10 Things You Should Know About the First Semester of Nursing School

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    A tongue-in-cheek synopsis of the trials and tribulations of a first semester nursing student. This article covers just a few of the many changes I've been through in four months. My transformation at graduation should be nothing short of amazing!

    10 Things You Should Know About the First Semester of Nursing School

    Family Understands; Not!

    1) Even if your family says they understand, they really don't. You may as well tell them, and your friends too, that you are being deployed for 2-4 years, depending on your program. Because you will be MIA every. single. weekend. And most nights too.

    Buy Stock In Paper

    2) Buy stock in Georgia Pacific. Because as much copy paper as you will use, you may as well own part of the company.

    Buy Stock In A Printer

    3) While you are at it, buy stock in Canon or whatever inkjet or laser printer you use. You now own Canon and Georgia Pacific.

    Don't Forget About Your Pets!

    4) Come to terms now with the guilt you will inevitably feel from neglecting cuddle time with your pets. They have an even harder time understanding your absence than your family. Make them homemade treats. It will temporarily assuage your guilt.

    Say Goodbye To Your Beautiful Nails

    5) If you have nice artificial (or even natural) nails, mourn them now. They aren't allowed in clinical. Only short, stubby, unpolished nails are allowed in clinical. It's an infection control thing that you will soon understand. Besides, even with PPE, you will be glad for less nooks and crannies that you have to scrub out after being in the hospital all day, especially if you have a patient who..... oh, never mind...... You'll see.

    No More Haircuts - STUDY!

    6) On that same note, figure out how to get by without a haircut for months at a time. You won't have the time for such inconsequential things as keeping up your appearance. And if you did have the time, you wouldn't have the energy. Because you would be sleeping. And if you aren't sleeping, you will be studying. And if you aren't studying, you will be feeling guilty about not studying..... so you may as well study and save yourself the guilt.

    Failing is BAD!

    7) If you are an A student, get over it. Your As may well become Bs, and that's ok. I haven't cried even one time over a B. And I'm a previous A student. It's not that you are trying less, or that the material is harder (it is), it's that a 90 isn't an A anymore and a 79 isn't even a C. It's now failing. Failing is bad. Bs are not bad.

    You Are Now Boring. Be Proud!

    8) Tell your friends and family that on the rare occasions you see them that you will bore the crap out of them with all the things you've learned. And be proud of it.

    Donuts And Coffe Your Best Friends

    9) Accept that donuts and a coffee from 7/11 is a food group in and of itself.

    Don't Miss Class! Make Plans.

    10) The world doesn't stop turning now that you are in nursing. Unfortunately, things still happen to throw obstacles in your way. Make a plan now for what you will do when Junior barfs all over his teacher's shoes and he needs to be picked up from school. Because you can't miss class, or clinical. Especially not clinical.

    So, now that first semester is wrapping up, I would also add that it has been a huge, life-changing learning experience. I have learned how to study, how not to study, how dirty my car can get and still run, how many ginormous textbooks I can fit into one scrap of zippered nylon, how to tell when the neurons have just totally stopped firing and it's time to stop studying because no more info is being retained anyway..... And now, after exams, a nice, long, well-deserved break is almost here. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, whatever you celebrate!!!
    Last edit by Joe V on May 24, '17
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  3. by   ReginaK
    Love this! Thank you! I will be starting NS in January, and it's cool to hear different aspects of the difficulties. My poor dog!
  4. by   Compassion_x
    Well, #1 varies by families of course. Other than that, this seemed more like my 3rd semester of nursing school lol. The first semester of my program was fairly easy. I had a 4.0 without a ton of studying.
  5. by   Momofzra
    This is spot on. Couldn't have said it any better! (May have thrown in a paragraph about the zillion times we cry and say we can't do this anymore..lol)
  6. by   acedit
    After I walked out of my A&P2 class today, I passed several 1st semester nursing students who were stressing over their upcoming pharmacology exam. Some were crying. Some were cussing. Some were laughing at the sheer frustration of it all. Some of them said they'd see me next semester in MY pharmacology class because they didn't think they'd pass.

    That was pretty eye-opening.
  7. by   EaglesWings21
    I know a lot of people can agree with this, but I cannot. I don't print all the powerpoints; why should I? I can access them on the computer anytime. I quit spending hours on end reading and reading because I wasn't retaining any of that reading. Maybe I learn differently, but I remember things best when I am applying them in the clinical setting.
  8. by   ScubaDog
    This is so spot on. I haven't colored my hair since this summer and no longer worry about wearing makeup to class... If I shower that day, I am happy. I live on coffee and water and any free food that comes my way
  9. by   ahinson07
    Spot on ! Halfway through my first semester of a 15 month ADN program and can relate already. I was an A student, now it's Bs for me and I'm content. No social life and I rarely see my husband, my life is nothing but studying and sleep(occasionally).
  10. by   2k15NurseExtern4u
    Thought about getting a dog, glad I read this.
  11. by   springchick1
    I'm in school, work 40 plus hours a week, and still see my family and friends. I take every Saturday off. No reading (unless it is for pleasure) no school work, no study group. It's my day to me to do what I want. If I didn't have it I would go crazy!!
  12. by   DomJo8
    Thanks so much for sharing this I start NS in January and it's good to get different perspectives!
  13. by   smalltownhero
    thanks for proving that despite all the things we must sacrifice for nursing school, elaborate and extensive posts are still doable. i maintain my grip on hope!
  14. by   nursinghopeful2013
    Same here love your post hits right at home for me cant wait till next week done for a month then back to the grind.