Six days from today, I will graduate from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. All-nighters studying for finals, tears from heartbreak, rushing Franklin Street after beating Duke, sitting in the quad just to soak up the spring sunshine, eating one more order of YOPO, standing for 24 hours in honor of the patients and families at the NC Children's Hospital, watching tv shows on the party couch in my sorority house, and dazing off as people pass in the pit will all be fond memories that stay within my heart. They will be my little piece of heaven that remind me of the incredible journey I have had over the past four years. Memories with friends, friends that turned into family, family, and even strangers.
Along with the rigor of the class load, and the well-earned education you take away from it, you learn about yourself. In my opinion, that is the most important part. You learn the importance of:
1. Entering an unconditional relationship with yourself; loving yourself and being fearless in your convictions. My favorite quotes is by Pema Chodron, and it says this,
"Right now can you make an unconditional relationship with yourself? Just at the height your are, the weight you are, with the intelligence that you have, your current burden of pain; can you enter into an unconditional relationship with that?"
In fact, college teaches you that you are enough. That you can change the world. That you can find or develop a passion, and work to fulfill your goals within that respective field.
2. Friendships will change your life. It is amazing what can happen when you open your heart and mind to new experiences. I have met some of the most incredible people over the last four years of my life. People that have challenged me to seek a new thought process, pushed me to exceed my current level of intelligence, picked me up from a rough patch and told me it would be okay, loved me unconditionally, laughed with me until 3AM in the morning, joined me in screaming the Carolina fight song at the top of our lungs, and shared with me the unique thrill that being in Chapel Hill gives you.
3. Always say yes; never say no. Saying yes to one question, or one person, at one time can change your WHOLE LIFE. "Yes" can put you in a completely new direction.
Life has a funny way of pushing you to the next phase, and making you quickly embrace the CHANGE that is coming. Change is wonderful; when change is embraced.
You may ask, what does this have to do with patient safety? If I had never learned that my experiences and story was good enough, or opened heart to new opportunities and relationships, or said yes to the right people at the right time; I would not have half of the opportunities I do today. I knew my story could make a difference, I said yes to sharing it, I was fearless: so I started a platform three years ago named "Get In Tune and Just Breathe," that is now my newly-started non-profit. I knew that reaching out to people and making friendships and connections would help me achieve new levels of success. I said yes to a friend request from a lady in Virginia, and she has become the older sister I never had, my mentor, and a wealth of knowledge in my future career path. I said yes to a meeting at a local hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and because of the friendships cultivated, I now serve on a state, national, and international board. Each of these, while throwing some kind of change your way, give you a new opportunity to make a difference.
This past month was full of new opportunities to say yes to, and one of those was an incredible annual event put on by Cape Fear Valley Hospital called the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation Ribbon Walk & Run For a Cure. On April 10th, I had the honor and privilege of speaking at the beginning of the Cape Fear Health Foundation Ribbon Walk & Run For a Cure in Fayetteville, North Carolina. This event in Downtown Festival Park worked to raise funds and awareness for the patients and families of cancer patients being treated at Cape Fear Valley. I put together a team called "Crowns For Service," and had a great group of women join me in fundraising and supporting the cause!
If it was not for the incredible healthcare professionals, technology, and innovation at Cape Fear Valley; neither of my grandparents would be here today. My grandma is a colon cancer survivor, and my grandpa is a bladder cancer survivor; both treated at Cape Fear Valley. My grandma and grandpa are two of the most impactful people in my life, and I am thankful for the time I have to share with them.
It is the start of a new month, I encourage you to seek new opportunities, love yourself, say yes a few more times than normal, but above all: Embrace Change.
Things To Look Out For in the Month of May:
1. National Nurse Week May 6th-12th: Join ANA in celebrating the important role nurses play in health care during National Nurses Week, May 6 to 12, 2016.
2. National Hospital Week May 8th-15th: Put on by the American Hospital Association, National Hospital Week celebrates hospitals and the women and men who support the health and wellbeing of their communities through dedication and compassionate care from the heart.
3. North Carolina Hospital Association Advocacy Day on May 24th: During each legislative session, hospital champions from across the state visit the NC General Assembly to advocate for hospitals, our patients, our employees, and our communities. Advocacy Day allows hospitals to meet face-to-face with their legislators to remind them of the important work hospitals do and to encourage members of the General Assembly to know the impacts of legislative decisions on our ability to continue providing high quality care for all in the community. Advocacy Days are coordinated at least once during each legislative session and all member hospitals are encouraged to participate.
Talk to you again in June! :)