By Michael Davidson
Most college students spend four years at their respective university, participating in on-campus activities and campus organizations.
Baylor nursing students, however, do not have this luxury, as they are required to move to to Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas after only two years of studying at the Waco campus.
Many Baylor nursing students struggle with this change of scenery and the feeling of exclusion that comes with it.
“I definitely think being up in Dallas has separated us from Baylor’s Waco campus and the activities that go on there,” said Dallas alumna Katie Truty, who, after graduating from Baylor last year with a degree in Health Sciences, is now in her first year at the nursing school. “All the work they give us and the time frame of our classes make it really hard for us to be able to do the hour and a half trip very often.”
In moving to Dallas from Waco, many attendees of the nursing school leave behind friends, significant others and opportunities to participate in school-related organizations, events and activities.
Though they are technically still a part of the university, some students feel indirectly excluded from the Baylor community and the day-to-day happenings that occur here in Waco.
“I definitely feel like most of us feel a little bit left out of Big Baylor, which is what nursing students call the Waco campus,” said Mission Viejo, Calif., junior Jordyn Bode. “Obviously the distance makes it difficult, as most of us don’t get to see our friends, boyfriends or girlfriends that live in Waco and we have to prioritize what weekends we can go down and join in Baylor activities. For example, I know most of us had to miss parts of homecoming because we had a big test the Monday following that weekend.”
Some students, however, have taken a different approach to dealing with nursing school transition. A few have expressed that the inevitability of moving to Dallas is simply part of the process, and is something that has to be dealt with.
“I personally don’t feel too left out of the activities that go on at the Waco campus,” said Dallas junior Robin Harris. “I come down when I want to or have the time, and I knew what I was getting into when I decided to go to the nursing school.”
Bode said nursing students at Baylor not only struggle with an intense amount of homework and studying, something all college students must deal with, but are also faced with the emotionally challenging aspect of having to leave behind relationships and extracurricular activities that they spent two years establishing and enjoying during their time in Waco.
“The biggest challenge has been time management,” Bode said. “There is just so much to do and stay on top of. Working in the hospital, studying and taking tests, trying to maintain a social life and working part time, which a lot of us do, can be overwhelming at times. Not to mention, being separated from our Baylor family in Waco.”
Bode said one way of filling this void between campuses would be for the Baylor administration to provide more opportunities for nursing students to travel to Waco.
“I think allowing us more time for big events like homecoming and Dia del Oso would make us feel more included,” Bode said. “They don’t prohibit us from going, but they make it pretty difficult to leave Dallas. More Baylor sponsored shuttles going down to the Waco campus more frequently would also help a lot because, as we all know, gas is very expensive.”
The physical distance between campuses also makes some nursing students feel as if their work goes unrecognized, Truty said.
Since they are not in Waco, they are unable to frequently interact with the general student population who may have no idea what actually goes on up in Dallas.
In addition to the average tasks of going to classes, doing homework and preparing for weekly exams, a typical week for a nursing student also includes attending clinicals.
On these days, students get a break from the classroom, and spend all day working in hospitals with real patients, doing things professional nurses do on a daily basis.
“My favorite things about the nursing school are the clinical days because we get to be in a real life setting and I feel like I am actually learning the things I need to know to be a good nurse,” Truty said.