Written by Marilyn Pendelton, RN, MEd, LNC, CSN
Now that the months of May and June have come to completion, we must recognize the impact that graduations have upon students, their families and the education community. My four graders openly articulated anticipated losses when the school year progressed towards closure. The frequency of their visits intensified, visiting me at the start of the school day, during their lunch periods and at the end of the day. The recurring theme of their conversations, “Miss Marilyn, I feel like I’m going to cry.” “I’m so sad; I won’t be going to the same school with my friends.” “I’m going to miss you and my teacher’s”. The weeks leading up to move-up day ceremonies were filled to the brim with emotions. One student stated, “People keep telling me ‘don’t feel sad and that I’ll make new friends’.” Despite the overwhelming influx of injured and sick students’, conferencing with parents, and coordinating care with various agencies, it was imperative that I took the time to educate the children that what they were experiencing was completely normal and they were entitled to their feelings.
Move up day arrived and the ceremonies commenced! Many smiles illuminated the auditorium. Accompanying the smiles were numerous sobbing students, males as well as females. Smiles…sobs…smiles. I promised them I would show up with Kleenex.
They checked to see if I were true to my word.
On a very personal perspective, what a momentous occasion receiving my bachelor’s degree from Widener University many, many years ago. No tears at commencement for me. The toughest part was transitioning from the role of a temporary summer employee/college student to working full-time as a nurse with a car payment. I described it as short of traumatic. I felt blind-sided. No more fancy-free life of a college co-ed. I had difficulty accepting my newly assigned position in life. When the following fall semester arrived, I visited the campus no less than weekly until I finally settled into my new life as a working adult.
Summer break is now in full swing; consider the changes or the end in familiar patterns of behavior. Patterns and behaviors established over the last ten months. One mother would call me first thing in the morning at least 3 to 5 days a week when her son was had complications related to a chronic illness that required follow up by the school nurse. Melancholy feelings related to the loss of relationships can affect not only students (pre-k through college) but also cafeteria staff, parents, custodians, teachers, administrators, crossing guards, and yes even the school nurse. As the multitude of students embark on a new chapter in their lives, do not forget to offer a word of encouragement, a hug or a listening ear.
This is dedicated to the class of 2012. CONGRATULATIONS!!
Marilyn Pendelton, RN, MEd, LNC, CSN
Heal. Inspire. Educate. Empower.