Photo created by Erika Walton || @ownyourpath_

I’ve always been the work hard to get what you want type of girl. I have always believed that if I put in the work, no matter how hard it may be, I can achieve my hopes and dreams. This mindset has propelled me toward success in many aspects of my life. The biggest, most life changing achievement of mine was graduating nursing school with my BSN in nursing.

I went to York College of Pennsylvania for my undergrad studies in Nursing. To say nursing school was a challenge is an understatement. So why did I stick with it? Because I had this powerful inner drive to succeed. I knew I wanted a career where I would ultimately ALWAYS be able to support myself. This goes along with another mindset of mine where I believe that at the end of the day, you have to be okay with yourself. You have to be able to create your own happiness and also for security purposes, be able to support yourself. Failure was not an option for me and I was willing to put in the work to ensure my success.

I studied. I practiced. I studied some more. I don’t think I have ever made so many note cards in my life. When I got discouraged or felt like I just couldn’t go on, I would play a playlist I created on my nano ipod. Talk about old school. This playlist was titled inspiration and it included songs that inspired me to keep pushing on; to give it my all. I listened to it on bad days, on walks to class where I would sit for a tough exam, or on days when I had a big clinical skill test. This playlist was a reminder that I had it in me to succeed when I couldn’t find the encouragement from within.

I’ll never forget my first nursing school exam. I was so nervous. It was the first real nursing exam of my college career. It was given in a format that would prepare me for the nursing license exam I would be required to pass following graduation before I could practice as a registered nurse. It was new. It was so scary. I had a mentor at the time and I remember reaching out to her for any and all tips she could share with me. I studied and studied some more. When test day came, I put in my headphones and turned on that little blue nano ipod blasting my inspiration playlist. I told myself, I’ve got this, over and over and over again.

I walked into class that day and I was terrified. I looked at the test the instructor handed to me and wanted to cry but I didn’t. I pushed through. I tried my best. Just a few days later, we were getting our results back in class. Prior to releasing our grades to us, the instructor stood at the front of the classroom and shared with us the class average, the highest score and the lowest score of the test. The lowest score was a 66%. The lowest score of my class was mine. I was mortified. I was so sad. I felt defeated. As I walked out of the classroom with tears in my eyes, the instructor pulled me aside and said, “maybe nursing just isn’t the career for you.”

In that moment, I knew that instructor was beyond wrong. I was meant to be there. I was meant to struggle that day and I was meant to come out on the other side more determined than ever. That experience was meant to propel me further toward my success. It was not easy by any means. It did not feel good at all but it motivated me in a way I had never been motivated before. And so from that day on, I continued to work hard, to study hard, to believe in myself, and to blare the hell out of that inspirational playlist on that nano ipod.

I must have done something right because that same instructor that told me I may have chosen the wrong career, was the same instructor who performed my induction ceremony into the national honor society for nursing, Sigma Theta Tau. From that day forward, I truly believed that I could do anything I set my mind to. I knew that if I was determined enough, if I was kind enough to myself to give myself a chance — I would make it.

Photo created by Erika Walton || @ownyourpath_

I graduated with my BSN with the honor society cords around my neck on May 14, 2011. In the Fall of 2012, I began my masters program for my MSN in Nursing Education because I wanted to be a light for those who had a dream and wanted to succeed but needed that extra little bit of encouragement. I wanted to help others in my profession of nursing. I wanted to use my role as a nurse educator to help others build up their confidence, to learn new material and to care for patients and make a difference in their lives. I wanted to teach so that I could motivate, inspire, nurture and empower nursing students and/or nurses at the bedside.

I have been a nurse educator now for six years and I have had the honor and the privilege to help others succeed on their path to their dreams. How cool is that!?

So I may not have realized it back in 2007 when I started my freshmen year at York College, but I now realize that my path’s mine. Every little aspect, every little bump in the road, every tear, every success and every failure has led me to where I am at today and I am so proud of my commitment to my dreams over the years.

I look back on my life, on my career path and on the hopes and dreams I have had through the years and I realize that everything has led me here. Prior to wanting to go to nursing school, I wanted to go to Columbia University to be a journalist. I LOVED writing. In fact, I wrote for the local newspaper in high school. While I didn’t end up at Columbia or living in NYC writing for one of my favorite pop culture magazines, I did make it here to this blog.

This blog is my passion project. This blog is something I have always wanted to create but was so scared to do. Over the last few months, I’ve been reminded about what motivates, inspires, nurtures and empowers me. I’ve learned about manifesting and positive self talk. I’ve learned the importance of going for your dreams and crushing your goals without needing the approval of others. From all of the lessons I’ve learned, the most important is self-love and my self-love has grown exponentially in the last three months. Self-love has given me the strength and ability to pursue my passion and to share my passion project with you.

Photo created by Erika Walton || @ownyourpath_

As I move forward on my path and with this project, I commit to listening to my intuition and to following my own path the way I want to navigate it without judgement. I committed to myself and my professional nursing career the day that professor told me that I may want to reconsider my career and I am committing to myself and my dream for this blog here today.

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