Five years ago, I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Cebu Doctors’ University. Similar to other universities that offered the course all over the country, hundreds of us graduated. Back then, taking up Nursing was considered the golden ticket to greener pastures. There was no wonder why everyone seemed to be in it.
When I was growing up, becoming a nurse never crossed my mind. Although I came from a medically oriented family, I have always wanted to be a teacher or a journalist. In 2006 like many other teenagers, I was forced to choose a college course. It wound down to a decision of being practical, Nursing, or pursuing my passion, Journalism.
I admit – I was young and naive. My aunt who worked at Stanford Hospital painted a very beautiful picture of a nurse’s life. In order to avoid all the questions and debates about my future, I finally gave in.
My four years of Nursing at CDU was a whirlwind journey and a rollercoaster of emotions. It felt like going on a rollercoaster ride without being able to properly fasten the seatbelt. I was used to a hard student life, but Nursing was incredibly challenging in the most inexplicable ways. I still consider it as one of the most terrifying periods in my life, yet it was also very exciting and fulfilling.
We had long class hours. Our notes were enough to make you go crazy. Whenever I see my piles of old lesson plans, I’m still amazed at how much a person can physically write. We had to juggle hospital and community duty with classroom lectures. Endure many sleepless nights to complete our requirements. No matter how tired we were, we had to do it with smiles and positivity for our patients. When I passed Post-test 1 (a grueling test everyone has to take with a passing percentage of 80%), I was the definition of relief and happiness. But Nursing is not just tests and technical knowhow, it’s a calling, a responsibility, and most importantly, it’s a privilege.
But I was once again caught in a crossroads. I found myself torn on sticking to my profession or finally chasing my passion. At that time, it was difficult to land a good nursing job because there were too many of us. Some were even willing to pay to work in hospitals just for the training and experience. When I received a job offer, I wasn’t overjoyed. I was just relieved knowing that if I wanted to really pursue my profession, I could. I then took a leap of faith and listened to my gut. I was brave enough to finally give up my white uniform and walk to a path full of uncertainty. Despite my family being against the rebellious idea and many friends and colleagues saying it was a stupid move to let go of the opportunity, I stuck to what I believed in. Deep inside, I was scared of the unpredictability, but I told myself, I would never look back.
The next few years were spent trying to figure out what I really wanted to do. I wanted to prove to myself it was possible to be practical, but at the same time, to be able to do what I really want. I took many risks, cried a thousand times and hit rock bottom. There were many instances when I questioned myself. What the heck did I get myself into? I am truly proud of the fact that I was fearless and crazy enough to go through it all.
Fast forward to today, I became an Operations Manager at the age of 25. Humble brag because I didn’t know it was possible to achieve it at this age. On the side, I write about food, lifestyle and stories such as this. I couldn’t be more grateful to have the opportunity to work with people from different walks of life.
I still don’t know where I’m going, but I only know one thing for sure – I am where I am meant to be. Giving up my white uniform didn’t take the nurse out of me. It didn’t make me less of a nurse. It only made me realize that nursing is truly about having a heart that cares and a hand that helps.
One of the main reasons I wrote this is because I want to tell anyone who is caught in uncertainty that when the people around you fill your mind with doubts, find the security within you. Live for yourself and not for what other people expect of you. To those who feel like they failed at their profession because they decided not to practice it for whatever reason, I want to tell you that brave people go after what they want and great people find ways to get there. Be fearless my friend. Florence Nightingale herself said, “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.”