Many people I talked with about my living situation were shocked to find out I was homeless. “You’re a nursing student? Are you homeless?” they asked me in astonishment.
I was not the lone Californian student with bad luck and timing who could afford a room. However, many people believed homelessness was something only people with no potential would experience. Unfortunately, I am an excellent example of a Californian student who had good luck and timing and could afford a room.
It just so happened that I am an excellent example of a Californian student who just had bad luck and timing and could not pay for my room. My family members in San Diego had told me that I would not be able to live with them any longer; I had little money in the bank, much less enough to rent an apartment or room. If I returned to my parents in San Francisco, I would have a place to stay, but I would not be able to attend my nursing classes, and I would have to reapply for another nursing program in a college in that area.
After entering nursing school, I had long hospital rotations and excused myself from sleeping in my car. Sometimes I would go to the 24/7 libraries to get some sleep and fall asleep there. I purchased a membership at LA Fitness and took a shower at the gym. I even had time to style my hair in the changing room. Some people said they couldn’t help me until I found a job as a nurse. I hope things will get easier.
In the news recently, I heard that one homeless student got an abortion, and her boyfriend kicked her out. Luckily, I don’t have time for a boyfriend, and I cannot even have a proper meal because of my long rotations and preparation for the test. I haven’t even spoken to my parents in months. I know my dad got COVID, which was the only time I could reach them. I couldn’t tell them I was homeless because they already had a lot going on.
Most of my classmates have families, children, and husbands. They manage their lives and talk to each other as if people like me are inferior. Not one person wants to help, and I understand that I must fix this myself. Since I was a child, we were poor. My mom is a cancer survivor; therefore, she could not work for a long time because she fainted at work, and the boss said she would be a liability to them. My dad had two jobs, so I wish to work near them and help them as much as possible. I hope that my nursing career will make a positive impact on their lives as well.
I have to change my scrubs more frequently than others because of the lack of home laundry. I have no home and no laundry. Therefore, I bought five scrubs each day for school and the hospital. I have everything in five for school—five pairs of socks, five undershirts, and five underwear. Once the week is up, I go to a local laundromat and wash everything for the next week. I keep whatever is supposed to be for school organized and neat. I do not wear those clothes on the weekend. I try to sleep on the weekends.
I only pay all of my bills online because I have no physical address for my mail to be delivered to. I have a phone and a bunch of credit cards. I canceled Netflix because they increased the price, and I do not have time for those shows. In the past semester, I got a B- on one of my tests, which was my wake-up call. I need to ensure that I do not get any B’s in the future because I intend to get my nursing degree and open my clinic for people like me. I believe that homeless people are mistreated and suffer unnecessarily.
Now, it’s time for me to take care of things. It’s time to make a change.