Yes, I’m a Pre-Junior!
February 19, 2014 —
by Katerina Raiser
Almost no one outside of Drexel University understands what exactly it means to be a pre-junior. Attempting to explain Drexel’s five year system is something that I have come to accept. After I explain it, the next question that usually comes is, “Why would you choose a five year program?” As I started my freshman year here as a nursing student, I too questioned why I had chosen so many years to complete something that could be done in much less time. It is this third year that has finally answered that question for me.
The co-op experience is an amazing opportunity and to graduate with a year and a half of experience is an incredible thing that I will always be thankful for. Nursing classes are not easy. Don’t believe it? Just take the time to ask one of the nursing students passing you in the hallways. My understanding of becoming a nursing student was that my classes would be my focus and they would be challenging. After two and a half years here, my classes are hard, but not my entire existence.
Being a nursing student at Drexel has taught me that not only do I have numerous types of nursing opportunities in the hospital but also outside of it. During my freshman year I attended the Drexel University Student Nurses’ Association (DUSNA) general body meeting. It was this meeting that opened my eyes to the seemingly unlimited choices that lie in front of me in my future career as a nurse. Since my freshman year I have had the ability to go to three state conventions, two national annual conventions, a national leadership conference, a national midyear conference, a state leadership workshop, and a state legislation education day. Each of these events showed me another facet of nursing. Each time I left Drexel’s campus, it was off to another place to meet nursing students from all over the United States and from other countries. I have been presented with the chance to network with nurses that were past presidents of the American Nurses Association, Chief Nursing Operators of hospitals, and many more health professionals. I also currently have the amazing privilege of serving as a director on the National Student Nurses’ Association Board of Directors.
So yes, my classes are demanding but nursing is so much more than just our continued education. Nurses need to know every angle and every opportunity out there. Having five years in my program is giving me the chance to experience every type of nursing out there, or at least to hear about it. Having five years is allowing me to take every chance I can to try something new or different. Having five years is helping me to see a more complete healthcare world before I am in it.
There are professional organizations that I will join once I graduate, but the ability to make an impact in my field as an undergraduate student is an unforgettable feeling. When people with much higher degrees and years of experience look over at you and ask your thoughts or opinions on a topic, it is the largest compliment in the world. I may be an undergraduate student for five years and that may seem like a long time to some, and I may have been able to accomplish some of this within two or four years, but five years has given me the time to get involved, learn, and experience once-in-a-lifetime events.
My lesson learned in college: Don’t let challenging classes stop you from joining organizations, taking on a job or doing anything you want to do. Especially when there is time to do it!