Not becoming a nurse

137      As summer of 2009 dragged on, I began wondering what I would do next for living in Mountain Home. In 1988, I had applied to graduate school in hopes of getting a good job in Mountain Home but there are very few good jobs in this rural Arkansas town. I had tried construction work in this area before and decided that since I was approaching 60 years old I didn't want to try again because the wages were low and the work was undependable. As many people say here, "anyone but a hammer calls himself a carpenter." I wasn't about to try that business again but there were not many other options. One option that seemed to be on the horizon would be to go into nursing.

138      After all, I had a degree in biology, I had a lifetime of work experience, Sheila was a nurse, the United States has an aging population which needed nurses, Mountain Home was a retirement area with many old people needing nursing care, and the local community college had a one-year nursing program for licensed practical nurses. I decided to apply and was admitted. I should've known better. I've never liked studying anything that dealt with humans because as an ecologist I felt there was a need to protect the environment rather than protecting humans. I've always disliked anything dealing with blood or dissection or any scientific research related to humans. I simply thought there were plenty of people studying humans and I really enjoyed studying less well-known fields of biology.

139      Almost immediately, I was very disappointed by the nursing program at the Arkansas State University – Mountain Home campus. I would quickly learn that many wasteful, useless, unproductive, and, in my opinion, idiotic methods were being used to teach in the late 2000 at the college level. "I don't give lectures," one professor said. "If you want lectures there's a CD in the back of your book. I'm only here to help you understand things and to explain things for you." When I heard that, I was dumbstruck. How idiotic! I'd given lectures and sat through many a lecture myself. For a professor to say she did not give lectures astounded me. But that was how the system worked. The teachers had no time to teach and rarely attempted to teach.

140      The education of nurses was done at lightning speed. Topics that deserved a full semester of classwork were crammed into three days, such as anatomy and physiology. I had taken classes in vertebrate anatomy and a vertebrate physiology. The teachers were trying to teach so quickly that they made numerous mistakes, in my opinion. I almost immediately felt out of place. But I felt like I needed a good job for the last several years of my career and thought that nursing would be an appropriate choice. I thought maybe my attitude changed over the years. It had not.

141      I decided to drop out. Unfortunately, I had taken the place of someone who would have succeeded at getting a nursing degree. But sometimes a person makes mistakes and I had made a major one. As I was getting my haircut the next Tuesday, the hairstylist recommended I asked for a tuition refund. It dawned on me that the deadline might not have past and that I should at least ask. I'd made another mistake. Had I gone into the office Monday I would have received more than $1000 in a refund. Because it was Tuesday in the deadline had passed the head of the college personally refused to give me any sort of refund. I know it is the student’s responsibility to know the rules and regulations but I was extremely disappointed that the professors had not told me about this the previous Thursday.

142      I sent read other reports in the newspaper of the crazy way that the college was operating and quickly decided I wanted nothing to do with it. For example, someone complained that the fancy gates at the entrance of the college had been built through a no-bid contract by a relative of someone high up in the college hierarchy. Previous professors have also complained publicly in the newspaper of how the college was operated. I was extremely disappointed.