First week of school down...what have I done!

  1. 0
    I know, I know...another "OMG" thread by another naive first semester newcomer. I just need to let it out.

    I just wrapped up my first week of nursing school. I had fundamentals as a prereq, so this semester is pharmacology and med-surg. My entire first 8-hour lecture day was spent going over the syllabus, ADN manual, and signing and turning in papers and information. Up until about lunchtime that day, I was so very excited about school. I fully expected it to be a lot of information. I was totally shell-shocked in spite of that. One of my instructors actually told us that "all of the horror stories you hear about nursing school are true." I wanted to cry, right then. I have lost sleep all week, and been so depressed. I went from being very excited and nervous, to totally terrified and overwhelmed and questioning my ability to do this. I know that a large part of that is because I am facing something new and unknown. I tend to have great anxiety over things like that. Even so, I have never been so scared and overwhelmed. We have a quiz and paper due next week, and I don't even know where to begin to study. It is SO much! I feel like I'm drowning in the first week. Every instructor on the first day totally beat out of me my mantra of "If they can do it, I can do it too." And replaced it with "haha...good luck."

    I don't really have a point to this post besides just venting. I have felt swamped and defeated all week, and nobody else gets it. Nobody else has any advice or tips. I don't know anyone else in my real life who has done this before me. It seems totally pointless, and I know I'm rambling, but it feels good to type it out and see it. Release, I guess? I don't know.

    I would welcome any advice on how to begin to study and digest everything. Pharm I find really, really interesting and easy to read. Med-surg makes my head swim, and I don't know where to start. The information is endless and I don't know how to study it. No way that outlining chapters is feasible with this many assigned chapters, and that is what has worked for me all of my college life. We have two main textbooks, a nutrition book, powerpoints, notes, handouts, videos. How in the heck? Is it ALL important and needing to be memorized? Or do I focus on the slides and skim the chapters? I have no clue, and it makes me feel ill to think about it.
    Last edit by FDW630 on Jan 11, '13
  2. 11 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Pharm- use the end of the word to classify and remember classifications, few meds break the rules.

    Med surg- think about what it is, draw your own conclusions read to see if you were right. You know more than you think.

    Your professor is wrong- it's not the horror story it is cracked up to be. I for one loved nursing school!
  4. 1
    Your feelings are absolutely normal! I am a 4th semester nursing student and i remember feeling so much anxiety when i was first introduced to everything! Nursing school is like none other... It takes a lot of time and dedication. What has helped me is focusing on lectures and what the teachers emphasize during that time. If they provide powerpoints that means that the info they are discussing in there is important. Go by these because they are usually what you will be tested on and use those powerpoints as a guide when u use your textbooks... If you learn something in class and dont understand it, go back to the book and read those sections... Its impossible to memorize every single thing you read when u sit down at one time so break it up like that. This is what has helped me so much. Ultimately it depends on what type of learner you are. They provide all types of resources for you to choose from and come up with a system that works for you. I also started recording lectures to go back to. Not all teachers allow you to do that though. I hope maybe this has helped a little bit.. Just take each day at a time. Ask questions when you are unsure of the expectations from your teachers and you will get out of it what you put in! I use davis success series books for all of my nursing content because it allows you to evaluate yourself and see if you understand different diseases and topics. Teachers can be intimidating but they want you to be successful. They probably just want you and your classmates to realize this career path demands a lot. Keep that confident attitude. Do not let negativity rule your academic career. I can definitely say that because i struggle with confidence in school. I try to just wake up everyday and say i can do it... and so can you! Good luck!!!!
    Jrwilliams likes this.
  5. 0
    Couldn't agree more with the post above. I too and a last semester student and You can do it! This is a point in life where you really are just going to have to take it day by day. I also use the success book series and LOVE them. The more questions you can do with rationales to right and wrong answers, the better. Remember, we are in nursing school. You have already taken Micro and A&P. Yes, you need to have a basic understanding but we are tested on what nurses do r/t disease processes and illness. Don't get caught up on the nitty gritty like I did my first 2 semesters. Focus on Assessments, Interventions, Goals etc. Good Luck! You have this!
  6. 3
    I felt the same way only 5 months ago! I think they throw a ton at everyone in the beginning to tame us all. It works! Just focus on what you need to do for next week only! If you look at the whole semester you'll never make it. There is a lot of work to do, but it's not impossible. I always watched the upper levels, saw that they are human, and if they made it then I can too. I just finished level 1- 13 credits with all As and one B. I also have kids and a very busy husband who travels for work. I had a few meltdowns, but most of them were because of my messy house and lack of free time. I didn't spend all the time studying, you have to have a balance for sure! Just be organized, take time for you, don't stress out! You can do this! Pretty soon you'll be done and wonder where the time went!
    Hllyl09, Godivadess, and CMA2013 like this.
  7. 0
    I'm about to start my second semester. At least half of my class of 64 was a nervous wreck or in tears at the end of the first week last semester. We had 5 straight days of massive amounts of lecture. So much was thrown at us that none of us felt able to retain anything. We all made it past that first week. We were all okay. In fact, other than 2 people that dropped out for person reasons, everyone passed.

    Your instructors want you to know what you are in for. They do sound a little bit harsh, but they are correct that it's going to be hard. I struggled the most with pharm. I still got it eventually, but it's really hard. I had a bit of a meltdown on antibiotics, but I started giving them in clinicals and got to know them.

    Don't let it get to you. I know that's easier said than done, but I've been there. It gets A LOT easier, I promise.
  8. 0
    I believe we are in the same class from previous conversations we have had on this site before? (Nellie is obviously not my real name..LOL) I was overwhelmed last week also, but not one person will tell us that nursing school is easy. My friend just went through nursing school in another state, and she said I would be abnormal if I WASN'T overwhelmed right now.

    I'm focusing on one week at a time. If I try and look at the whole picture and how much work this will be, I get overwhelmed. Baby steps, one week at a time. Also, I am not reading the entire chapters..just skimming and highlighting. Then as they are lecturing, I am making notes from the power points.

    Have you joined the FB group that was started for the class? Anyway, if you want to meet up in class, send me a PM with your name. I wonder if we have already met anyway.
  9. 0
    I had the same feelings this week. It took a few days to digest the information and then dive right on in. I have my first Pharm test Monday. I'm taking fundamentals and that first test is Wednesday.

    After the first day of lecture, I went home and I literally looked like I had seen a ghost!! LoL!!
  10. 0
    First off, the way you are feeling is completely normal. I feel that way at the beginning of each new semester. I start my 3rd semester tomorrow morning. Breathe. Take it ONE DAY at a time. For real. It will be too overwhelming if you think about everything all at once. My instructor in first semester told us to "close our circles"...meaning work on/worry about one thing at a time. Focus on what you need to accomplish today, not 2 weeks from now. Highlight/take notes directly in your textbook as you read and as the instructor lectures. Let the powerpoints be your guide as to what topics you need to focus on. This will save you a lot of time over writing notes, and it will keep you more organized as everything will be in your book. Get yourself a planner if you don't already have one. Budget your time. I have gotten A's in both semesters of Pharm. I love Mosby's Pharmacology Memory NoteCards. I used that more than my textbook to study! I think what gets most people hung up on pharm is that they try to memorize every single detail about every single drug. WRONG! It is not possible. Ask any experienced nurse, you will still have to look up drugs from time to time, and that is ok. At the beginning, study classes of drugs, since each drug in a class will be similar. In many cases, if you just think about what the drug does and how it affects the body, you can figure out the side effects. Once you have a base knowledge, study common drugs more in-depth until you know them like the back of your hand. Digoxin, Lasix, Lovenox, anything for GI, insulin. That is the stuff you will be giving over and over again. Make sure you are taking care of yourself. Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, etc. You may even consider taking one designated day off a week from studying. If you are tired and stressed you will have a hard time learning, focusing, and retaining information. Nursing school is very busy and very stressful. But, it goes by super fast! Feels like I just got my acceptance letter yesterday and here I am, already halfway done. All of the stress will be worth it one day soon, I promise. I hope this helps.
  11. 0
    Quote from mind_body_soul
    First off, the way you are feeling is completely normal. I feel that way at the beginning of each new semester. I start my 3rd semester tomorrow morning. Breathe. Take it ONE DAY at a time. For real. It will be too overwhelming if you think about everything all at once. My instructor in first semester told us to "close our circles"...meaning work on/worry about one thing at a time. Focus on what you need to accomplish today, not 2 weeks from now. Highlight/take notes directly in your textbook as you read and as the instructor lectures. Let the powerpoints be your guide as to what topics you need to focus on. This will save you a lot of time over writing notes, and it will keep you more organized as everything will be in your book. Get yourself a planner if you don't already have one. Budget your time. I have gotten A's in both semesters of Pharm. I love Mosby's Pharmacology Memory NoteCards. I used that more than my textbook to study! I think what gets most people hung up on pharm is that they try to memorize every single detail about every single drug. WRONG! It is not possible. Ask any experienced nurse, you will still have to look up drugs from time to time, and that is ok. At the beginning, study classes of drugs, since each drug in a class will be similar. In many cases, if you just think about what the drug does and how it affects the body, you can figure out the side effects. Once you have a base knowledge, study common drugs more in-depth until you know them like the back of your hand. Digoxin, Lasix, Lovenox, anything for GI, insulin. That is the stuff you will be giving over and over again. Make sure you are taking care of yourself. Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, etc. You may even consider taking one designated day off a week from studying. If you are tired and stressed you will have a hard time learning, focusing, and retaining information. Nursing school is very busy and very stressful. But, it goes by super fast! Feels like I just got my acceptance letter yesterday and here I am, already halfway done. All of the stress will be worth it one day soon, I promise. I hope this helps.
    These are great tips! Headed back tomorrow and I'm going to try highlighting what the professors are going over in the book. I usually don't even bring my books to class, but I bought an extra big rolling backpack over Christmas break and I'm feeling frisky.

    I think one of the main reasons I've stayed sane so far is discovering the need to take care of myself. I don't stay up late, except maybe the night before a test, and "late" means midnight. I was so incredibly burnt out by the third week of my first semester and someone on here suggested I take a day each week where I do nothing school related, and it saved me, I swear.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top