It wasn’t easy, but you finally got accepted into nursing school. Little did you know, that was the easy part. Now comes the real work: surviving it all.
In nursing school, you’re given mountains of information to process and little time to do it in. To say the least, it can be overwhelming. When you find yourself getting frustrated and thinking it’s impossible, remember that many came before you and survived. Here’s our survival guide to help you join their ranks.
1. Have a game plan
At the start of the semester, buy a personal organizer and record every meeting, test and lab, and even reserved studying time. Of course the semester has barely started so there’s much to come, but at least get yourself ahead of the game.
2. Learn the art of time management.
You’ll have a lot of classes, study groups, group projects and lab times; plus, you have to eat and sleep somewhere in there. Be diligent about how you spend your time on each area requiring your attention. Developing a study plan from the start will help you not be overwhelmed later on.
3. Be OK with your life being on hold
In nursing school, you will eat, sleep and bleed nursing. It will consume most, if not all, of your free time. You’re not just working toward a piece of paper, you’re working toward a new life. Keep that in mind when you feel like you’ve done nothing but study for weeks on end.
4. Surround yourself with good people
It can be friends, family, co-workers or fellow students, but find good people to fill your life with during nursing school. A core group of people who have your best interest at heart will push you when you need it most and have your back when you need a sounding board.
5. Be your own biggest cheerleader
Affirm and re-affirm yourself as much as possible. Make it a point to tell yourself you’re doing a good job every day and remind yourself why you’re doing this. Place notes of affirmation on your mirror or send yourself cell phone reminders. Whatever it takes to keep your head in the right place, do it.
6. Put yourself to the test
With so much information coming at you so quickly, it’s helpful to continually reinforce what you’re learning. Textbooks and websites are full of practice tests that can help prepare you for the real thing. In today’s technological world, there’s even an app for that. Knowing you’ve already aced a practice test can help make the real test less intimidating.
7. Celebrate big and small victories
Graduation, the big reward, can seem like a long way away. When your goal isn’t in sight, it makes putting the work in now seem even more difficult. So, find ways to reward yourself along the way to graduation. Choose small rewards for tests and projects and bigger rewards for semester’s end. Don’t underestimate the importance of having something to look forward to now.
8. Don’t panic
When you have a big test tomorrow and you’re struggling with the material and there’s no one around to help you, now would seem like the perfect time to panic. But the truth is, there’s never a perfect time to panic. In fact, there’s never been a time when panicking improved a situation’s outcome. Regroup and begin again.
9. Know your breaking point
You can’t study 24/7, and there comes a moment when you’re done for the day. The trick is to recognize that moment. Staying up later and pushing harder won’t bring you back from that point. All you’ll do is waste valuable sleeping time. When you feel you’ve got nothing left to give, go to bed. Wake up and regroup. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
A final thought
This survival guide won’t be perfect for every student. We all study and learn differently. Take this guide and make it your own. And, again, you will survive.
Thanks for reading,