Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Biology 112 Here I Come

I started the first of several pre-reqs for nursing last night at PCC. My instructor is fantastic. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz and has studied marine biology all over the world. Plus she is funny, does not take herself too seriously, yet has very high expectations and has been refreshingly clear and organized. And you get the feeling that she is genuinely rooting for all of her students to succeed.

I'm so excited for this class. And not just because it will be fascinating material...but because what I will be learning in this class will be applied to my life...not just recreationally, but professionally. For a long time I've taken classes for enjoyment or to get a degree...or to vaguely improve my standing in getting into graduate school. I don't regret all of my political studies classes, art classes, horticulture and plant classes, etc....in fact they've all shaped who I am and I hope to never think of them as useless or a waste of my time. All education is an end in itself. But some of it is more useful in terms of gaining employment. I know there will always be a need for nurses. I doubt we'll ever have too many people who know how to care for the sick and the dying, of all ages. I am excited about the one-on-one interaction. I am excited that this is a field where what makes you great is both your intellectual grasp of concepts and ability to practically apply them, and your emotional intelligence...i.e. how well you treat people, and your ability to stand beside people in their pain.

I am excited for this new journey. The picture above is the only one I could find that wasn't either a slightly pornographic photo or an average run-of-the-mill shot of a real life nurse (after a few moments of googling "nurse"). Both seemed unfitting. So I went with the Cadet nurse.

P.S. now that I think I know what I'm doing with my life, generally speaking, perhaps I can start blogging about the things that I originally sought to blog about...and not just a keep a running tally of my thoughts at a particular moment. I'm sorry for anyone reading this blog who thinks it abhorrently uninteresting and self-absorbed. Thanks for being my friend anyway :o)

Monday, March 16, 2009


This life is a crazy one. The geology course I just finished blew my mind. When you start thinking about the world in increments of millions or tens of thousands of years, it puts everything in a different light. In some weird paradoxical way, I have even more respect for the creation, for this amazing, relentless life-giving universe we are all so blessed to participate in and experience after taking this class...and at the same time I feel as though I've become a bit more moderate in my environmental leanings (i.e. less granola :). I've learned that throughout the history of the universe, as we know it, there have been incredible eons of time marked by extraordinary forms of life, and that these periods of time repeatedly underwent mass extinctions...whether this is through a giant asteroid hitting the planet, or widespread disease, or massive amounts of volcanic activity across the globe, tectonic plates shifting, and the proposed theory of the impact of the sun ushering in ice ages over tens of thousands of years...and that even after these mass extinctions, life somehow goes on...as we see in fossils and rocks, essentially acting as a giant tape recorder of all life on earth throughout all time. Life goes on much differently after these extinctions, in many cases. In the case of the dinosaurs, it altered the evolutionary path of all living things and paved the way for the development of human beings, while virtually wiping out all of the dinosaurs (all but birds, who are the closest thing we have today to dinosaurs). As I think about global climate change in this context, I think to myself, "Of course the climate is changing. It has been doing that for over a billion years." This does not mean that I feel unsympathetic to creatures of the world who are suffering because of this change.

I have a sticker on my car that reads "Extinction isn't Stewardship" with a Jesus fish symbol and salmon inside
. It's true, extinction may not be stewardship. In many cases it is the direct impact of human beings that are causing these creatures to become extinct. This is tragic. It is, as Wendell Berry states, a blasphemy against God. But, the one thing I've gotten from this class is...life will go on...and on it will go in extraordinary ways. This amazing planet, which teeters on its orbit around the sun, floating in the universe, will somehow go on. God, energy, spirit, life...it will all go on somehow, someway.

Speaking of life going on, I've temporarily put to rest my dream of going into landscape architecture. My reasons are myriad but essentially it comes down to: 1) It is a profession of the upper class, which tailors its business to what those with money want; 2) as such, it is a privilege occupation - it is not one that we need, but one that is nice. It would be a beautiful career if money weren't an issue; 3) the money in it is mostly in contracting and maintenance, which does not interest me as much as plants and design; 4) jobs in landscape architecture are not very abundant...particularly in an economic recession such as we are in now...and I simply cannot risk taking a hundred thousand dollars in student loans out for a job that might be out there.

So...for now LA is on the back burner. The profession I am looking into now is Nursing. This is about the third time in my life I've given serious consideration to it. Tomorrow I'm going to an informational meeting about PCC's nursing program. They have a Associates degree in Nursing program that allows you to become an RN or transfer to OHSU for a bachelor's degree. The pre-reqs would take a few years to complete while working full time. So...we shall see what's next. The idea of nursing is exciting to me. The idea of working with people one-on-one, caring for them, learning about the human body and how it works, not having to pick out my outfit every day (just kidding...ok not really, i think i'd like wearing scrubs!), and of course knowing that I can go virtually anywhere in the world and be ass
ured that there will be a job....this all sounds great to me. Plus, perhaps I could integrate some of what I've learned about plants through horticultural therapy with my potential future patients...who knows, and maybe by then I'll actually have money to afford to make a therapeutic garden of my own!

For the time being, however, I will be cramming for my Soils final, which is tomorrow, after the informational meeting about nursing. Life sure is crazy. But it relentlessly and marvelously goes on.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


This morning I worshipped for the first time at an Episcopal church in NE Portland, and for the first time in a really long time, it truly felt like home. If Ben enjoys it as much as I did we may have found our church home. We shall see. It was so invigorating to feel good at church, instead of feeling like an awkward stranger. Church-going alone can be a lonely, scary task, particularly at larger churches where it is easy to get lost in the crowd. This morning a woman named Sarah welcomed me, invited me to coffee hour and introduced me to some other people...which makes all the difference when you don't know anyone. I'm thankful to God for this welcoming community in the heart of NE Portland. In addition to the people, the building is absolutely gorgeous. Smaller, intimate, warm, inviting, peaceful. And, to top it off, there were some younger people sitting in the pews! This may be an answer to prayer, we shall see.