College, Faith, Life

Living Your Climb

If you’re a 20-something like me, you may be familiar with the (in my opinion, iconic) song “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus from the (even more iconic) Hannah Montana Movie.

As a 10-year-old when the song came out, I thought it was so inspiring- but after all the challenges I’ve faced since, it resonates with me even more today.

“There’s always gonna be another mountain, I’m always gonna want to make it move. Always gonna be another uphill battle- sometimes I’m gonna have to lose. Ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side… it’s the climb.”

I could list so many situations where these lyrics apply, and I’m sure you can also think of a few.

So why am I writing about this song from my childhood?

Here’s why: we each have a journey that looks different. We each have battles we face and they’re not belittled or invalidated by other people’s battles- they’re just different. We each have a “climb” to live. A story to share. And I believe God allows us to use these testimonies to show other people his grace and power.

A big point I want to get across to you all is this: do not compare your climb to someone else’s. Your climb is yours for a reason and even if you don’t understand why it’s happening now, you will come out on the other side with an understanding of how it can help you later.

I’ll share a little about one of my recent “climbs.” This climb is called nursing school (yeah, yeah, I know. Here goes another nursing student talking about how hard it is…)

I have not had the typical nursing school experience most of  my peers have (and that’s 100% okay- I’m still going to be a nurse!!). I applied and got rejected to the program the first time and was waitlisted the second time before I finally got to embark on the even bigger hurdle of the program itself.

You see, I am NOT good at taking tests. Anxiety is something I struggle with- I’m sure plenty of people can relate. In nursing, we also take physical tests, known as “check-offs” and they’re pretty nerve-wracking, even if you know what you’re doing. You get 3 attempts to successfully complete the skill while meeting specific criteria so you can go into the clinical setting. In my second semester, I took my first round of skills competency and the nerves ate me alive. On my first attempt, I wasn’t too upset when I failed- many people did. But after the second time, when I was even more nervous, the fear struck me. “Oh no, this is it. My last chance. Why can’t I do this? I’m never going to be a nurse. I’m no good.” These are the thoughts that ran through my brain.

When my third attempt rolled around, I was so fixated on perfection, that I let my anxiety drive me nuts. I walked into the room fearful of failure with shaky hands. In the end, I choked and didn’t pass. It was mortifying, embarrassing and made me feel like I wasn’t worth it. I was humiliated. I felt incompetent and frankly, like I wasn’t meant to be a nurse. I’m the outlier. I mean, I didn’t know anyone else who was in this situation. Not going to lie- it’s sucked.

But it happens. Though I was devastated, I wasn’t ready to quit. I had to drop my clinical related course, but decided to stay in the rest of my classes because the only thing worse than failing was going home and taking a semester off at this point, because I feared I wouldn’t gain the confidence to come back.

I made it through the semester with good grades and said goodbye to all the friends I had made in my cohort who were going on to the next semester without me while I stayed behind to complete the clinical component of this level.

Now, here we are. I’m a few weeks out from finals during my second go at semester #2 of the program. My grades are awesome. I LOVE clinicals. I’ve never been so sure that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. Check-offs were a breeze- I went in confidently knowing I had prepared well and left it to God. I’ve adapted to new study habits and have more humility and confidence than before. Fear still exists, but it’s not around as much as before. God knew what he was doing. He protected me in a time where (I didn’t know) I wasn’t ready… because my story is not like everyone else’s. This is my climb. My journey.

So yeah… freshman Cassie’s plan to graduate in under 4 years didn’t happen… The plan to finish nursing school in the 5 required semesters didn’t happen. Sometimes it feels like graduation is getting further and further away… but that is OKAY. “Ain’t about how fast I get there…. it’s the climb”

Sometimes life knocks us down a bit. Sometimes we fall, sometimes we stumble a bit after moving ahead & we feel like we’re behind.

Friends, don’t fret. There’s a lot to learn on every journey and endeavor in life. Often, the climb is more important than the end goal. What I learn on my way to become a nurse will make me a better nurse. What I learn throughout this journey is what makes the achievement of this goal worth it.

Whatever uphill battles you’re facing in the journey you’re in, just keep fighting. You may lose some of the battles- but just get up and march forward to the next one- you just might win.

Don’t just trudge through your climb. LIVE your climb. Take in every moment of this journey and think about how it makes you better. It doesn’t matter how fast (or how slow) you get there, it just matters that you keep going, keep learning and keep growing.

Until next time,

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