On April 3rd, 2012, my world was shaken. My family needed me and I needed them. I booked a one way ticket to Miami and called up a friend (and fellow ABSN student) to help me get through this. She was at my door in 10 minutes, re-booked my plane ticket (I apparently booked one for May 9th because my head was a mess), helped me pack, brought me to the airport, and tried to get me to eat some dinner. This amazing friend was the reason I was able to be back with my family in a matter of hours.
I spent the next 13 days with my family holding one hand, my other hand making calls to different businesses and agencies. I managed to figure out my parent’s financial standing, assets, and liabilities. I managed to plan full days of heart-wrenching events. I managed my feelings, thoughts, and emotions. For 13 days, I did not think about nursing.
But that doesn’t mean that Hopkins was far from my thoughts. At the airport, I got in contact with one professor and explained my situation. She offered to handle letting my other professors know that I would be back in Miami and not at school for a while. She comforted me, let me know that my family comes first, and that school will be there whenever I get back.
On day two, another student, who unfortunately has recently been in a similar situation as mine, emailed me some words of hope and encouragement. Her and I did not know each other well prior to this time. But she still helped me through emails and text messages, one of my favorite lines she told me was “Scream if you feel like it, cry when you need to, don’t feel guilty for smiling.”
I was nervous about what my other professors would say about me missing my exams and clinical days. When I heard from them, I was not being asked for my return date, they instead offered their help. A few days later, faculty such as the dean of academic affairs and the director of the BSN program sent me and email or gave me a call. Their first concern was that I was emotionally ok. They waited until I was ok to discuss my academic standing.
My academic advisor turned into a friend. She checked in on me and assisted me in asking for a Transitions placement close to home.
Then, around day eight I received flowers, hand-delivered, from the Marketing and Communications department, where I do my work-study. The flowers brightened up my day and I took a well-deserved break from making phone calls to find a proper place for them in the house.
Throughout my time in Miami, I received text messages, phone calls, and Facebook messages from other Hopkins nursing students. They assured me that they’ll help me with getting back on track when I return with notes and study guides. Many called to simply ask me how I was doing. One person texted me when she put in her first catheter, and we celebrated via text message together. It was a joy to take my mind off of bills and family for a few minutes.
On the day I came back to Baltimore, a friend from work picked me up at the airport and drove me home on her day off. The same wise-words student from before brought me to the grocery store since she figured everything in my fridge would be spoiled – it was.
One of the wonderful women at Jay’s Cafe brought me a little Filipino candy and gave me a huge hug although she is a very tiny woman.
Other students stopped by and brought me notes, emailed me their recordings from class, tutored me, and most importantly, gave me many hugs.
Today, I received a handwritten note from the Dean, also offering her help.
It was difficult being away from my family the first day I came back, but on the second day I realized that I had another family here in Baltimore as well. The Hopkins family is helping me heal. That’s what a community of nurses does best.
Last night at the accepted student’s day happy hour, I answered a few questions about where to live, where to eat, etc. Some asked about the classes and clinicals, and they all ask “what’s the one thing you wish you knew before you started?” By the way, the answer is, bring a car. But I wanted to stand on a table at the restaurant and say why you should really come to Hopkins. However, due to me not being inebriated, I held back and instead resorted to this, my online soapbox. Come to Hopkins because they care. “They” involves the students, faculty, staff, security guards, Jay’s cafe employees, maintenance, etc. And they will have your back. I wouldn’t wish my experience upon anyone, but because of it, I have seen the Hopkins family at its finest. So take my word for it, they’re an amazing family to be a part of.