Is the first semester really the hardest? - page 2

by leekaye | 8,175 Views | 30 Comments

I'm nearing the end of a very rough first semester mentally, emotionally and physically drained (literally sick with pneumonia from trying to push myself when I got bronchitis). I've lost 20+ pounds from stress since this... Read More


  1. 0
    You obviously do NOT have a bad attitude. You are in a challenging situation and have added pressure while at the same time your body is busy fighting an infection.

    Nursing school gets harder as time goes on, but you will also adapt. You'll find ways to balance home/work/school so that you can get through the school years.
  2. 0
    All time goes on, the information b/c more involved and expectations are higher with clinicals. However, you start finding you niche, so time management will take over. First semester was hard for me b/c it was the first time I was introduced to medical terms, critical thinking, and rationalization. I was used to math and science classes. Nursing school just took up so much time. I had no life for a couple years, but that's what I had to do. Other people had an easier time, but I discovered that I needed to study more than the average person. You will find your niche.
  3. 0
    It gets harder, but that "awkwardness" associated with your first clinical goes away so that aspect becomes easier.
  4. 0
    My instructor is a drill sgt instructor. At first, I was really irritated with certain things she did and she always put pressure on us. She definitely didn't hold our hand, if we had a problem with something, she'd just ask us, "well, what are you gonna do about it?" it was hard at first because I felt like I didn't get any guidance what so ever. But as the semester went on and the more I complained to my husband (who is in the military) about it, I learned that she was only prepping us for the real world. My husband told me that he thinks she's doing a great job, despite my bitterness towards the way she was. He told me that, he, too, does that to his soldiers, he wants to teach them to find their own solutions. He said he doesn't feel that he's not guiding them because basic training and regular training has already gave them all the information they need, he wanted them to apply it with no help from him so they can develop critical thinking skills. He found the best results was to let them figure it out on their own and slowly they start to figure it out. Of course he wouldn't let them drown though. Further into the semester, I'm understanding the method to my instructors madness. She would tell different clinical groups different things or tell one group one thing an forget to tell the other group. Well, it forced us al to rely on each other and work together and instead of running to her for every small problem, we'd find our own solution first, mostly just because we didn't want to ask her and get that "look". LOL. But she's just preparing us because when you DO go into the real working world, nobody is going to hold your hand, and they all will expect you to know what to do and take initiative without asking someone for information every other minute. Good luck, and hang in there!
  5. 1
    I am in the 4th semester of a 5 semester BSN program and I WISH the first semester was the hardest. It's mostly a culture change in the first semester. Everything is new from labs to assessment to even your classmates. In my school the workload gets heavier as you go along.

    I can't remember the first semester assignments, but I know they weren't anywhere near the volume of the ones I have in this semester. This semester I am taking psych, public health & foundations which entail: 2 solo presentations, 2 group presentations, 16 quizzes, 4 exams, 2-15+ page solo papers, 2-15+ page group papers, 1 online FEMA class, 3 group assignments, 12 journal entries and 2 small papers

    I don't want to scare you, but you have to put it into perspective. In the beginning your school knows you are just getting the hang of things from clinicals to nursing diagnosis. Towards the end, as in my case, they expect us to be well on our way to being professional nurses. You are given more because you can handle more (or so I keep telling myself!) Your number one skill will be organization - and my biggest piece of advice is NEVER, EVER fall behind.

    Good luck! Nursing school is a witch, but when you are done you can look back and say I did that!!
    virgo,student nurse likes this.
  6. 0
    I'm sorry to say that once you move on, you'll probably miss 1st semester!
    I, too, felt very stressed and overwhelmed during the first semester. It's to be expected--it's our first time doing this type of work. Don't worry about doing primarily CNA and med work; you just need to get used to hospital care.
    They will add more skills, and you will use your brain in time.

    I am a second semester student, and when I reflect back on my first semester, I think "That wasn't so bad after all..."
    There is much more brain work in 2nd semester. I love it when I come up with the answers on my own, at times, but other times, I miss having someone directing me. At least then I could be confident I was doing the right thing.

    And as for the teacher yelling at you, don't take it personally. It's happened to every nursing student I know. You get used to it in time, especially when you remember when they are doing it is on behalf of the patient.
  7. 0
    Hang in there; if your program is like mine you will never have that same instructor for clinicals again so it HAS to get better
  8. 0
    My 1st semester was my worst. If you lost 20lbs in a semester and had pneumonia, maybe your body needs a semester to recover/rest. You can only take so much. Have you considered taking a "leave of absence" for a semester? Do you have to work while in school? Good luck.
  9. 0
    As others have said, first semester is challenging because nursing school is like nothing you've ever done before. That first semester gets you adjusted to new words, new ways of thinking, and new ways of taking exams. In hindsight, it was my easiest semester. Content gets more difficult as you go along, my third semester was my hardest. You get used to it though, hang in there!
  10. 0
    I think first semester can be the hardest for many students. Is the content the trickiest? No it definitely gets more in depth.

    But you're having to adjust your life to being a full time student and balance all the pressures outside of school. I think it's a lot tougher for a student such as yourself with a husband, children, and a job. Presumably you've been out of school for a few years so it's an adjustment getting back into it.

    You had the drive to get into school and I think you have what it takes to get through it, too. Be open with your professors about your home-school-work-pneumonia situation, do your best, give lots of time on assignments. Remind your family things are going to be different for a few years while you're in school. You'll find your way through all the chaos.

    Best of luck.


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