My older sister hated school. This is not a judgement, just fact. She worked very hard for the good grades she (always) got, but she definitely didn’t enjoy it. Shy, quiet, composed, gentle; she left for college at a young age, some would say too early, but she shone like a bright little star on a dark night everywhere she went, every adventure she put her hand to, every new challenge she took up – except one. She didn’t get into the nursing program those first few months away at university.
Rejection isn’t easy, especially when it’s all you’ve wanted for as long as you can remember, but she didn’t bat an eye. She switched majors from nursing to hospitality/business and she worked hard for every A and honors program and Dean’s List that she received. She signed up for the school fire department (mostly because she’s an adrenaline junkie) to stay near the first responder world. Of course she soon after became a captain and had her own squad to look after. She graduated with honors 4 years later and immediately got a job working as an EMT on an ambulance.
I don’t remember how many years it took for her to dive back into school, but it wasn’t long before she announced she had applied for nursing school and had been accepted into the accelerated program. She worked her way through 2-3 years of nursing school, fighting once again for every A, every passed test, every late night paper she wrote. Slowly, the tear-filled phone calls where she swore she was failing became less and less. The emails with 8 page papers attached that needed proof reading didn’t come as often. She stood a little taller, held her head a little higher. With each hard class that she passed with flying colors, she saw herself a little more through the eyes of those around her. The star shining brightly in the sky, twinkling gently to remind all the other stars how worth it is to keep reflecting the Light.
I threw her a graduation/birthday party when she finished nursing school (with honors). We weren’t living in the same state at the time, but I managed to bring together family, friends, and Dr. Suess decorations to celebrate her achievements. We had known all along she had it in her.
Following graduation, she dove deeply into the world of ICU nursing. She’d call to catch up and babble on about head traumas and gunshot wounds and changed bandages that no one wanted to hear about. Slowly, as first-day-on-the-job jitters turned into train-the-new-guy turned into charge-nurse-duties, we watched as she realized she had even more in her.
She enrolled in a master’s program to become a Nurse Practitioner. If you haven’t guessed by now, she got all A’s and, yup, graduated with honors. She signed up to take her boards earlier than recommended and passed the first time. Her class graduation is being held in Florida, and since we don’t live there, we’re throwing a graduation party the likes the world has never seen. So if you think these invitations are a little extra, they are.
They’re trying to live up to a girl who blew past every hurdle the world threw at her. To honor a girl who serves so whole heartedly it’s hard to remember that she lives with debilitating chronic migraines that put her in the ER on the regular. To celebrate a heart that shines brighter with each passing challenge she fights through. To remind a girl who hated school that she can finally rest easy, knowing she has surpassed even her own goals. And when she starts raising her own little girls, I can only image how much they’ll hate school, too.
Here’s to you, Karianne. For setting the bar so high, all we can do is hope to follow in your footsteps.