Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chest Pains

This is the start of a new blog, and I'll update with back story as we get further along. But for now, I'd just like to get a post on the books.

Wednesday in my nursing concepts course, the Dean of the nursing school dropped by. She was there to relay information that the nursing school has changed their application process, and instead of submitting a writing sample, the HESI A2 exam would be used to assess verbal and written communication skills. This wasn't news to me as I'd already taken the HESI as a part of my application process for Spring 2009. The exam did not prove strenuous and thankfully I scored very well. Apparently however, there were 4 applicants for the Spring 2009 class that did not take the exam during the appointed times, and thus their application was incomplete. Since ours is the first applying class to use the HESI, the nursing school has made arrangements to allow those 4 students to take the exam anyway, though the deadlines are past. I'm not sure I agree with that--the nursing school did send two letters and numerous emails about the HESI, but I suppose compassion is the best policy. Especially if I were one of the 4.

Anyway, during her 5 minute spiel, the Dean mentioned that interview letters for the Spring 2009 applying class had been mailed two days earlier, on Monday. Sitting in my seat, I got goosebumps. I knew that this could very well mean that if I were selected for an interview, my letter was probably sitting in our mailbox at that very moment. I had to strongly resist the urge to gather my things and slip out.

Alas, when I arrived home, there was no letter in my mailbox.

Now, for perspective, I live about 10 miles from school, in the same town. Mail usually travels within the city in one day. Mailed on Monday would have a strong possibility of being delivered on Tuesday, and almost positively by Wednesday. Stretching to Thursday was unusual, but not beyond the scope of imagination.

Thursday afternoon the mail arrived. No letter.

At this point I was getting concerned. My conversations with my advisor, and even the Dean, had led me to believe that I had a very strong chance of being accepted to the program, but I was beginning to have doubts.

On Friday, I made a special stop at the house to check the mail between a business lunch and my anatomy lab.

No letter.

Now I was relatively certain that a letter was not mailed to me on Monday, and the panic began to set in. My hands were shaking, my mind was reeling, and I honestly had chest pains. I'm not sure if that's how anxiety attacks feel, but I do know that I was not in a happy place as visions of our carefully laid plans came crashing down around me.

I knew that if I let things ride, I would be a wreck all weekend long. I needed action. I needed answers. As I drove my way to campus, I dialed 411 for the number to the nursing school and called to make an appointment with my advisor. Luckily she had an availability, even late on a Friday afternoon. Meanwhile, I numbly sat through anatomy lab, making small talk to my lab partners, and making all the incisions in our fetal pig for our group. (It's amazing what two trimesters spent dissecting a human cadaver for gross anatomy will give you tolerance for...or callousness to?)

As my advisor walked me back to her office, she asked how she could help. I tried very hard to remain completely calm and affable, and I think I did a pretty good job. I told her I was curious about my application, as I knew that the interview letters had been sent out, and I hadn't yet received one. In fact I was wondering how I might strengthen my application so that next semester I might be selected to move on in the application process.

She frowned at me and said, "But we mailed your letter just yesterday."

It turns out that since I have a professional degree already, I'm in a different applicant group than normal undergraduate applicants. My group's letters hadn't gone out until Thursday.

I'm certain my spontaneous relief was transparently obvious to her, because she apologized for having stressed me out so badly. She then made a copy of the letter from the duplicate in my file so I could bring it home with me.

All's well that ends well, right?

Well, one would hope, but now the system won't accept my login name to schedule my interview...

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