Archive for January, 2008

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Aw, come on!

28 January 2008

The Bobs are playing with me. My offer from BC had soothed the general frustration about UW, and I had actually started to feel relief about not having to pay for/take those classes this spring. Decided I would just wait to hear from Yale, and then Bob willing, have the choice between Yale and BC, likely choosing Yale.

Got my letter from UW. Yes, on the waitlist. Yawn, quelle surprise. To justify my preemptive decision to give up on UW, I emailed Patrick and asked what spot I’m holding on the waitlist for AOANP.

I’m first.

Son of a biscuit. 

Anatomy starts at Harvard tomorrow night, but I haven’t even registered. I guess I could start that class and wait on orgo a bit longer… just in case? But, honestly, what are the odds that the person who was offered the sole AOANP spot at the top nursing school in the country is going to turn it down? And whoever they are, they have until the end of March to decide.

If you’re out there, admitted AOANP, please tell me your plans! And anyone else out there, feel free to share your opinions. Cause I have no idea what the hell I’m gonna do now.

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Praise Bob.

26 January 2008

I received an offer of admission from the Boston College Connell School of Nursing. Woot. They also claim I’m one of their “top applicants” and are thus offering me 9 credits worth of tuition remission, close to $9000 worth. Which is significant — nothing like taking 30% off that first year bill. Although it’s not really clear what the comprehensive fee is, or really how long this program’s supposed to take. The pre-licensure period is only 11 months (eek) and the specialty portion appears to only be two semesters plus a class or two — so the whole thing only takes 2 years as opposed to everyone else’s three?  Total of 70 credits, about 1K a credit. I guess I’m not finding the whole thing very clear from reading online, and they didn’t send me anything but the letter, but now… I probably should try and figure this out, huh?

They also have a very impressive scholarship for geriatric nurses from one of the local LTC/rehab providers out here — $25,000 they pay of your BC tuition for every two years you give them post-grad. I have to figure out if I can apply as a pre-RN.  25k and a guaranteed job in your specialty, not really a bad gig.

BC’s considered to be the best nursing school in the state, probably second only to Yale in all of New England. But I really only applied because 95% of the nurses I’ve worked with here or been seen by clinically went there — if I plan on staying in MA, it seems to be a big network and a major advantage. However, they do have a concentration in palliative care, which I’m very interested in, and if the program really is both shorter and cheaper than Yale, I will seriously consider it.

Overwhelming sigh of relief. I could cry with joy. No matter what else does or doesn’t come through, I will start nursing school this year!

And now, back to sleep — if I can!

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Or… Saturday…

26 January 2008

Worked the overnight, had breakfast with a friend, went to the orthodontist, ran some errands, got home at noon ready to get eight hours rest. Woke up at 1530, checked the mail (still nothing from BC, christ)… and was completely incapable of getting back to sleep. How lame is that? Ugh, so tired.

So I’m going to get through tonight’s shift only through the grace of several stimulant-containing beverages and whatever hijinks the Friday night ED crowd brings in. It ain’t been too pretty so far…

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No news is bad news…

24 January 2008

Serious congrats to cev for getting offered admission to UW in the ACNP track. Well done, it’s a great school and getting in is quite the accomplishment!

I did *not* get a call from Patrick, which I can only assume means I wasn’t the lucky AOANP. Which is completely expected and not a huge deal. What I still need to know as soon as possible is where I am on that infernal wait-list. Classes start next week, and unless I’m #2 or get a rejection from BC tomorrow, I’m not going to spend $2k on my outstanding UW prereqs. Cause Uncle Sam already has dibs on that.

Yeah, so the BC decision apparently went out Tuesday. Considering I live about a mile from the school, that letter really ought to arrive tomorrow. I have some major doubts about getting into BC, since I wasn’t sure my prereqs completely aligned with theirs, but no one ever contacted me to tell me that my courses wouldn’t fly.  So who knows. 

Until tomorrow.

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The wrong side of the tracks

23 January 2008

I’ve been known to talk a little trash about New Haven in the past. I remember reading “Campus Lightbulb Jokes” when I was a 15-year old high school student and I’ve never forgotten Yale’s version: 

How many Yale students does it take to change a lightbulb?
None. New Haven looks better in the dark.

Har, har! But for all the times I’ve called it ‘a pit’, I have been hoping recently that now my jokes are way out-of-date or that I’m being overly snobbish. Times must have changed, I haven’t been there in years, what do I know? Chris has been at Yale for two years and seems to have survived without much complaint, says there are some good bars and restaurants downtown.  They have a nice big Ikea, and the train station’s reasonably clean, right? Right.

So I went to New Haven. Visited the nursing school, talked with students, faculty, had my interview and made a ton of small talk. Everyone I met at Yale was friendly and welcoming. Unfortunately, everyone I met at Yale was also very quick to make sure that I wasn’t out walking around New Haven by myself. In fact, at 230 in the afternoon, when I was ready to leave the nursing school (which is across the highway from downtown/the rest of campus and surrounded by a very tall iron fence) to walk the quarter-mile to the aforementioned train station, the friendly security guard told me that I would be okay as long as I stayed on “this side” of the street.

I’ve lived in Boston for close to seven years, where I have been the victim of one mugging downtown and one act of larceny at my place of work. I lived west of Tenth Avenue in midtown Manhattan for a summer, in a neighborhood affectionately referred to as “Hell’s Kitchen”, and I had one very unpleasant experience on a crowded 1-9 train headed uptown. But I don’t think that I can say that I’ve ever lived in a place where I didn’t feel comfortable walking around at night.

Yale’s a great school with a great reputation. I really like their nursing school and I could definitely see myself enjoying being a student there. But I’ve spent the last two years in this beautiful town of Brookline, Mass., where the mailman can leave a package on my doorstep and it will still be there 12 hours later.  So I really need someone to explain to me why it’s going to cost me MORE to rent a studio in New Haven… especially if I can’t leave it after dark without a car or a call to the campus shuttle.

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Could use a little good news… anytime…

20 January 2008

Still no word from UW, BC, MGH. 

Yale’s priority deadline for financial aid is Feb 1. So, the FAFSA must be filed by then. But my taxes are kind of complicated because of the two jobs, so I really need to do a lot of that math to complete the FAFSA accurately. But, of course, I don’t have any W-2s or 1099s or anything yet. So I went digging and came up with some numbers on my own, and started doing the 1040 math to get my AGI for the FAFSA. And that’s where it all went to hell.

I don’t make a whole lot at the hospital. Especially relative to the cost of living in the city. I got a raise in May when I switched jobs, but after another two months, our funding was cut and I went down to part-time. Since September, I was just getting by on 24 hours at that job and what I get from the nonprofit for anywhere from 12-20 hours a week. The problem with the nonprofit is that although they pay me the same hourly rate that I get at the hospital, they don’t want to put me on the payroll — meaning that I am then a self-employed independent contractor who’s solely responsible for the full 15% of the federal taxes on my earnings.

So although I made almost exactly the same amount I made last year, since more of it came from the nonprofit, I will pay over a grand more in taxes than I did last year. And since none of that was withheld, I will owe the feds well over 2K, probably a few hundred to the state as well. Needless to say, I don’t have it.  

So much for renewing my gym membership.

Eventually the nausea began to subside and I filed my FAFSA… and was given an EFC of almost 8K! Sure, yeah, right, that seems doable for a single person in school full-time with no assets or savings. Jesus Christ.

The Pats better hang on for the win here, that’s all I gotta say.

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Jet-lag

11 January 2008

I’m not sure if I’m actually jet-lagged or just exhausted and getting sick.

In the last forty-eight hours:
I have spent 12 hours in flight between here and Seattle,
I have consumed three servings of Airborne or its CVS-brand equivalent,
I have been drenched by pouring rain on two different coasts, and
I have had my first nursing school interview. 

The interview was fine. Not great, not terrible, but fine. I was generally impressed with the other candidates, the faculty and staff were extremely welcoming, Seattle was gray and drizzly but relatively likable. The UW campus is beautiful, and everyone I met there was all Left-Coasty, which is to say laid-back and very friendly. Lots of coffee and creative facial hair.  Mark fit in perfectly.

The group interview thing was still a bit odd, but my cohort of applicants had spent an hour together in the lunch session, so that did a fair bit to reduce the jitters. All four of us had traveled a fair distance — Chicago, Phoenix, Texas, and Boston. There was one other candidate in my interview applying for my specialty, the Texan. She and I got along immediately, which is unfortunate, as she and I will never see each other again.

Because there is only ONE SLOT open for a candidate in Adult/Older Adult NP.  We learned this after the interview from the program coordinator. He was kind enough to give the group the stats for our respective programs. The other two were about 50% or a little better — about what you would expect, twice as many finalists for the number of openings. But the other aspiring geriatric NP and I learned that there were 30 applicants for AOANP, seven finalists, and one opening.

I wish I had a video of our reaction.  We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  All of this work, aggravation, travel, and stress… for only ONE of us to get in?  Why didn’t they tell us that before? If we had known the odds were so slim, would we have bothered coming all the way across the country? We wandered out in the rain mumbling to each other about it being time for a drink.

It’s clear in hindsight that they were putting the two of us head-to-head in the interview, and I wish that would’ve crystallized in my brain going in. But it’s just not in my nature to size people up that way — I didn’t think to myself, “She’s your competition, you need to come out of this stronger than she does” — and my naivete may have hurt me. But I didn’t get the impression that the other candidate was out for blood either. It’s an interesting scenario — this was a case where some amount of competitive strategy would have been helpful, but I don’t think that came naturally to either of us. Yes, this is a competitve program, but the instincts of a person who wants to be a nurse taking care of the elderly may, in fact, be a bit different than your prospective CEOs applying to Harvard Business.  

So that’s the story. I’m not seeing a return trip to Seattle in my future. And I don’t think I’m being overly negative. I just don’t think that I really did much to distinguish myself as *the* exceptional candidate out of seven finalists. And it’s very possible that my fellow interviewee and I were merely vying for the next-to-last spot on the waitlist.

And don’t get me started on why there is only one AOANP opening in a program of this caliber when there is such a constant need for geriatric practitioners…