The decision to apply for nursing school has been floating around in my head now for a few years. It was certainly a tough decision to make. With a reasonably successful career already well under way as a Visual Effects Artist and Animator I struggled to find the courage to take the plunge. I guess its mostly because I’ve invested so much time and money into my current career, from starting and maintaining a fledgling studio, through to completing 2 courses in both Film & television, and 3D animation, putting myself tens of thousands of dollars into debt, it seemed a waste to throw it all away for a career where none of those skills are relevant.
I think I wouldn’t have made the decision if it wasn’t for my volunteer work as First Responder with the local ambulance, and a community responder with the State Emergency Service. Positions I’ve thoroughly enjoyed for the past 5+ years. I even met my partner through the SES. But I think it was this that kept the fire burning for me. I’ve always enjoyed helping people, especially those in need, I’m quite prone to going out of my way to help those in need around me, with no expectation of repayment or reward. It’s just part of being human I always thought. But it is also because of these positions that I’ve matured tremendously in the 5 short years since I signed up.
Looking back it was a rather naive decision, as an 18-year-old hot shot who thought he was invincible. I thought I knew what I was signing up for…. I’ve never been more wrong… Through those experiences I saw the very worst in people, but I also saw the best in others, I’ve seen people at their most vulnerable, and others at their defining moment. I’ve seen the most despicable acts anyone can commit, and I’ve seen some of the most beautiful acts of humility. But through all that, I’ve gone to bed many times thinking, “If I wasn’t there, they probably wouldn’t be going home to their family”. And I think that’s what I was missing in my previous career, the satisfaction of knowing I’ve made a profound impact on someone’s life that day.
And so in September of 2013 I was browsing university courses in Nursing and suddenly realised something that took me by surprise, I met the prerequisites for a degree in nursing! So I did more research, gathering as much information as I could and decided to apply. I couldn’t think of a reason not to after all. I still wasn’t entirely sure if it was something I really wanted to do yet, I kept thinking to myself “you’re an idiot! What are you doing!?!” I struggled with what others would think. How would my friends and family respond to pursuing a predominantly female career, and more importantly, how would my patients respond to having a male nurse? I don’t know what, but something drove me to keep filling out the application. And so I did just that, all the while never honestly believing I had a chance. I finished off the application, listed my preferences and paid the fee. Sent off a copy of my previously completed Film Diploma, along with just about everything else they requested, and then the unthinkable happened. I received an email from my previous University saying that they couldn’t release my results for the 3D Animation course yet, results I needed to complete my application. I was devastated. There it was, my opportunity to follow a true passion, shot down before it could even begin by some damn red tape.
And so I resigned myself to my Animation career. Perhaps it’s simply not meant to be. In November I finished off the movie I was working on and started making plans to expand the studio in preparation for a multi-million dollar project that was coming up early in 2014. This project would certainly make my career and set me up as a serious artist on a global stage…
…And then, one late night in January, it happened….
There was an email sitting in my inbox, it stood out from the rest. I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a beat, my stomach turned into a knot, getting tighter and tighter as my mouse got closer and closer to the email. I hesitantly clicked it. And there it was, I had received an offer to enroll in the nursing degree. I couldn’t believe it, it was the strangest feeling. It was a feeling of intense excitement! joy, happiness, excitement all in one. There it is, I made it! This feeling quickly gave way to panic. What am I going to do? I’m supposed to be working on another movie in a few months! Who’s going to take over? Can anyone take over? How am I going to afford to go to University? Can I even afford to go back to Uni? So many questions, so much uncertainty… but I know one thing for sure about that night… I had the biggest smile on my face when I clicked that “Accept Offer” button.
And the rest? well…. we’re just getting started….