See ya, Indiana

The countdown app that has been programmed to remind me of September 1st for months now told me this morning that there are only three days left until Australia (or– until the flight leaves). So, this week has been full of seeing friends and family, packing, taking advantage of my last days of driving, and soaking in some baby Leo snuggles. #AuntLife

It really doesn’t feel like I’m leaving or that I won’t see some of these people in person for 10 months, maybe because it also really doesn’t feel like I’ll be living in another country in a few days. I’m so ready to board that plane and arrive at my new apartment, to meet up with my new co-workers (who are mostly post-docs or doctoral students), to attend the Victorian Fulbright Alumni get together, and to meet the other U.S. Fulbright post-grad student in Melbourne. I’m more than ready to memorize the tram routes that take me to the hospital/lab campus, the tap dance studio, and to the beach. I’m so glad my Mom (“Mum”) is able to travel with me and help get my apartment all set up and to test out all of the amazing local coffee spots (which I’m told are better than Starbucks)!

More than anything, I can’t wait to get started on my research project and to learn what it really means to be a part of the scientific search for answers to questions about familial cancer syndromes and specifically Fanconi anemia.

So, our flight leaves at 1655 on Sunday the 1st, and we arrive in Melbourne at 0730 on Monday the 3rd. Melbourne is 14 hours ahead of Indiana, so I’m trying to train myself to quickly convert times from home to Oz. When we arrive, we will head to the bank to activate my account and pick up my card, to the property manager to collect my apartment keys, and to my apartment to get all set up. We will also have a to do list for the next few days that includes filling out a Medicare application, decorating my apartment, setting up WiFi, and exploring as much as possible!

So for now: see ya, Indiana…

I’m planning to provide updates here– thanks for following along.

Roots + Wings: Post-grad

Empathy, compassion, curiosity, and a desire to grow in my quest to find new answers for medical treatment and diagnostic questions I didn’t even know existed: these are what fuel me. That, and a passion for the tiny humans, of course (as my badge reel says). ••• For the next year, I won’t be wearing a red scrub top like my peers in the IUH Ball ED or navy blue as in the St. V Peyton Manning NICU, nor will I be wearing a badge with the coveted red “RN” tag hanging below my name and photo. Instead, I have the distinct privilege of taking what I’ve learned in my nursing school clinical experiences and lectures, as well as the knowledge I’ve gained in the emergency department as a patient care assistant & in the neonatal intensive care unit as a researcher, to the other side of the world. Over the course of the next 12 months, I will be quite literally making my own version of what it means to be a registered nurse committed to the advancement of her profession.

While I have been wrestling with how exactly this life transition is going to happen and whether or not I would pass my boards [the NCLEX-RN exam]— and yes, I did!— I’ve realized in the short span of a month since graduation that perhaps I’m not supposed to follow my “safe” or “automatic” next life step. While working three 12-hour night shifts per week assuming primary nursing care of critically ill newborns in the largest level IV NICU in the state still sounds like a challenging but oh-so-rewarding dream, I know that I need to fill my own cup before I can pour into others. Being a part of FA research fills my cup. Don’t worry— I still plan on being the best neonatal health care provider I can be when I return to the states. This is just the beginning. Perhaps I’ll be able to take the 21 years of life I’ve grown in Muncie and spread my wings more than ever over the next single year in Melbourne, and I believe it will be exactly what I need to begin my professional career.

As I’ve felt the relief this week of passing the most important test in my life thus far, and as I’ve slowly checked off the vital Aussie-to-do list:

Official acceptance agreements [✔️]

Visa application [✔️]

Flight booked [ ]

Apartment lease signed [ ]

…I’ve been reflecting on how I got here and what dream I can dream next. One thing is for certain: my cloud nine is completely different than anyone else’s, so it’s only natural that my post-grad plans include cultural immersion in big city livin’, developing my nurse-scientist skills, and hopefully some happy feet + baby feet. It’s time to use my roots to find my wings. 85 days to the big move; I’m ready. 😌

—Hannah Lily, BSN, RN 👩🏼‍⚕️👣🌇🧬

Roots and Wings in College

To appreciate the people and places who have played a role in making me who I am and to explore new spaces and ideas are the two main missions of my life in college. In other words, I want to dedicate this space to the details of my possession of both roots and wings in my undergraduate experience. As a Ball State University student who grew up in Muncie, I like to say that I am no stranger to campus. I find that my roots are undeniably grounded in this city after spending nearly 20 years here. When I began my freshman year of college in August of 2015, I didn’t know much beyond a few simple facts: I was a Whitinger Scholar, an Honors Student, and determined to make an impact on my community and my campus.  Now, two and a half years later, I look back on my time spent at Ball State thus far and feel blessed to call this place — where I have learned, explored, served, and danced — my home. This home, however, is not an anchor that holds me down. BSU’s newest brand campaign is titled “We Fly,” which depicts the image of the Beneficence statue and ties in the concept of students as cardinals in order to symbolize rising to our greatest potential, reaching out to those around us, and impacting our world with the values of excellence, integrity, responsibility, and diversity. Congruent with this metaphor of taking flight, I have most certainly found my wings at Ball State.

Though I have numerous, diverse passions, one of my biggest joys in life is when I get to use my roots to extend my wings. In these instances where I am able to impact both my campus and my Muncie community, I find I grow personally as a reflection of each experience. I endeavor to spend my time in college taking advantage of each opportunity presented to me, especially those which allow me to use both my roots and my wings.

As I listen to the performance of “Flight” from BSU’s brand reveal on Monday, I’m working to refine my own personal brand to best represent who I am. I hope to explain these past and current moments of exploration and use of my roots and wings here in the coming weeks. Thank you for reading, and leave a comment below — I would appreciate feedback on what you would enjoy reading about in the future.