I have had the opportunity to have a life changing experience happen to me, but at the last minute, that life changing experience was pushed away for another one. My family and I were packing our house, put it on the market, and were getting ready to move to Denver, CO, so I could attend Regis University. It is an amazing school that made me feel welcomed and accepted with many programs based on the Jesuit tradition, but their pharmacy program has yet to have a graduating class (but they will soon enough). And, we would all have to move to Denver, and our girls are well established in their schools, school programs, and their dance classes. Saturday July 23rd was our big day to pack boxes, empty rooms, and clean the garage. But, Friday morning I received a call from Shane at Creighton University telling me that I was taken from the alternate pool and accepted in their distant program. That means I have to travel to Omaha, NE, for two weeks each year, but I get to take my classes online from home. After we talked and he congratulated me (and I ensured him that I would make it to Omaha, NE, by Monday morning), he put me on the phone with Mackenzie (Director of Admissions), and explained everything that I needed to do before Monday (and I ensured her that I would make it to Omaha, NE, by Monday morning). They were both so welcoming and excited for me, that getting accepted was almost the second best feeling I had (almost). I was also given personal cell phone numbers so I could call and text questions or concerns throughout the weekend.
So, what does this mean? I found out Friday morning and approximately 12 hours later, I was in my minivan (no more bug driving across the country this time - see this), and 2 days later (27 hours of driving), I was standing on Creighton's campus - soaking in all the sun and the heat and the humidity. So I found AC as fast as I could, because I came from overcast and 65 degrees. By the time I got on campus, I had a room and a roommate ready for me.
When Monday morning rolled around, I had a name tag (not as cool as the one I now have but they had one for me), a binder with all the information I needed for the two weeks, and lots of peopled happy to see me. Mackenzie came over to me and congratulated me again and helped me with any questions I had. I have had interviews at three different pharmacy schools and have visited three others, and none of them compare (well, Regis was close) to the acceptance and warmth you feel when you walk into Welcome Week (or the interviews for that matter). During Welcome Week, we heard from all the different people that it takes to make the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions (SPAHP) run smoothly. One group that we met was OASA (Office of Accedemic and Student Affairs), and if you're super nice (OK, even if you're not super), they will give you one of their little Blue Dudes. I'm super, super nice, so they gave me two.
We also heard from our Chaplin, and she is an amazing lady. I was able to talk with her one-on-one about our girls and some of the lingering problems from their prematurity they have, and she was so supportive and wonderful about the whole situation. She talked with the whole group about the Jesuit belief and the Ignation Values the SPAHP has adapted:
- Finding God in All Things
- Cura Personalis - Care for the whole person
- Magis - More or the greater good
- Men and Women For and With Others
- Faith That Does Justice
Later that day, we had our professionalism ceremony at St. John's Church on Creighton's campus, and it is absolutely beautiful! And here is another amazing act displayed by the staff at Creighton to make me feel welcomed. All the programs for the professionalism ceremony were printed before I was accepted (so my name wasn't on them), but to make me feel part of the group, they added my name and printed two copies just for me. It may seem like a small act, but what an amazing gesture to welcome someone that was just accepted five days prior. Here is a picture of St. John's Church.
One of my classmates found a live camera feed that looks down onto the foutain and steps of the church, so I emailed that to Allison, and she, the girls, her parents, and my nephew watched as I walked in and as we got a class picture after we got our white coats.
I'm in the second row from the bottom, third from the left.
Anyway, that was just my first five days after getting that phone call from Shane on Friday morning. Thursday and Friday we had more welcome week stuff including more training from OLAT on our computers (tablets), reflections with our chaplin, and Shawn and Dr. Padilla made Welcome Week fun, interesting, and accepting. I had met all the staff and faculty by the end of the week, and by Tuesday, I was known as the guy that was called Friday and drove 27 hours to get to campus, but by Friday, I was known as Gregg. I couldn't think of a better name to call what I experience than by its name: Welcome Week.
Saturday, I had CPR, caught a movie, and met and got to know more of my classmates. Sunday was a lazy day of laying around and trying to prepare my mind for a week of labs. And here we are on Monday. What a day! First day of labs was great! I got to sit with four of my classmates at a lab table, balance a... well balance, and weigh and compound a simple (fake) medication. The second half of lab was acting like a pharmacist! We got to transfer a prescription, take prescriptions off of a voicemail, and fill a couple of prescriptions.
As I put off dinner for a few more minutes, I just need to realize that, although I am away from my family right now, I will be home soon and we do not need to move to another state, find new schools for the girls, and a new job for Allison. If I were to review the Ignation Values and see if they apply to my situation, they all do!