "real world" where my decisions, I've been told, suddenly become super important. This leads me to thought #2: what the heck am I going to do with my life? I mean, I know I'm going to be a nurse, which I'm really excited about, but I don't want my career to dictate who I am. The decision of where to move after I graduate is overwhelming. I can literally go anywhere...any suggestions? I feel like my life up until this point has just been a huge preparation for this moment. And yet, thought #3, I feel like I don't know a thing.

During my time in college, I have learned how easily we box each other, and ourselves, in to fit certain criteria/explanations in our brains. When I first started college, I was in over my head. I struggled to succeed, letting myself fuel my own misinformed perceptions about how poorly I must have been doing compared to everyone else. I kept myself in that box for a long time, and let my perceptions of others' expectations of me tighten that box even more. This led to my feeling inadequate a lot of the time-- academically, socially, religiously, you name it. I often felt like I wasn't meeting certain standards (who set them, I never really knew). I only recently learned that I wasn't the only one who had the same concerns and negative self-perceptions, just no one talked about it (google New York Times article on the Penn Face-- those struggles are real). I still somehow managed to stay afloat, but most of the time it felt like I was drowning in my perceived inabilities. Over time, with a lot of help and sleep (clinicals = sleep deprivation), I've gained some clarity. Which leads me to thought #5, something I tell myself every day: Keep perspective. A lot easier said than done. The society I live in sets the stakes really high, and the pressures are looming everywhere. Thought #6: What does it mean to be successful? After all, doesn't everyone just want to be happy? Thought #7: What does it mean to be happy? Thought #8: I guess I'll figure it out. Thought #9: The world is a freaking scary place right now: are our foci misguided?

Thought #10: I joined an a cappella group this year. Best decision I have made in my college career. I'm honestly just grateful that they took me even though I'm a senior! The Shabbatones (yes, we love Jewish puns) are not only talented, but they have become my family. I don't mind that we practice 6 hours a week with crazy schedules, because I love every second of it and it makes all my stress melt away, which is pretty magical for me.

Shout out to Orly Arbit for introducing me to the Listserve!
Thanks for letting me rant, World!

Chana Shechter
[email protected]
Philadelphia, PA

P.S. Anyone work in women's health/midwifery? Just applied to a masters program, and would love to talk to you about your experience!

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