It seems so hard to believe that this time last year I had only just received an offer to study children’s nursing.
That offer came at the end of over 6 long months of university applications and unsuccessful interviews, when I had pretty much given up my dream of studying nursing at all that year and was preparing myself for a year of work and planning to start a nursing degree this year instead.
My offer came through a pretty amazing chain of events, and when I first received it, I could hardly believe it, and kept thinking that it couldn’t be true, that there must be some horrible mistake somewhere and that someone at my university would turn around and say, “Hey, what are you doing here? We made a mistake; you should never have been offered that place.” It took a couple of weeks of my course and several lectures for it actually to begin to sink in that I was at university studying nursing, just as I had prayed I would be able to do.
And now, a year later, I am looking back over my first year of nursing, complete with all the highs and lows of university life, all the difficulties and blessings. My heart is filled with thankfulness to the Lord for how He has helped me and led me and blessed me over this past year. He has blessed me richly, above all I could ask or think and has shown me how His plan is better than anything I could ever have imagined for myself.
My first year has not always been easy. I have to be honest – there were moments when I came to the point where I actually asked myself why I ever thought this university thing was something I could do. There were times when I thought “I can’t do this, let alone ever make a good nurse.” Among the many blessings, I have struggled with many things over the past year. For example…
There was the adjustment of living away from home for the first time ever, which was especially hard for someone who had only ever been away from their family for four days at a time before, and that only once or twice.
There were the difficulties I had in overcoming my shyness and making friends with the other students at university.
There was the struggle with working out how I personally fitted in at university as someone who had been homeschooled from the very start and had never been to school or college before going to university.
There was the loneliness – I missed my family and discovered that university housemates are not the same as family, at least not for someone as family-centred as I was.
There were the questions I encountered as soon as I emerged from my sheltered little cocoon and faced the real world: What was it right for me to do as a Christian student ? What music could I listen to? What clothes could I wear? What could I do in my spare time? Why did I believe what I do?
There was the struggle with my lack of confidence and my at times not-so-brilliant communication skills.
And then on the other hand, so many blessings…
There was the blessing of meeting with other Christian students through the university Christian union and discovering that even though we often came from very different church backgrounds, we shared the same faith.
There has been the blessing of my new church while at university, which has become like a second family to me – without their support and love, I trully do feel I wouldn’t have made it through my first year at times.
There were the blessings of friendships begun, despite my personal struggles in that area.
There was the blessing of being finally able to pursue my dream and study children’s nursing, learning both in lectures at university and in my practical placements where I worked with children and their families.
There has been the blessing of knowing the Lord’s help in my studying, helping me through each of my assignments and exams.
There was the blessing of receiving really positive feedback from some of the families I worked with on my placements.
And the list could go on.
It has been such a full and blessed year, one in which I have grown so much, grown from being a shy, nervous, and insecure teenager to being a much more confident, albeit still shy and at times insecure twenty-year-old (nearly twenty-something-year-old). That sentence probably doesn’t make much sense – suffice to say, although I still struggle with the old shyness and insecurity at times, I am so much more confident that I was this time last year. Yes, I have so much to be thankful for!
“Oh give thanks unto the LORD; for he IS good: because his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 118:1)