So my kid wants to be a nurse

And I really couldn’t be more proud. She has developed into quite a remarkable young woman, with a number of achievements already under her belt: she will be earning her Associates degree in liberal arts along with her high school degree, she has won her local regional science fair for her work on tarantula behavior and molting (and will be attending the international portion of the fair), and she has been accepted into all the BSN programs that she has applied to for this coming Fall semester, including one especially highly regarded in the country. It’s been her dream to attend this university since she was in grade school, and her father and I desperately want to make it happen for her, but financially, it would mean incurring a lot of debt.

There is a school, several hours away, in a major metropolitan area, that has offered her free tuition, and we would need to only cover room and board. We went to visit that school yesterday, and while they have a wonderful new facility for their nursing majors, my daughter isn’t thrilled with the school. It is a women’s college, it is small, and has a religious affiliation. Knowing my daughter, I realize she wont be happy spending 4 years of her life there. And despite her academic achievements, it is the only school that offered her a significant scholarship to attend. She has applied for many other scholarships, but they do not announce the awards until after we need to commit to a university.

This is hard. We’ve hit some major financial obstacles recently, and if it weren’t for those, our deposit would have already been made to “Dream School U.” She is being level headed about it, and realizing that incurring a huge amount of debt for her first degree isn’t the most fiscally responsible thing to do. But have you ever wanted to give something to your child so bad that it makes you ache inside?

She is going to be a phenomenal nurse. She comes home with stories from her volunteering time at the local ED, describing how she wants to jump into the fray and help the nurses, and she has already so much in the way of basic protocol for things like a patient presenting with chest pain. Of course, my bestie from nursing school works in that ED, and has helped nurture that in my daughter.

And this week, as we explored the nursing programs, and she toured the sim labs, she never hesitated to jump right in and become involved in any way the tour guides allowed. I am seriously, seriously, proud. I really cant wait to see where her nursing career takes her, because she is clearly going to make an impact in people’s lives.

How will we make this decision? Do we go for practicality for 4 years, despite me knowing she will not be happy at “Paid For U?” Or do we throw caution to the wind, let her get her education at “Dream School U,” let the debt mount, and hope for a future that allows us to help her pay down her debt?