Things Change and it’s OK”- Advice from a Nursing Alum

Clockwise from left: NU Commencement in 2009; Machu Picchu - 2008; NU Alumni event at the Red Sox/Giants game in San Francisco 2013; After completing the San Francisco Half Marathon in 2013

Clock­wise from left: NU Com­mence­ment in 2009; Machu Picchu — 2008; NU Alumni event at the Red Sox/​Giants game in San Fran­cisco 2013; After com­pleting the San Fran­cisco Half Marathon in 2013

This guest post was written by Michaela Coté, a 2009 nursing alum and now a Reg­is­tered Nurse on a Med/​Surg floor at Alta Bates Summit Med­ical Center in Oak­land, CA.

I grad­u­ated with my degree in Nursing on May 1, 2009. This year, May 1st fell on a Thursday, a #throw­back­thursday or #tbt to the Insta­gram world. As I scrolled through my Insta­gram app during lunch, #tbt after #tbt popped up of old friends back at their North­eastern grad­u­a­tions. At first I couldn’t believe it. 5 years?! Then I looked around my work break room and down at my faded scrubs I bought on my first coop. Yup, 5 years.

So, here I am. I’ve been out of col­lege as long as I was in col­lege. Time flies, and boy do I need new scrubs. Alas, here’s what I have to share.

Things change and it’s OK. I am a Nurse. When I started col­lege, I was told I could do what­ever I want, wherever I want, and just maybe my stu­dent loans would get paid. When I grad­u­ated, every hos­pital was on a hiring freeze, meaning I couldn’t even pay my stu­dent loans. I got lucky (thanks to a NU con­nec­tion!), and landed a job that would have orig­i­nally been my last choice. I now love my job so much so that I have yet to get a new one. Now, the health­care system has taken a turn and my job is once again on the line. One of the rea­sons I went into health­care was because there would ‘always be jobs’. But, things change and I can’t do a thing about it except make the most of it. The first job you land might not be the one you want, but how do you really know? We are young and we have time. Things will work out, they just do.

Save. From our co-​​op expe­ri­ence of having steady full time jobs, we should be good with money at this point. Whether that’s true or not is another story. Per­son­ally, while my pay­checks may have helped to pay some bills (kind of…), they also made it very pos­sible for me to go in and out of Lord & Taylor sales (which are are AMAZING if you’re not aware). In any case, it’s time to get serious about money with your first offi­cial job. Set up your retire­ment plan and do it before your first pay­check. That way, you’ll never know
how much cash you could be making, and your retire­ment fund will be off to a great start. It’s like you’re putting money away for the Lord & Taylor sales of year 2055, right?!

Loans are mem­o­ries. You have no choice but to pay back your loans, so try to put a pos­i­tive spin on them. Each month when you sit down to make your monthly pay­ment, think about what an amazing time you had at North­eastern. Think about the hours you spent in the caf freshman year. Think of the num­bers of pitchers you drank at Connor’s (that co-​​op pay­checks also funded), and the amount of ‘last calls’ you thought were nec­es­sary at Our House. Think of the life­long friend­ships you made and the laughs you’ve
shared. Think of the ridicu­lous amount of free t-​​shirts you have, the sporting events, the fact that you shopped at Wollaston’s despite the crazy mark ups, the Marino center, T rides, the Pru, being a part of a Red Sox World Series, your co-​​op expe­ri­ences. What­ever it is, you loved North­eastern, you had a great edu­ca­tion and expe­ri­ence, and you are lucky to get a monthly reminder of that. My brother went to a state school and has no loans. Sucker. He gets no reminders of how great col­lege was.

Travel & find a ‘hobby’. You are young and most likely have only your­self to look after. You now accrue vaca­tion time at your new fancy job, and you make real money (hope­fully). You no longer have to study. Your free time is your free time. Go see the world! You have the resources and the time, so get out there and make the most of it before you’re tied down. On that same note, you have FREE TIME. Find some­thing new to do. Take up one of those ‘hob­bies’ job inter­viewers always think you have. Read a book that isn’t a
text­book. Start playing a new sport. Take up a new activity. Make a per­sonal non work and school related goal for your­self. Don’t you dare let this time and freedom waste away.

Con­grat­u­la­tions on your grad­u­a­tion. Go show the world what an amazing person North­eastern helped make you. Use your North­eastern con­nec­tions and brag about your coops. You will do great.

Michaela Coté is a Reg­is­tered Nurse on a Med/​Surg floor at Alta Bates Summit Med­ical Center in Oak­land, CA. Many thanks to her co-​​op advisor, Jacki Diani, for putting her in touch with a past NU pro­fessor who at the time worked at the med­ical center and intro­duced her to a hiring man­ager for an inter­view. Feel free to con­tact her at Michaela.​cote@​gmail.​com