Some things from my boxes I can’t throw away. Yet. I was doing fine with my purge until the final box labeled jobs/MS/PhD. In other words, my nursing career and advanced degrees in nursing. As I paged through the piles of papers I had saved, every memory came springing back.


Job application letters, letters of acceptance, letters of resignation.

Teaching paraphernalia–syllabi of courses I’d developed, along with forms for various clinical assignments, exams, summaries of course evaluations.

Advanced degrees–papers I’d written during my master’s and doctoral programs, papers (and slides) I’d presented at research conferences, unbound copies of my master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation.

Perusing the banker’s box full of these papers that at one time I’d deemed important enough to save, I was surprised by the immediate time travel back to being seated in those job interviews; standing in front of multiple classrooms, lecture notes in hand; meeting students before the first day of mental health nursing clinicals with my detailed instruction sheets (“don’t wear jeans–not blue, not green, not red”); taking the IC (lllinois Central train-yes, I still had a schedule), now the Metra, that I took from the south suburbs to the University of Illinois for my MS and PhD. And so much more.

It was too much to take in during one marathon session. I could not blithely pitch the piles into my shredder box. I decided I would pack most of it back up and schedule another session with those oh so poignant memories!

Wish me luck. It’s my goal this week to revisit all of it. As I told a friend, if I do choose to save it, I’m certain the granddaughter or grandson of my now 12-year-old granddaughter will most certainly want to get a PhD in nursing and will be thrilled to know that I, her great-great-great something, will have saved a box that outlines an academic career in nursing in the second half of the twentieth century! My “data” could become the topic of his or her research! That and a copy of Caring Lessons, of course.

an assortment of name pins and IDs