Monday, March 27, 2006

If you don't get involved in school activities,

then you don't deserve to enjoy your academic experience.

(By the way, I think this is totally untrue!) I was once told this by one of the post-adolescent traditional nursing students when I asked their thoughts about our school. So I took this pseudo-advice given me and accepted an invitation to participate a school activity. No big deal. Or so I thought. People were expecting that I would not be involved in the activity because of time conflicts with my kids' school activities and other adult responsibilities, so an alternate was elected to step in. I guess in all honesty, the alternate was for anyone who would not be able to attend, but to say that it was for me just sounds more logical.

The reason why I say this is because the group developed their whole strategy without me. I thought that kind of sucked because it was the alternate that made the statement that is the title of this blog entry. The advisor asked that we meet for pre-event meeting, another group activity that was planned without asking my input. I was cool, because people expected me to be a little huffy or to drop out. But I stayed. The alternate was in attendance. The alternate was so quiet around me, I couldn't believe it was the same out-spoken, arrogant person. I think the alternate was quiet because it became clear in that moment that the way I have been treated at school has been unfair. Either that, or I had been bad-mouthed and it was an uncomfortable situation. Either way, I felt it.

The advisor asked me, and only me, what made me decide to participate in this particular school activity. In other words, "What the hell are you doing here?" I said that I was invited to participate by the program director. I made it clear that my talents were recognized and that I was honored to have this opportunity to represent my school and my demographic. Ooo...that was unexpected. I imagine that it was also surprising to find that I plan on staying at my current school for my graduate studies. And that I plan on taking part in developing my own research. Most people think that the non-traditional student is only here to get a degree, get a job and then get out. I bet it was even more surprising that I stay abreast of the current events at the university and in healthcare. Or that I can interact with anyone from the president of the university to my peers with eloquence. Perhaps they were expecting a shrinking violet.

If I weren't a senior, I would probably never get involved in another undergraduate student activity again. Why? Because it was made clear that my presence was not welcome. But then again maybe I would, just to prove that I have a place and a value in student organizations. I have insightful life experiences that people could learn from. After the activity, the whole group went out together, they did not invite me, or even make me aware of any plans. Which was cool because I had other stuff to do anyway. Maybe the reason why I have always felt like I didn't have a value because I never let my inner strength and leadership abilities shine through. I believe that it was Eleanor Rooselvelt that said "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." In all honesty, the non-traditional student has a lot to bring to the table. Don't be afraid or let anyone intimidate you from being involved.

-DiVa...who at the end of her academic journey, suddenly feels empowered!

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