GRACE’S VIEW: Having a backup plan

Grace’s View | Grace Fowler

If there is one thing that college has taught me — besides the fact that I can never do enough studying or get enough sleep — it is that I always need to have a backup plan. When in doubt, plan for everything to go wrong and have a Plan B, Plan C and even a Plan D in some cases.

This point was enforced in my first year seminar class. We talked a lot about getting into medical school and the professor made it clear that the odds are definitely not in your favor. We learned that the best advice for students applying to med school is to always have a backup plan.

Coming out of an undergraduate education, some students will apply for med school right away and just keep chugging on the train of education. Other students feel they might need more time to mature or just want to take a breather from the classroom. I have talked to several people who are doing this. Some plan to work for a year and then apply for med school. Others plan to travel for a year before they are completely drowning in med school.

I realized, after a few months of college, that I didn’t want to go to med school. I do not love school and couldn’t imagine putting myself through the commitment to the classroom and then residency that is required. It was a hard realization for me because I do love medicine and letting go of the idea of medical school meant letting go of a longtime dream.

I had a difficult time deciding what my next step would be. I debated between becoming a nurse, a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner. At the end of the day, they are all fairly similar and I am confident I will be happy with whichever path I follow.

This spring, I applied to the nursing program. Unfortunately, after a lot of hard work and worrying, I found out I was not accepted into the program. The news threw me into a bit of a tailspin, but I will reapply in the fall.  Of course, now I wonder what will happen if I don’t get in the second time either?

I have registered for classes next semester and followed as closely as I could with what is required in the nursing program. My back up plan isn’t specific like “If A, then B.” Instead it’s more of a mindset. If I don’t get in, it’s not a life or death situation and I will be OK. I know I eventually will be a nurse. I just might not follow a clear-cut path to getting there. I constantly have to remind myself to enjoy today, be happy with right now and stop freaking out about what could be.

Grace Fowler is a Greenville High School graduate and a Hope College freshman. She can be reached at


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