By Jessica Babb Lariat Broadcast Editor
On Monday, when many Baylor University undergraduates checked their email, they discovered they were accepted into the Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas.
“When I got my acceptance letter, it came through the email, and my first reaction was to call my mom,” Harker Heights sophomore Audrey Karcher said. “I was really excited, and it’s really nice to know I’ve already got my acceptance.”
Dallas sophomore Kate Johnson said she was also excited about receiving her acceptance because of the passion she has for one day becoming a nurse after interacting with them when her dad was hospitalized.
“In a two week span, I saw the doctor maybe twice the whole time, and I saw the same nurses everyday I was there, and saw they took care of him and that they were the ones that reassured me,” Johnson said. “I knew I wanted to be that support that families have for tough times because no one wants their child or family member to be in the hospital.”
With excitement stemming from the good news, Rockwall senior Kathleen Jones had some advice from her experiences at the nursing school to give to incoming students.
“The professors have very high standards of you and expect you to perform at a certain level,” Jones said. “I just didn’t expect how intense nursing school was, and how much responsibility was laid on our shoulders and really how disciplined you have to be to get through.”
As the excitement begins to fade and leaving Waco becomes more of a reality for many undergraduate students, the idea of nursing school can seem quite daunting.
“I’m most nervous about not living in a college town around other college students and to be off on my own. It’s getting real now,” Karcher said.
Baylor’s pre-nursing program is rigorous, but students still worry they will be unprepared.
“They say nursing school is the two hardest years of your life because all you do is study, so I’m definitely scared to fail or lose my passion,” Johnson said. “The fear always lingers in the back of my mind.”
After making the move, Jones remembered how hard it was to make the adjustment.
“The first semester of nursing school, I went back to Waco quite often because of football games and certain events,” Jones said. “I think finding my friends here helped me assume my role here, and it helped me get comfortable being in Dallas and not in Waco.”
At first, Jones struggled to find her place within the healthcare system and figuring out how she could make an impact on others as a nursing student.
“My role as a nursing student is to learn and to absorb knowledge. At first, it was hard for me to assume that role because I didn’t know what I was doing, and I felt like I was in the way,” Jones said. “As I grew in my career as a nursing student, I began to realize that I was helpful to the nurses, and I was helpful to the patients.”
Thinking back to what she wished she knew going into nursing school, Jones said she wished she had gone in with a different mindset.
“It’s a different world than Waco. It is a different type of studying, and a different type of material, so give yourself grace because your first semester you won’t understand what certain things mean, and that’s okay. They know that,” Jones said. “The professors are going to give you grace, and you need to give yourself grace.”
Now in her final semester, she said she is most proud to look back at what she has accomplished.
“My favorite part is getting to reflect on my experience and realize that my interactions with my patients throughout nursing school have made an impact on them,” Jones said. “It’s a precious gift to be able to help people when they can’t do anything for you in return.”
With the anticipation of heading to Dallas in a few short months, many undergraduates are eager for what lies ahead.
“I’m excited to be more independent and grow in my studies as a nurse and learn about what my passion is and what I want to do,” Johnson said.
Others view the transition as the next step towards achieving their dream.
“I’m looking forward to doing what I love and getting to serve others,” Karcher added.
As Jones prepares to graduate this May, she has one last piece of advice for incoming nursing students next fall.
“I would encourage them to just keep the perspective that nursing school is such a short time compared to how long you are going to be a nurse. It is so worth it, and you’re going to get to touch so many lives and help so many people,” Jones said. “It will be such a rewarding career, so don’t be discouraged by school or when things go wrong. It’s going to be worth it.”