Letting go…

Night time seems to be the time where all those thoughts you were holding back in your mind start pushing forward. Tonight is one of those nights. I lie awake thinking of the list of things I have to do tomorrow: pay the bills, figure out my life and schedule, do 20 hours or more of homework, study, go to work, make food for myself… but the one thought that enters my head that is here to stay is what I’ve had to give up and let go of to be here today. 

This particular post is about what I’ve had to give up to be in grad school and accept my place as a grad student of nursing. With my long hours at school and long nights working at the hospital I realized that I was an unfit mother to my dog. For people like me who don’t have any children, our dog is the closest thing. My dog for me is like my child. He means the world to me and coming to the conclusion that I was not going to be able to take care of him killed me inside. I quickly realized however, that keeping him was being selfish. As a good dog mom I could not live with myself knowing that I wasn’t doing the very best thing for my dog. So slowly but surely I came to the conclusion that for my time spent in my masters program I was going to have to let go of my dog, my baby and give him up. If I was going to excel in my studies and build a better life for myself and him, I would have to sacrifice my time with him. Knowing this is what needed to be done I reached out to my grandma, who loves him as much as me if not more, and asked her to keep him for two years. we arranged a sort of schedule where she has him majority of the year and I take him back on my Christmas break for a few weeks, get him groomed, back on a diet, snuggle him a bit and then back to her house when school begins again. This was the ideal arrangement. 

However, lying here I think about him and I miss him. I wish I could be the dog mom I want to be… I wish I could keep him and give him all the attention in the world… but there’s a lesson to be learned here: sometimes you just have to let go. Sometimes just sometimes letting go is the best thing to do. This was one of those situations. As much as it breaks my heart to be apart from him and think about him, I know that in the end this was the right decision. I have faith that at the end of this all I will get that little fur ball back and be able to me the fur mom he deserves! Sometimes in life we must sacrifice for a better tomorrow.. and this is just what that is. Letting go until the time comes to take back. Miss you my little Meo ❤️


My first week of grad school… 

It’s been in my head for a while now that I need to get better at writing and keeping track of what’s going on in my life. Life just flies by sometimes too quick for me to catch it. My first week of grad school was one of those instances. It came and went so quickly with a blink of an eye. It gives me the feeling that this whole grad school experience will be fleeting… but in order to not get ahead of myself let’s start with the now and what’s going on today in the crazy life of mine.

At this very moment I write to you in my bed. Bundled in covers after a 14 hour long school day which consisted of my commute to school, my classes, and a nice five hour break of hard core studying. Oh and of course the constant reminder that I’m forever broke, but that’s besides the point. Back to my bed. I’m practically writing this with one eye closed; given the fact that my eyes are so tired they want to give up on me. With sore fingers that are so weak they can barely spell from typing all day. With a brain that’s half comatose from the information overload. But most importantly, with that spark that keeps me going, pushing and forever moving forward.

Needless to say, my first week was busy. Simply put… rigorous… just as I expected the program and grad school to be. But then again that’s what I’m paying for and that’s why I picked this program. Because I know that at the end of it all it’s going to make me one kick ass nurse, co-worker and dedicated ass lifelong learner. So the torture is worth it and with that so begins my two year journey of torture with the sweetest of gifts at the end…. the privilege to change lives.

There is something to be said about us grad students as a whole. We like a challenge. We’re unique in that we won’t stop until we have attained excellence. We will weather the storms, withstand the torture, subject ourselves to academic abuse and at the end of it all still be there and chances are want to go further until we can’t possibly go any more. Just then do we grad school student reach our goals. But in order to reach them we must advance using baby steps. 

There are theee main steps in the mastery process. Bachelors, masters and doctorate. (At least for our profession). Today myself and 50 other students are at step two. Were half way where we want to be and half way far from where we want to be all at the same time. Grad school is a vital step in completing the three step process in that it gives you the key to unlock door number three. It’s a necessity to excel and master your career. Step two is an in between phase… it’s a phase where your an adult but you still feel like a kid. Where the stakes get higher. Where the grading scale spikes. Where making friends is much easier. Where studying becomes 3/4 of your life. Where school takes priority space number one. Where you realize this is your journey and your finally achieving what you were meant to to.. becoming who you were meant to be..

It’s scary. It’s exciting. It’s exhausting. 

And it’s just the beginning… so here goes nothing! Bring on grad school! 

Good deed gone wrong

My husband came home and told me about his friend Erik. Erik moved to Chicago about 6 months ago after breaking up with his girlfriend and while trying to detach himself from his father, who is part of the notorious hells angels in california. He supposedly was sharing an apartment and was giving his buddy the rent money who was then pocketing it. Erik got evicted from his apartment and had no family or friends to turn to. Upon hearing this, I offered for him to stay at our house until he got back on his feet. I figured that since John and him worked together that we had nothing to worry about. I also felt that we could be something good for Erik and a positive influence in his life. I truely believed that we would be able to help… but sometimes a good intention goes sour.

Erik moved into our guest bedroom about a week before I left for my trip to Italy. At first things were some what smooth. We never saw each other and he came home and late hours of the night and left before we woke up. However, as the weeks progressed what was supposed to be a short stay of a week or two turned into a month. With the passing weeks came surprise after surprise. While I was in Italy I was told by my husband that he was bringing over women to our home. This did not sit well with me concidering I never met them and had no idea what there women’s intentions were. Two weeks passed and I came home to find mess after mess. Every morning I would wake up and spend an hour cleaning the messes he would make around the house or his bathroom just to do it all over again the next day.

I looked in his room and it looked like the Tasmanian devil had been through there. Not to mention the fact that my carpets seemed to be stained with black dye. One morning we got to talking and he opened up telling me that he also has HIV, which wouldn’t had been a problem had he not been skipping work because of “health issues”. Erik was a guest in our house. He did not pay rent and he even was offered a plate at my dinning room table. I knew things were getting out of hand when I had cooked dinner for us and he asked me for a piece of foil. It just seemed to be one thing after another. I told my husband that I needed him to be out before I began my masters. As much as it broke my heaRt to kick him out of our house I had to face the fact that a good deed on our part was mistaken for weakness and in the end we got used. The night that he left he brought over a girl showered with her for 40 minutes and then took his things. Leaving behind two bags that he couldn’t fit onto his motorcycle. He then came to get those last bags two weeks later while taking yet another shower at our house and literally throwing soap all over the walls in the bathroom. 

To make matters worse a week before we officially left he was fired from his job for not showing up. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do to help. He was a grown man of 39 years old. That is 15 years older than me and as a 24 year old and 27 year old my husband and I were not able to take care of him or support his ways.

He left without barely a thank you. We were left to piece back together our home with stained carpets, a trashed guest room, a dirty bathroom. a large water bill, and the insecurity of what he was doing or if he’ll be back. The lesson that was learned was that sometimes being nice can be taken advantage of. There’s no way of knowing when a good deed could go wrong until you do it. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and that’s what this experience was… a lesson learned. A home is to be respected especially when living and eating for free out of the goodness of ones heart. I wish him the very best and pray for some positive change in his life. I truely hope something good came out of us having him here. 

Our Engagement Story

Haven’t written in a while so I figured I would write about one of the most memorable and unforgettable moments of my life.. our engagement.

It all started with a trip to Italy. It was the first time J had ever been to Italy and to visit my hometown located smack dab in the middle of Italy and in the middle of mountains. This was where I was born and grew up until my sister and I left for America with our mother. Our town is unique In a variety of ways, but to me it is particularly special because it holds my favorite place in the entire world. On top of the main Mountain in our small town lies a castel that was bombed and destroyed during WWII; however, through all the wars and earthquakes it had undergone, it has managed to retain one tower. From the center of town to the top of the tower takes about 1.5 hours to reach. It’s my favorite place earth because I remember going up that mountain with my father but also because once you reach the top you can’t help but smile because of how georgeous the surrounding view is. In that moment your speechless because of the beauty that surrounds you.

When we arrived to Italy it rained for several days. This postponed our climb up the mountain and to the tower. Finally the rain had stopped and we prepared to make the walk uphill to reach the top. There was a group of us that decided to make this journey together. This group consisted of my sister el, my boyfriend at the time J, my two Italian friends and myself. The five of us took off and began the brutal walk uphill in the summer heat. Although tretorous, the climb was equally beautiful. As you get higher and higher you begin to see the little town where we came from fade off into the distance. It’s was a georgeous sight with ever growing anticipation to reach the top.

After about 1.5 hours we reached the final climb; the stone steps up to the tower. I let everyone go ahead of me and when we finally got up there it felt as though a breath of fresh air had just hit me. It was just as I remembered and more beautiful than ever having shared it with my significant other. We stayed a while and chatted as we took in the view. I stepped next to j and joked with him saying “this would have been the perfect spot to ask me” he joked back saying “yeah it sure would have”.
Our time was up and everyone began to make their way down the tower steps back to earth. Oddly enough I was being blocked out making me second to last in line to walk down the steps. Just as I reached the first step I felt a pull on my arm and j said “little did you know that I did have something planned” thinking it was a joke I gave him a playful shove and said “not funny” as I once again tried to make my way down the steps. To my surprise I felt another tug on my arm as J pulled me back and had a ring in his hand up to my face saying “I’m not joking”. Shocked and wordless I stood there looking at him as he got on one knee and said “Elisa, I love you with all my heart and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.. will you marry me?” I smiled (still speechless) grabbed his shoulders to stand him up and said “give me a hug”. He did just that as I said “why do you look so nervous?”. He responded “because you haven’t given me and answer yet” and just like that I said “of course I will”. And so began a new chapter in our lives.

All I could do after was smile. As we walked down the tower my sister had a handful of wild flowers picked ready to hand me. Our excitement was enormous as we ran hand in hand down the moutinain side back to earth.. I don’t think anything in my life has been as picture perfect as the moments that followed and the unexplainable excitement and happiness that we felt running down the mountain. It was dreamy… it was a day I will never forget.

Getting into grad school…

Getting into graduate school is probably one of the most difficult and stress invoking things you will do in your whole life. It begins with completing the right courses, getting the right grades and makes those grades that are not so hot As. From there the application process begins. Depending what you are going to for can make this step of the process more simple or more stressful. For many programs it’s an easy step of the application process and is part of your current process but for many healthcare professionals higher education does not work that way. For most healthcare higher degrees it consists of interviews, letters of recommendation, personal statements, volunteering experience, hands on patient care experience and much more.

Most healthcare graduate or doctorate degrees require things such as your GRE or your MCAT. These are standardized tests that basically place you on a scale in comparison with those who also took the test. Basically, this is a means of rating you. These tests are looked at and weighted heavily when it comes to your application. That being said, it is important that you do well THE FIRST TIME on these type of exams to ensure your application is at its very best. In order to ensure I did the very best on my GRE I hired a tutor who tutored me for four months and who received a 100% on his GRE. Therefore, tutors, resources, and some serious study time should be utilized throughout this process.

Once the testing is over and you received the score you hoped letters of recommendation and personal statements are next. Begin these as early as possible and have multiple people read them. Especially when it come to your personal statement. You want someone to get the full picture of you within the word count allotted. I was lucky to have a teacher who worked with me on this who basically specialized in personal statements, reaching out to faculty to help is a great idea when it comes to personal statements.

Once you have gathered all you need you complete the application send it off while your heart is beating 200 times a minute. Be sure to apply to as many schools as you can afford to heighten your chances of approval and to ensure you go to a school you will like. You press the send button and that’s when about a month to three months of anxiety begin. The waiting period is by far the worst part of the whole graduate school application process. The past however many years of your college career swarms your head and you will think of every mistake you made, everything you made right, everything you could have done differently and then it hits you the big phrase we all think: “maybe I’m not good enough”.

Then maybe you get an interview slot. This is key! This means your halfway there and I hate to break it to you but the interview will make you or break you. Be prepared! Practice questions, jot down things about yourself you want to get across. But a suit! Look presentable and be confident but not cocky. Show yourself in your best light and be prepared because these interviews are what will get you where you want to go. Each program uses different methods of interviewing such as group interviews, panel interviews and one on one interviews, feel free to reach out and ask the school what type of interview you should prepare for. They are usually open about these types of things. Do your best! Sometimes you will think you did terrible but actually do wonderful and others you think you did wonderful and actually did badly. It all comes down to the interviewer or interviewers. Just do your best and remember your half way there!

After your interview comes the hardest part, waiting. This process continues for the duration of the application reviewal process. If you feel your loosing your marbles and like an anxiety ball of craziness it’s normal, but some piece of advice I will share. Remind yourself that sometimes there’s a plan for us bigger than what we imagined for yourselves and that if this is meant to be it will. Who’s to say how many times or how long it will take to get what you want or into the program you want if it is meant to be and you don’t give up you will get there. This is the point where you let go of the wheel and have faith that whatever is mean to be will happen. Realize your acceptance is out of your control. When you do this whatever letter comes your way rejection or acceptance you will be in a place to deal with it.

Applying to graduate school is a roller coaster. For some it takes several years, for others it takes one try. For me, I promised myself that whatever was meant for me was going to happen and that the first thing that fell in my lap was right. So I did just that. I got accepted, I cried, I was overjoyed and I took my place where I wanted to be and where I was meant to be. It’s a long rough road but just like me you will get there, and when you do you’ll know this was the path that you not only wanted but that you were meant to follow.

So keep your head up. Keep your grades up. Keep you friends and family close for support. And most importantly never ever give up, because chances are, if you feel in you’re heart you are good enough and meant for a specific career then you are and nothing will stop you. Good luck!

13 reasons why.. an honest review

Image result for 13 reasons why

13 Reasons Why has blown up the internet, Netflix and bookshelves in the past few weeks. For those of you who have watched it/read it you can probably understand why. The issues this story deals with are ones that all people can relate to. The main issues that it deals with are bullying, suicide, treatment of others, body shaming and an abundance more, in fact the issues and lessons that can be learned from this story are endless. After finishing the story it took me several days to recover from the emotions that it evoked. Most importantly, it took several days to make sense of the thoughts it evoked… but of all the thoughts that it evoked not one had to do with placing the blame only on Hannah…

There was one particular comment made by someone regarding this story that particularly got me considering the fact that people have missed the point. This comment was as follows “choosing to commit suicide is no ones fault but your own”. I agree, that IF we lived in a world where we were alone and unaffected by others then YES, there is no one to blame but one self for committing suicide. However, you must consider the fact that we don’t live in a world by ourselves. We live in a world with a million other people and we interact with at minimum 10 people a day. All people in which impact us in some sort of way, whether it be positive or negative. Irregardless of the impact they have on us, we are nonetheless still impacted. For those of you who try to argue this point I ask you this: if you want to believe you are not impacted by others then how do you feel when your bullied? How do you feel if you are raped? How do you feel if you are beat? Did it impact you? The answer is yes. If it didn’t impact you in some type of way then a bubble is where you might live. In that case, I envy you for never being impacted negatively or positively. In reality, in REAL life, the people around us impact us. Whether we want to admit that or not they do. The point is that we don’t live in a world on our own we live in a world with a million other people and whether we want to admit it or not the people around us impact us.

To make a statement that it’s no one but her own fault for taking her own life, in part is true. She did indeed take her own life (in the story of course) and for that she is to blame, PARTIALLY. However, the whole story in which you read or watched goes beyond this obvious fact. THIS RIGHT HERE is the point that has been missed. The whole point of the story is that everyone contributed to her death and lead her to feel a particular way about life. In life we have minimal control, we cannot control what happens to us and (as much as people want to believe) we cannot control how people make us feel. Feelings are sometimes uncontrollable. If you want to argue this point I will make an example. Try loving someone and being told not to. Try being stabbed and try not hurting. As you can see, we can not turn ourselves off to what we feel. Feelings, whether we like them or not are there and we must deal with them as they come. My point here is that we cannot control how others make us feel nor can we control how we feel at the end of the day… feelings are there.

This all being said, there is a proper way to address the topic of suicide and that is to talk about. Let’s have the conversation! Let’s discuss why this happens, because maybe just maybe understanding it can change something in this world. And this is exactly what this story is trying to get people to do: DISCUSS suicide and take responsibility. Suicide, is not a popular subject, in fact, no one wants to talk about it, but it should be talked about because it’s something people face every day. Here is a quick fact for you, nearly 43,000 Americans alone die from suicide each year. That is in AMERICA only… does that number surprise you? It should, because that’s a LOT of people. This clearly shows that something has gone wrong here. These are people who don’t want to be here anymore, why? You might ask, well… 13 Reason’s Why addresses some of those reasons…. and it starts with US and ends with them.

What this show/book is trying to show is that ALL of us contribute to someone’s decision to commit suicide. Our contributions, small or large, make us in part, responsible for their death. You can easily ride off the blame by saying something like “they had an issue”, “they were messed up in the head”, “they were unhappy”, “it’s their choice and their the only ones to blame”, but the problem with that is you haven’t looked at yourself and how you might be to blame. THIS IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THIS STORY! This is exactly what happened in the story. The students, her friends, rode off the blame, just as we do when we say something like “there is no one to blame but themselves”. By riding off the blame and responsibility you are doing exactly what the characters in the story initially did and that is not taking responsibility for the impacts you made.

The moral of this story is that we need to re-evaluate ourselves and most importantly re-evaluate the way that we treat people, talk to people and what we do to people because we DO have an impact on other peoples lives. At the end of the day it is our decision whether or not we are going to make that impact a good one or a bad one. These are the things we need to be thinking about while watching the show and reading the book. This story opens the door for discussion to talk about what we can do to make our world a better place or what we can do to give someones life a little more purpose. This story forces us to look at ourselves and some of us just aren’t ready to do that, but if you want to make this world a better place that’s exactly where you have to begin, with yourself. This story opens the door to the fact that we need to come together and make this world a better place to live in so people want to live in it, it all starts with US.

All for the love of that dog…

Meo is going on 6 years old. I first got him when I was 18 years old and finishing high school a year early to get away from the bullies. At the time he was the best thing that ever happened to me. He took my heart and kept it safe. I spent my time caring after him and loving him. In a way, he saved me from my troubling years of high school and my abusive high school relationship.  He was there when I needed him most and I focused all my energy and love into raising him. This little fur ball saved me and in the biggest of ways gave me purpose again.

A year ago (2016) I came home from work to find that he severely broke his leg. My fiancé had to break the news to me which resulted in me staying up all night crying and hugging him. It hurt my heart to see him that way. He’s the closest thing I have to a child and even though they have tendencies to be annoying as all heck sometimes, he’s one of the best things I have. And so began my journey of a month from hell.

Mind you, I was in school, working and leaving that weekend to do PA observations three hours away in a different state. I suddenly found myself depressed, helpless and shocked at the cost of surgery. Every place I went to in Chicago wanted to charge me thousands of dollars. I was only 23, and the only money I had was that saved for our wedding in a few months. I was faced with some crazy options like amputating his leg or putting him down. I sat for 6 hours holding him in my lap at Animal Welfare League to see if they could help me and within 15 minutes they said sorry but it’s too severe to repair here. No one could help. This was truely one of the worst times of my life to feel so helpless in such a difficult situation, but I was willing to do what I had to to get him the surgery within two weeks and get him better again. And so I did. I found a way.

A year later we are running into some problems with his leg again. This time because of the plate. Although, it seems as though the doctors can’t really say for sure. So here goes surgery number two.. but going through this a second time I know I won’t stop at anything until he’s well again. It’s crazy though to think of what you would do for another living thing. What you would pay or go through to ensure they are alright.

It’s crazy how something so small can mean so much. I never thought that I would go to the lengths I did to fix him to make him better. I realized how crazy love truely is.. just looking at it from the perspective of ones love for their dog. Out of one of the craziest, most terrible and stressful situations I came out with a lesson… that we will do anything for what we love. Money, time, stress… it’s nothing when it comes to what we love. This goes to show that for every one of us in this world there is something, someone out there that we would do anything for.. and maybe just maybe the world would be a better place if we acted towards one another like I do for my dog…