Submitted by Renee Canada
January 2010

nursing_itemsThe excitement in the air was practically tangible. Renee had been accepted into the University of Memphis nursing program and her list of things to take care of before classes began that fall seemed endless. There was perhaps a touch of nervousness as well; college. nursing school. It was her first significant step towards adulthood. It only seemed natural for her friend to be there at her side.

First stop, the scrub store where she was fitted for her very own scrubs. She purchased the necessary materials and they headed for the University bookstore on campus. It was there that she picked up her stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, pen light, scissors and more. Her anticipation became overwhelming. She really was about to start nursing school! Reality crept in as she was standing at the register watching the total continue to grow. Wow, that was a lot of money. Renee began to question whether or not she was really ready for such a commitment. She knew nursing school would not be easy. Could she really do it?

As she attempted to push those feelings aside she noticed the manager of the bookstore approaching her and her friend. He asked them if they would be interested in a 2 week job at the bookstore. It would only be at the beginning of the semester when they were at their busiest. The girls looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and replied, “Why not?”

They followed the manager over to the lounge area so they could fill out the application. Renee placed her newly purchased supplies down at her feet, pulled out a pen and began to write. She was suddenly distracted as she felt a very light brush on her arm. She glanced over and realized there wasn’t anyone there. Renee couldn’t explain it but she immediately thought about her grandmother. All her worries and hesitations about school were gone. There was a definite sense of peace, and the anxiety that had begun to build inside her dissipated in the blink of an eye. She went back to the task at hand and completed the application.

Renee finally made it home after her very busy day, ready to show off all her new supplies to her mother and father. Of course, they were very proud of their daughter and the conversation revolved around her preparations for school. Later that evening as dinner was being prepared Renee’s father looked at her and said, “You know, today is the anniversary of your grandmother’s passing. It was eight years ago today.” Renee felt the chill bumps as she recalled the brush on her arm earlier. She just knew it was her grandmother!

Growing up, Renee had been very close to her grandmother. She would spend the night with her all the time. They did a lot together including watching Shirley Temple movies and The Wizard of Oz. Another fond memory was her grandmother’s Christmas tree. She remembered it being so bright and beautiful. Renee always felt special when she was with her grandmother so, of course, it was a difficult loss for a twelve year old little girl to go through. But here she was eight years later about to start nursing school and she felt in her heart that her grandmother would be very proud of her as well.

Renee’s first semester proved difficult. She knew it was going to be hard but not this hard. She had decided not to take the job at the bookstore but continued with her part-time job that she already had. She discovered that juggling work and studies just wasn’t going to work for her. Her grades suffered and she found herself with no other choice than withdrawing from school. Contemplating whether or not nursing was for her, she decided to take a semester off.

In January, just three days before the new semester was to begin, she had a sudden urge to get back in school. She had been feeling very down and struggled with her decision to sit out a semester. She had to go back. She knew she could do this.

Two weeks into the spring semester Renee quit her job and devoted herself to her studies. Her grades improved and she began passing all her classes. As Renee found herself at the end of her second semester of the program, she never imagined she would actually make it this far. She will never forget that simple brush on her arm. It was as if her grandmother was sitting right there saying, “Don’t you give up Renee. You can do it.” She silently thanked her grandmother for believing in her and providing her with that little push of encouragement.