: something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time
In my twenty-seven years of existence, I’ve had quite a number of dreams. As a kid, I wanted to become a doctor, a pediatrician to be exact, a teacher, and an actress. Gee, looking back at it now, I can’t help but laugh at myself – I had such high hopes, can you believe it?
Fast forward to the day that is today, a lot has changed. Some childhood dreams got washed away by time and the need to be practical. I ended up as a nurse, basically because I got drawn to the promise of a bright future. Yes, the reality of the nursing profession here in the Philippines continues to stupefy me however way or angle I look at it. Even then, what kept nurses afloat despite the horrendous working hours and the menial pay was the hope that one day, they’d be able to seek a better opportunity abroad and live decently. This same thing has kept me going for nearly three years working as a nurse in one of the most prestigious hospitals in the country. I relied on three things, and God knows that it took more than that and sheer will to get to where I am today. Every day, I had to repeat these words to myself: Better life. Stable job. Income that is going to be more than enough for bills and basic needs.
You’re probably wondering where I am writing this from. If you must know, I’m still here in the Philippines, but God-willing, I hope to be in the UK soon. Yes, you heard it right. That’s where I’m headed and this blog series will be on all accounts of what has happened from day one, what is happening and what will happen to me when I get there. I am way, way behind in my writing, as I’ve come up with this idea not even 48 hours ago. But hold me down to it, I will try my damnedest to recount everything that took place from the time I decided to embark on this journey.
So now, where do I begin? Hmmmm, let me see. It was 2016. September. I had grown weary from days and nights spent being a nurse. It sure had its perks, which I did get to enjoy most, if not all. 😉 The sad truth was, no matter how much working with the rest of the team felt like bonding with family, my exhaustion finally took a toll on me. I realized I wasn’t happy anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a nurse. I wouldn’t have stayed being one if I really didn’t feel passionate about it. It just got to a point where I paused momentarily, looked at myself, and asked “Is this still worth it?” Aside from the fact that I was clearly experiencing the cardinal signs of what you may call a “burn out,” much of my frustration resulted from the inequity that is – how inversely proportional every nurse’s pay grade is to the amount of workload he bears. I was part of the industry for a while and with my own eyes I saw how nurses grappled just to make ends meet. I was one of them.
It was heartbreaking, bearing this in mind every time you had to go into work. But my inner resolve was much stronger than I imagined – when every day felt like a quitting moment, a mental picture would flash right before my eyes and remind me that in 5-10 years, all the hardships would pay off. That kept me going, what urged me to wake up and brace yet another 8 or sometimes 12-hour shift without breaks in between. You have no idea what it feels like to put this all down into writing. Surreal. I feel like I deserve to score an Olympic medal or an Oscar trophy. Haha. 😁
Going back, it was late last year when I ended up fooling around with the idea of working abroad. To be honest, while I have considered the possibility of a life away from friends and family, I haven’t really made a solid decision about it yet. It seemed pretty tempting, especially when a lot of your colleagues are doing the same thing. Bandwagoner, I guess that’s me. 🙂 Out of curiosity, I managed to send out resumés to one or two recruitment agencies. One thing led to another, and to cut the long story short, I got a job as a nurse in the UK. It all happened so fast, that none of it even registered to me at first glance. Suspension of disbelief. This is how I would phrase that moment. More than ecstatic, I felt a whole lot of emotions overwhelm me. I felt worried and anxious because not only did I have to physically and emotionally condition myself to take in what would be – the biggest change in my life – the immediate need was for me prepare myself mentally. Just when you thought you’re already done with exams, you realize that life is one hell of a test. No way you and I are getting out of this, brotha. 🤣
Anyway, in order for me to jump-start my Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) application, two exams were deemed necessary – one is this English proficiency exam called the IELTS, and the other is a nursing competency exam, which is the CBT.
Join me as I open the next chapter of this blog series with my experience sitting the IELTS. Crazy things happened along the way and I’m looping you in with all the juicy details.
See you around,