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06 February 2014

Six things I learned six months after graduating from nursing school

1. Sometimes you just don't get so lucky.

Why do I say this? Because I graduated on an odd year (2013). And when you live on Guam, odd years meant license renewal for the already licensed workers. How does that impact my life six months after graduation? Well, already licensed professionals are the priority of the state board. If I do not get the state board's go signal to schedule my exam, then I cannot schedule my exam. Not taking the exam means not getting licensed, and not getting licensed means not earning money for what I studied for in college. I had to wait two to three months before I received a reply from the state board that authorized me to send a request for my authorization to test (ATT). That was two to three months of having zero income.

2. The NCLEX-RN exam is the hardest and trickiest test... ever.

I studied nursing for five years in college, then I reviewed for the NCLEX for six days per week for three months prior to taking the exam. When the time has come for me to take the exam, I still felt unprepared, and after I took the exam, I felt like I failed. I even cried after I took the exam. I spent so much time and money for the exam, and I thought it would be very disappointing and depressing if I failed it.

$60 - Saunder's book for reviewing content
$45 - Kaplan NCLEX-RN book for revising content and studying strategies
$360 - Kaplan On Demand program
$100 - test registration
$200 - NCLEX exam
And the incalculable amount I spent for coffee, tea, and food that I consumed when I was studying with my friends (5-6 times per week for 7-9 hours per day)

For someone who had to live off the money she saved during college, that was a lot of money.

3. Parents think after you graduate, you will automatically get a job... And make thousands of dollars.

I live in an American territory. This is the land where almost everyone thinks everyone could get a job. To everyone who thinks America is overflowing with jobs, you are mistaken. There are quite a number of minimum wage jobs, but trust me when I say this, you won't be able to live the American Dream if you're only earning minimum. I know this because in the six months that I was out of school, I experienced working for Macy's - the world's biggest shopping store (or so they say). I earned minimum ($7.25 per hour on Guam) by not being able to sit down for hours, hunting the storage room for demanding customers' shoes, and having shoes (boots sometimes) fall on my head when I try to reach for them. I would come home at night complaining of pain to my feet and legs. The work was so hard and the pay was so bad that I decided to quit my job at Macy's after two weeks.

4. Earning minimum wage sucks, and that could not be overemphasized.

As previously mentioned, I decided to work at Macy's to earn some money, while it did help pay for half of the amount that I'm supposed to pay for my car, I still believe it sucked. I felt little, mainly because my job dealt with people's feet. I don't have anything against customer service, but I felt like I was worth so much more than $7.25 an hour.

5. Going to New York for the first time is one of the best life experiences.

New York City is beautiful. I could hardly contain my excitement when our plane landed in NYC. I might not be able to experience everything a tourist must experience when traveling to NYC, but I am still amazed that I got to go and see NYC. Again, New York City is beautiful. Although, I probably would not want to live there.

6. Sometimes you just get too lucky.

You're probably wondering how I was able to go on two vacations in a span of six months. Well, I got lucky. I only had about $400 on me when I went on my first vacation (in Philippines), and I only had $200 when I went to NYC. My family had to pay for my plane tickets for me to go on vacation. And for that, I am very thankful. I might have done a little begging and working (had to carry my mom's bags when we went to NYC), but I think they were all worth it.

Another blessing that I received was I got an interview schedule on the (only) hospital that hires civilian nurses on Guam on the day I was coming back to Guam. The rest is history.