Deep breathing

I spent today getting my semester planned out, and I’m officially overwhelmed and it doesn’t start until next week. I had a fleeting moment where I thought I was on top of everything. Then I realized that I am completely NOT on top of anything. I’m actually the complete opposite of on top of things; I feel entirely behind on everything. I have what feels like weeks worth of planning and reading and studying to do, and roughly 4 days to do it.

I’m honestly really excited for the semester, and I feel as though I’m making it worse than it really is. I’m taking management 2, anatomy/pathology 2, thanatology 2, embalming 1, law 1, and restorative art 1. I feel like once the semester finally starts I’ll be able to get my rhythm down. Which days to study for certain subjects, that sort of thing. Right now it just feels like I need to do all of it, at the same time.

I had a doctors appointment during the last semester where they told me (for the first time in my life) that my blood pressure was a little high. It’s always been low. So low, in fact, that I’ve been asked about being dizzy when I stand up, or if I commonly pass out. Before my knee surgery when I was 16, they were surprised about how low it was and wondered if I was nervous (I said a little). But suddenly I was told, “it’s a little higher than normal”.

I came home, a little confused still. Why is it high? What could be causing that? Henry says, “um, this semester? You haven’t been calm since August.” It was true. This semester was the first time in my life that I have actually been so stressed out, it affected my health (slightly).

We had our finals on December 10th and have been on a 7 week break. I finally felt like I was getting proper sleep and eating better again. I would guess if I were to go back to the doctor and checked my blood pressure after tonight that they’d say, “hmm, it’s a little higher than normal”, and I would think just wait.

*deep breath in…….and out*

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I Googled “funeral director” and the rest is history

fu·ner·al di·rec·tor
noun
  1. an undertaker.

75c5560d2bebf25bfa47125c504df727When I got the acceptance letter, I was waking up in my grandmother’s bed. See at the time, I was her caregiver. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died 8 months after. I moved in with her because she was having spasms in her back and couldn’t be left alone anymore. She died a week later, and I was there for her last breath. I will never forget that moment and how it made me feel. Of course there was sadness, but there was also this calming feeling that washed over me; this is what I was meant to be doing with my life.

11053419_1099730936719148_5380293373948831962_nThe at-home nurses and physical trainers that came over when she broke her leg the year before would tell me that I was a natural at being a caregiver and I should look into nursing. I sort of looked into it, but it was a quick search before I realized that it wasn’t for me. Something came over me and I don’t remember what exactly happened, but I decided to Google “funeral director” and it hit me. That corny “like a bolt of lightening” thing was actually true, that’s what it felt like. I knew this was the path for me.

I had been in school for close to a decade, getting my AA degree and then focusing on a photography certificate. It was becoming less and less like a possibility that this was gonna happen. I had such a drive for it when I was finishing my degree, and I applied to CSULB trying to get into their fine art program. Denied and devastated, I turned towards a certificate program at OCC. I tried semester after semester to get into more than one class, but they were so impacted and overrun with students (plus budget cuts on top of that), that it just kept taking longer and longer and it felt like everything was stacked against me. Like something didn’t want me to finish this path.

I completed a couple classes, but the more that I fought to get in the classes, the more I was realizing that I wasn’t passionate about it anymore. I was going through the motions trying to complete the certificate just to be done with it. I had said over and over that I was going to be a photographer, but the longer it took, the more I realized I didn’t want to do this anymore. It was a chore and a burden, not a chosen career path. I still love photography, but it’s not my career.

I finally had enough of being on waitlists. Waisting money on classes I wasn’t giving 100%. This 2 year certificate was getting stretched out farther and farther (it was about to be 5 years of trying), and I finally admitted to myself that I needed something new. I needed a career and a change of pace. That was the moment I was told about nursing, which led my search to funeral directing, which led to the light bulb going off.

I ended up taking an anatomy class (prerequisite) and feeling so confident and comfortable. It was the first time that I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I thought that I had felt it when I was taking photography classes, but once these things started falling into place, it just felt so right.

Life works in weird ways, fate or destiny or meant to be, what have you. This career path opened up to me and just makes sense. Sometimes people ask me why I chose this profession. I don’t have a solid answer other than to say it just feels right. It was wasn’t some lifelong destined thing that I’ve been working toward since I was little. It also isn’t some morbid, twisted feeling of “I’m so creepy and goth” that I need to fulfill (people think this!).

The best part of “I don’t know it just feels right” is that now that I’m in classes, they confirm that feeling. This is profession of a certain type. We are the ones that want to help. We’re natural caregivers and listeners. We like to keep busy and make sure things turn out how they’re supposed to. I read somewhere that the perfect personality for being a funeral director is someone that can multitask and also be detail oriented. They don’t like their days to be the same day in and day out. That is perfect for me, and I can’t wait for it to begin.

And so it begins…

I wanted to write my experiences down from start to finish, but I got caught up in schoolwork (and a broken computer), so my written adventure begins while I’m in the thick of it. I wanted to document my struggles and successes and write it down as I venture into this career/profession, and since I lost my awesome journal that I loved to write in, it’s TO THE INTERNET I GO!

I know I’m not gonna care for the details of each and every moment of every day in this program, but I know I’m gonna want to jot down these moments in my life. At the time I am writing this post. I am one week away from my second semester in mortuary school. I wished I could’ve started this before the first semester so I could accurately describe my feelings as I was going through them, but I’ll have to go from memory.

In august of 2015, I went to the 2-day orientation for new students to the program. After the first day, I came home and wept and thought, “there is no way I can accomplish this”. There was “advice” from continuing students saying “quit your job” and “say goodbye to your social life”. It freaked me the fuck out, and I thought that maybe this was all about to be too much to do. Luckily, I have an amazing support system and they reassured me that I can do anything. After the orientation, I was still buzzing with a nervous-excitement, ready to start the semester.

I remember the first month of school felt overwhelming. Four classes 3 days a week. It was full days on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They had overlapping exams (some days I had 3 exams in 3 classes), online components that were AGGRAVATINGLY slow and glitchy, and not having an adequate study area were piling up.  Fortunately, I passed the semester. Not with the grades that I wanted, but they keep stressing that when we’re in the business, no one cares about your GPA, they just want to know if you’re licensed.

So since school starts back up in a week, here’s my thoughts. I’m nervous and eager about this semester. I’m finally in my embalming lab and my restorative art classes which I have been so anxious to start. But then I have to take a law class and another semester of funeral service management (see accounting class), so it’s not all fun and games. I’ll be in school Monday through Friday, and it’s gonna be stressful, but I think I’ve finally found my manageable stress level to make it through the semester. We’ll just have to find out…