The end of my first official semester as a nursing student.

For those of you keeping track, today marks the one-year anniversary that I’ve been living in the Philippines. Two weeks after I moved here, I started school. Technically then, the semester that ended yesterday was my second semester as a nursing student – only it isn’t.

In the States, each school has its own curriculum, so that you may be an English major in School A and take a slew of classes not offered at School B. Also, States-side, undergraduates are given a list of classes to take, and, except for those requiring prerequisites, they may take the classes in any desired order.

Over here? Not so much. Undergraduate courses are regulated by the federal government, so that an English major in School A will take the same classes as an English major at School B. Also, some of the classes are exclusively offered during specific semesters, so if you missed out on the prerequisite to Nursing 101, guess what? You’re officially a year behind on graduating. [NOTE: I’m not sure if this is a national thing, or it’s something that my only school does.]

I happened to start school during the 2nd semester (aka Spring semester, for Americans), and thus I kind of started off-beat. This highlights the fact that no matter how many classes I take per semester, I’ll never graduate early. And that? Pisses me off on so. Many. Levels.

No matter how pissed off I get, though, I have to admit: Being a nursing student in the Philippines has been the most challenging academic experience of my life.

Not only do I have to adjust to a completely new way of studying/teaching/learning, but I also have to work out the science and math hemisphere of my brain, as opposed to the writing side. And those two things, combined? They’re hella hard. Believe it.

So maybe I beat myself up over the decision to become a nurse. Maybe I worry sometimes that it’s the wrong choice. Maybe I miss conducting meetings all day with clients, and doing dom sessions all the time. But this turn in the road? It makes me feel like I can do anything and do it well. For that, I’ll never regret it.

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