Seven days. One week. 84 study hours left before the BIG exam. Of course I'm sick, and trying to stay as far away from a hospital as my profession practically INSISTS that I should. But I'm still keeping up on my wretched study schedule with frequent walk, Spark video workout or yoga break. The activity breaks are saving my sanity, though I wish they had done more for my physical well-being this past week.
One week. Heaven knows I've put in the work but heaven only knows if it has been enough to pass this extremely intimidating RN exam. One week and I'll know for sure.
In reflecting today on my current state, it occurred to me that Sparking has really led me to this point and I owe the tools and habits and *fabulous* community here a huge debt of gratitude for the success (fingers crosse) I currently enjoy.
Four years ago I was a "stay at home mom" (aka, unemployed, married to a house, professional volunteer). Today I'm nearly a nurse. It's been a very tough road - moving to a new city with two kids (kindergarten and grade 3 at the time!) and a husband trying to find his new way in the world. We've had many adventures and challenges so far, and I'm sure the adventures will never cease until I do. LOL, have you MET me? Oy.
So I went back to university - in my 40s, with two kids, in a new city. I finished my psychology degree and went on to graduate Nursing school near the top of my class with a major research thesis under my belt. Next week I take my RN licensing exam. Sometimes I look back at the last four years and wonder how it's all been possible.
Staring down the barrel of this massive educational undertaking, Spark friends encouraged me all the way. I used Spark People tools to set short and long term goals to achieve success. I used Spark People tools to add healthy elements (and survival mechanisms!) to my life. For example, last month I added a daily juiced meal to my routine, and this month daily yoga. I track my treadmill walks, which my Spark friends "like" which makes me feel proud and want to do some more... I track my meals and feel mindful and joyful not only when looking back on them, but also in preparing them. I even use Spark to track the hours I spend studying to ensure I'm on target with studying (falling behind would be a disaster considering the sheer, mind-blowing volume of material I've had to cover). Goals. Success. Joy. Mindfulness... What a wonderful combination.
Sometimes I get a bit down that I'm not at my goal weight yet, or that I still can't get back to running like I once did and I'm going a bit batty in the extreme isolation of studying 10-12 hours a day. But then I take a moment to see all the OTHER stuff I've accomplished, and the healthy framework in which it has been built, and I think; it will be fine. I can do it all. I just need to choose the priorities and use the right tools.
I'm still not extremely confident going into this exam, (this is an American nursing exam that my Canadian nursing education doesn't *quite* line up with... This is a long and controversial story. If you're curious, feel free to check out this news report www.theglobeandmail.com/
) but I'm getting sorted and I've got a week to sort out the few trouble spots.
Frankly, with the new testing format, I can put it off several more times without 'consequences' and there is great power in that - in NOT putting it off any more than is necessary, even though I technically COULD. I planned. I broke it down into bite sized bits. I executed the plan. It's cool! Thanks to the Spark-ly tools and techniques I've learned, I will go into this exam ready and choosing to be there.
Am I just trying to talk myself into this? Maybe. Is that a situation I'm satisfied with? Definitely. I'm just visualizing, and that's part of the process too, right?