The adult student

The hardest job I have ever encountered in my life is my job as a mother.  Next to being a mother, the most difficult task I have right now is being a mother and a student.  My life has never been so demanding as it is at this very moment.

I long to be the 18 and 19 year old in my class who can donate every minute to studying.  I wish I could have the 4.0 grade point average that so many of my fellow classmates maintain.  The truth is, I am not sure how many adult college students with families and jobs can achieve such high standards.  There is immense pressure in nursing school to get good grades in very difficult classes.

In the nursing program that I am enrolled in, a 78% is a C and anything below this is failing.  The standards are set very high and nothing less is acceptable.  I totally agree with the standards.  Nursing is a field that requires much medical knowledge and skill.  However, sometimes I feel as if these programs are not very accommodating to the adult student.  For example, there are little to almost no classes in our program that are offered in the evening.  This makes it difficult for us parents who have little ones at home, or 9-5 jobs during the day.

In addition, I cannot tell you how many professors have told me that you should not be working and school should be your only priority.  True, but how is this realistic?  The truth is, it is not realistic.  Many people rely on their jobs alone to pay for classes and to put food on the table.

In tough economic times, the enrollment rate at our university is at an all time high.  This semester, registration was closed to new students because the school had reached full capacity.  More and more people are looking to college because education is almost essential in surviving in today’s world.  Most married couples have to work just to make ends meet these days.

The amount of adult students in our nursing program is not surprising.  At least 30-40% of the students in my class are married and have children.  When speaking with other adult students about their experiences, they too feel the strain as well.  It is difficult to  balance family, work, and school.  Difficult it is, but not impossible.

I just sometimes feel that there should be more accommodations made for students, but that takes resources.  Resources require money and universities and programs are very specific as to what money goes where.  I guess we will just have get through it together!

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Megan Gilbert

My name is Megan Gilbert. I am a 29-year-old third year nursing student at Purdue University Calumet. I have been married to my wonderful husband Scott for eight years and we have two beautiful boys; Reece and Mason. We currently reside in Northwest Indiana in the town of Schererville, which is about 40 minutes outside of Chicago. I love spending quality time with my family and l also enjoy singing with my local church. In addition, one of my favorite things to do in my down-time is blog and read blogs.

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6 Responses to The adult student

  1. Oh, Meg…
    It’s hard. Very hard. Very, very hard. But one day, not that far in the future, it will be said and done and you will be so glad you did it. Made it. Because you will. Promise.

  2. Emily Miller

    I too am an adult nursing student. I never thought that the idea of living with my parents would sound like a vacation. Unfortunately that’s not an option for me, as my parents live in another state. I have to keep my job, pay my bills, AND pull good grades in a challenging program.

    Good luck to you. We’re so close, and we’ll be better people as a result of having to work a little harder.

  3. Elisabeth

    I agree, it’s really not realistic when we get told not to work and to make studying our only priority. At the moment I have uni 5 days a week, so really only could do one night shift per week if I wanted to, but luckily I don’t have to because my husband works. The thing that gets to me if when I have to 4 week stretches of clinical placement, where we don’t get paid, have to pay for parking, and in the case of one of my friends have to actually pay for the privilege ($50 a day at for 4 weeks at a children’s hospital!). I can’t imagine how hard it would be for students who are forced to work to pay for food, bills etc.

  4. Anne

    I believe it is there way of separating the the students; people there took make money with no interest in protecting or educating patients, and those that have a true desire to care for the failing population….. There are many in the work force today that absolutely can not stand people who will not take care of themselves or know better than to do something so harmful; and those that just want to make the others pain stop….If we are to dedicate our virtues and life to this profession then a better challenge must be presented to separate the nurturing teachers from the relievers and those for riches/paingiving

  5. Cyndi reid

    Everything you’ve described is absolutely 100% TRUE. When I started nursing school, I was orking full-time, but knew that my company would soon be down-sizing and thus I would be out of a job. I had mixed feelings about it at the time, but now I realize it was for the best! Do I miss the money?? Sure, because unemployment is paltry compared to what I was making. Nevertheless, I would NOT be able to continue nursing school AND work full-time. I know of students who are but they either have no kids or their Children are nearly grown. Nursing school is challenging in any case but I believe it will all be worth it once we complete the program! Best of luck to you..I know you will make it (me too :)!

  6. Sara

    I, too, was an adult nursing student with a family and an extremely hectic schedule. However, I am living proof that it is completely possible to excel in every aspect of one’s life while fulfilling all necessary obligations. Although it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, I managed to graduate Summa Cum Laude with every honor I could obtain–all without ever once missing a single school, sports, or church event with my family. I am truly glad that I had no idea how hard it would all be, as I would probably have never attempted it. As it stands, I have a tremendous sense of accomplishment which no one can ever take from me. My story is not provided as gloating–but as a testimony that it can, indeed, be done & done excellently. The singular ingredient required is absolute, unfailing determination in the face of all the stress. Nurses, after all, are unstoppable!