Tuesday, May 17, 2016

it seems like only yesterday we started (yes and no)

i started grad school 4 years and 4 months ago
i have taken off of school with the birth of both boys, so it's taken me a bit longer than most to complete the degree requirements
4 years have flown by (in relation to the growth of our family)
but dragged by (in relation to all things school)

well-it's been 5 months since i last blogged
the longest i've ever gone without posting
hopefully that will not happen again
 i am THRILLED to say...
i'm done with school!
in previous semesters, i have been able to keep up the blogging since most of my time was spent studying for tests, completing projects/my thesis, or writing other papers. the majority of that work could be completed while the boys slept- naptime, late nights, and (some) early mornings.
my clinical hours only required me to "work" 2 to 3 days per week.
this semester required an extra 200 hours of clinical time, so i had to "work" almost every day of the week. then study at night...leaving even less free time for blogging than previous semesters.

but we got it done.
and yes, i do mean "we"
there is no possible way that i could have done this on my own.
my mom has kept our boys more days than i could ever repay her for...and most often, last minute notice.
GT has been my unwavering source of encouragement.
the summer after i had Judson, I presented GT with a (i thought) sound argument for why I needed to quit school. My list of reasons was long and valid.
He listened, then responded with a stronger argument on why i needed to finish.
so, truly he is the reason i finished.
I graduated from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.
the nursing school campus is in Shreveport, so I actually never set foot on my new alma maters campus until graduation day. 

my wonderful parents, Mamaws, and in-laws all made the trip and ate a delicious lunch Merci Beaucoup before heading to graduation.
and GT brought a cookie cake, because he knows me and knows that cookie cake is my love language.

then, since we arrived early, we started the photo-taking extravaganza
the boys were big troopers through all of the driving, picture taking, and graduation ceremony
not to mention all of the hours i spent away from them for school...
love these crazy littles
my awesome mamaws
who sure know how to make a granddaughter feel loved and extra special
really, i can't say enough about our parents
besides their incredible support, prayers for me, care of the boys, encouragement...
they taught and showed me what it meant to work for something, trust in the Lord and not be anxious, have self-discipline, and not complain in the process (that's what they did, me not so much)

The physician who gave the commencement address made great effort to acknowledge the role of the Nurse Practitioner. He was incredibly supportive of NPs and wanted us to understand our worth and place in our medical community. 
He kept referring to us as "colleagues", so that we would really grasp the nature of the relationship between a NP and a physician. It really was great!

so, here is my closest "colleague"
my sis-in-law/bestie/Dr. Jamie Kirby
who has offered endless amounts of advice throughout school and will continue to do so as i learn my way around the role of provider
( currently incubating my newest nephew, Ben)
my sibs and nephews are the best! 
offering lots of encouragement along the way and always making me smile.

my sweet friend, Amy, who has been my study partner, encourager, motivator, and dear friend this past year. so thankful for her and our friendship that i pray will continue.

(perhaps all of this was taking a bit too long for some, ha!)
poor Roo just couldn't hang.
super big thanks to Grammy
and all grandparents who helped!!!
the university did not consult me when they scheduled graduation during his naptime
or my dads

my big support crew
actually, this is only part of the crew. 
this is the part that were able to make the trek to Natchitoches.
my gratitude for their love and support is enormous.
it is actually very humbling to know that this many people have sacrificed and prayed for me so that this could be possible.

since graduation, people are saying things like, "way to go", "that's awesome", "you're amazing, i could never do anything like that"
and besides "thank you", here is what i say to that. 
i'm not amazing. and yes you could.
actually, i'm really not even that smart. 
i was just taught to work really hard, realize and act upon the opportunity given to us, set big goals, and pray...a lot.
my family is extremely over-achieving...when my brother finishes his doctoral work next year, i will be surrounded by four Dr. Kirbys....4!!!!! and that's just my immediate family. 
i am also surrounded by great encouragers. people that know a little bit of hard work will not kill you and will actually (per Kelly Clarkson) make you stronger.

the Lord has given us more than we deserve on this earth
i am eternally grateful for the people that surround me 
and the sound mind, opportunities, and resources He has allowed me.
I do pray that I am a good steward of all of these things.

with that, i give you my 
Things I Learned in Nurse Practitioner School:
(the first 3 are more grad-school related, last 3 are more NP-specific)

1. Do not invest your time and money in an intensive program unless you are 1 million percent committed and have your village prepped and ready.
You can not do it alone, especially if you have children who need cared for (p.s. they all do).

2. Find friends that are in the same boat. 
I was OK with studying and doing schoolwork by myself. I do not prefer group work and like to do things on my own. Well, thankfully, some great people came my way and made the past few years more doable and definitely more fun (Rhonda, Tanasha, and Amy...love these girls)

3. You really actually seriously can do anything you set your mind to. It might take more work, more time, more money, more resources, more energy, more thinking than you originally thought- but, it can be done.

4. Do not substitute your Google search and Facebook findings for the years of education and clinical experience your provider received

5. No two providers will ever treat you the same. Of course, there are specific guidelines and protocols for specific disease processes/illnesses, but invariably one provider will give you a different treatment plan than another. This will include home care, medications, homeopathic remedies, diets, activity, etc. Find someone that you trust, who is your advocate, and will talk to you. 

6. Prevention is key. Take care of your body
            eat what’s good for you
            get up and move your body
            don’t drink too much
            don’t smoke (anything)
            get vaccinated
            drink water
            develop coping skills (see a therapist/counselor if you need to)


it's an odd feeling...this being done with school.
for the last 4 years, my books have been my constant companion.
always knowing that something is due hanging over my head.

i am very aware that people go to school, work, have families all of the time- i do.
so i know that this accomplishment is really not that out of the ordinary or deserving of additional praise, but it was a challenge for me.
and has had me a tad stressed/grumpy/irritable/not-fun/blah, of which i had not fully realized until the past week. my mom and GT have both made comments that they haven't seen me this playful/content/lighthearted (can't remember the exact words) in a while.
so, really...i'm back, baby.
(take that for what it's worth)

p.s. i'm thankful for other forms of social media, like Instagram and Snapchat (yes, i'm 17) to keep in the loop while my dear blog was neglected.
username: goodtimestaylor
if you care at all to keep up that way (high-five. over and out.)

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