The moment I sat inside one of the lecture rooms in the Joondalup campus of Edith Cowan University (ECU) here in Perth, Western Australia, every memory I have of the last three years or so flashed back in an instant. I suddenly remembered the day I decided to take a detour and instead of pursuing Medicine, I found myself inside the Admissions Office of the Arellano University International Nursing Program (AU-INP)in Legarda,Manila. In that particular moment of my life, I chose a profession that I imagine would do something great for me in the future. Now, I feel proud more than ever for making that decision and I feel closer to the fulfillment of that dream that I envisioned.
Before my transfer to ECU to finish my nursing course, AU-INP was my home for the last three years. This institution offers a curriculum like no other, the only one of its kind. This is the lone school in the Philippines that gives nursing students the opportunity to study abroad and gain an international diploma in nursing, a bachelor’s degree for that matter. Their faculty and staff are exceptional, the facilities are state-of-the-art and the environment provides an ambience conducive for learning. All of these factors helped me become a competent nursing student and laid the path for my transfer abroad. My mentors are masters of their crafts and they always give comprehensive lectures which make it easier for the students to develop a deeper understanding of the lessons. They promote independence to train their students to stand on their own as a preparation for the more challenging study abroad. One of the most memorable experiences I have in the INP happened in the simulation room. In this laboratory session, a scenario was provided, and we had to act as if we were real nurses in a real health care setting. We were presenting in front on the class and we were being paneled by our professors, who just happened to be physicians as well. The pressure was monumental and we had to give it our all as it would seem our mistakes couldn’t slip away from their meticulous supervision. In the end, our hard work and perseverance paid off, and we got the nod of approval from our professors.
Every day in the INP was a learning experience. Not only were we taught on how to become better nurses, but we were always being fed values and morals as well. Not only were we sharpened, we were molded. However just like everything else, my stint in the INP had to end. After three grueling but memorably edifying years, we just had to move-on take a bold step forward and leave the school to continue our education in a foreign land. That’s how it is supposed to be.
Just like any other aspiring nurse in the INP, I marched on, eager to continue my course as planned – in the international learning field. In preparation for my transfer to Perth, I took and passed the IELTS exam, prepared the finances with the patient assistance of my family, and made other things necessary at hand to carry on the plan of acquiring my degree in Nursing from Edith Cowan. When everything seemed okay and ready, a disturbing event happened to my family that shook the very core of my being. My mother was hospitalized and was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer. I was devastated. This happened two months before the start of the academic year in ECU. I wanted to drop all my plans of going abroad and just stay with my Mom. But she was as pushy as ever. She iterated, with the authority of a loving parent willing to sacrifice everything for her child, that we’d stick to the plan no matter what. I was stubborn and insistent on staying beside her. But just like most pivotal moments in my life, ultimately I was not in control. A month after the diagnosis, my Mom peacefully left. She’s not a nurse, but she was the best in taking care of us. Self-sacrificing and loving, she became the very inspiration that has driven me to once again get a hold of the wonderful opportunity awaiting in ECU, and someday share the same type of care to people in need.
With the deadline for transfer fast approaching, everything just to fell on the right places one by one; I was granted a student visa, a friend took care of my accommodation in Perth, a colleague arranged my enrollment and before I knew it, I was already on the plane on my way to the Land Down Under.
Perth Australia is astonishing and Edith Cowan University is stunning. Until now, I still find myself in awe with the things I witness. I try to absorb as much as I can and I’ve been having a really interesting and enjoyable time . I like the international crowd. The diversity creates a welcoming and exciting atmosphere. The classes are good and the teachers are so supportive and warm. Of course, a well-recognized and acclaimed university like ECU also boasts of its technologies and advancements. I was a bit lost to everything during my first week, but then it came to me that it is not difficult to adjust simply because ECU has an efficient support system that helped me adapt to the new environment. The lectures are not as detailed compared to how lessons are taught in the INP, but this system does help the students to stand on their own and be more responsible with their academic actions.
Now as I sat on my room, thinking about all the things that happened, all I can say is I am so blessed. I just can’t count all the blessings I have received. But what I know is, amongst those that matter a lot to me at this period in my life, INP is one, so is ECU, and of course my family, relatives and friends, and most especially, my angel, whom I feel is closer to me, guiding me and inspiring me – my Mom.
Studying nursing with passion will fill the void that my Mom’s departure created in my life.
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