Thursday, September 8, 2011

One down!...The first week

While the previous posting is not exactly how we northerners speak, it is pretty close.  “R”s are pointless, “ah”s are essential, and any combination of words we can combine into one we do so.  While my “Maine-ness” slips out every now and again, I am doing my best to immerse myself in this new adventure in a new place.  And the first week was certainly a success!
After weeks of trying to find a place to live my sister, Heather, and I finally settled in a small apartment complex in Waltham.  It’s the perfect location; 5 minutes from Brandeis (which is where my sister attends Graduate School), and about 15 from Regis. We also have access to the T stops and commuter rail which are a hoot to ride for the first time.  We don’t have T’s, commuter rails, or even significant traffic in Maine for that matter!  So riding the T for the first time was definitely an experience and easy to navigate in and out of Boston in a little as 20 minutes.  Your first T ride will make you feel like a city girl and I have an inkling that the feeling will never get old.  While acclimating to city life is a challenge in itself, I also had to remember the reason I had come to Mass: Graduate School. 
I came across Regis while I was browsing the internet lazily one day at work.  I was searching for a school that harbored the same views that I had about education: education should take place in a community setting where educators and students work together to solve problems and enhance knowledge.  I had also experienced “big school” living and wanted something more intimate and personable.  Having never heard of Regis College I requested more information from their website.  In the months that followed I was not only welcomed into Regis as a prospective student, but incorporated into the Regis Community before I had even filled out my application.  I had a really good feeling about getting my graduate degree in such a safe, peaceful, and interactive environment.  The setting (and the people) reminded me of the kindness and warmth of my hometown in Maine.  I started filling out my application the night I interviewed. 
And now here I am almost a year later holding books and syllabi for real-life graduate classes.  All of which have proven in this first week to be very challenging but very fun.  Nursing Theory, which I take Tuesday evenings, is a smaller class with a variety of students ranging from adults with families to recent graduates like me.  Theory has always been a difficult subject for me and I feel is a difficult subject for nurses all over; the abstract thinking of theory does not work well with the concrete black-and-white mind-set of nurses, especially ones who struggled in that one required philosophy course sophomore year like me.  In one class I remember battling with the professor about whether or not rain was a part of reality.  I told him that all I knew was that my jacket was soaked.  Regardless, we all have that one adversary we need to slay and I would certainly consider this one my fire-breathing dragon.  This Mainer is up for the challenge (have you seen the size of the mosquitoes in Maine???!)  
The rest of the week went on smoothly (I didn’t get to attend Pharmacology due to the Holiday) with Advanced Pathophysiology on Wednesday evening.  This class was much larger and more my style; basic, factual, and funny.  The professor taught the complexities of cellular destruction with an air that made you learn and laugh.  Needless to say three hours flew by. 
While I was frightened at first being both the youngest and only person from Maine, I quickly learned that everyone in class has something unique to offer.  I met one woman who has three kids, a husband, a job, and is taking a full-time course load…AND she coaches figure skating on the weekends!  That was one big difference I found between undergrad and grad classes.  Graduate courses are multi-faceted in that you are taking in a highly difficult level of material with a variety of people, while at the same time learning in an environment that allows for class discussion and moments where everyone can relate on some level.  Maine does not offer much on the side of diversity and I believe that it is important to gain various perspectives when it comes to learning.  I really feel like this characteristic is a “grad school thing”, but more so a Regis College thing, and I am so glad it is.  I’m off!  More powerpoints to print, T’s to cruise, and dragons to slay.  Welcome to MassJ…Until next week!

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