I am currently a Nursing Student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Each class in our program consists of 150 students–primarily women. I believe that our college experience is different from the average college student. We all take our classes together; for example, we all have the same schedule. Furthermore, we work together in smaller groups in the hospital setting, which has allowed us to experience things, learn, and grow in ways that are different from the typical classroom setting. This different atmosphere that the Nursing School has fostered allows our class to form a close community.
When creating these memes, I tried to channel the thoughts and experiences that we faced as UMich Nursing Students–not only my class. These experiences stem from our classes, rules of the Nursing School, homework, and clinicals. I want the audience to understand that we come from all different and eclectic backgrounds that have brought us to choose the path of nursing. Because we are students learning the skills of nursing, we still experience instances of confusion and frustration from our classes or homework. These instances of confusion and frustration inspired my meme collection. Many non-nursing students think that the nursing major is an easy major. However, this is not the case. We face early hours and learn skills and technique that we must hone–all of which are mandatory skills needed for our future career. We deal with people’s wellbeing and lives.
Now, on a less serious note, I want to explain my creative process. Each meme depicts a nursing student, as shown by the nurse uniform (scrubs) and the books that she’s carrying. Though she looks happy and calm, the captions say otherwise–which adds to the irony. For my first meme, I decided to poke fun at the nursing student mindset when they first begin college. When entering college, we tend to have NO clue what we’re doing. People can ask us, “What medication should I take?” or “What’s wrong with me? What should I do?” However, even when they ask us these questions, we pretend to know things–even though we have no understanding of what is possibly going on. We like to take on that “caring” and “nursing” role, even when we have no knowledge of anything related to nursing. People asking first year nursing students is equivalent to asking any stranger on the street. I believe that we like the title of being “a nurse,” but we probably don’t deserve it–at least until sophomore year.
For the second meme, it stems from the worst class to ever exist: pharmacology. Though this is a very important class, and one that we definitely need in our future career, it was the bane of everyone’s existence. This class made us study for hours and hours on end for two months in advance for the midterm and final. This class made us antisocial and wish for the semester to be over. Most importantly, with a class so focused on tiny details and memorizing–what seemed to be–a million facts, this class killed us all (mentally and emotionally that is). A little insight into the class is depicted in this meme. When studying drug information, we need to know each little side and adverse effect that each drug can possibly cause. At the end of the course, we learned that every drug can cause three of the same side and adverse effect: nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Lastly, for the third meme, it is inspired by the rules set by the School of Nursing. The School of Nursing rulebook states that achieving 73% or less in a class or exam results in a failing grade. Furthermore, if you receive that failing grade, the student has either one of two choices: stay behind for one entire academic year and retake the course with the grade below in the following year OR drop out of Nursing School and join the College of LSA as undeclared. This affects at least 30 students per semester and really scares the majority of students. Unlike nursing students, other students with different majors have different criteria: getting 50% or below is failing and sometimes there are curves that benefit everyone. However, we don’t have any of that. It’s one thing to fail, but we literally have to be “above average.” We don’t really have a plan B; it’s nursing or nothing.
This process was cathartic for me; I want the audience to vicariously understand our experiences through these memes. However, with these memes directed to the UMich Nursing School community, I want the audience to have a laugh. I want them to understand that many nurses in the school understand and share the difficulties that are experienced throughout nursing school. We have all had the same thoughts before. Regardless of what grades we earn or the hardships we must face to learn skills to apply to different situations, we are nurses. It’s more than just a career, it’s a lifestyle.
By: Cindy Wang