For me, some aspects are easier than I had imagined they'd be and some are harder.
I had heard all sorts of horror stories, that nursing school
is so hard and you'll be stressed out beyond belief. Well that's true sometimes, but not all the time.
And I also thought people meant the material is hard to learn. That has never been the case for me in the nursing classes. The material isn't difficult to understand, it's just SO MUCH information. I wasn't prepared for having 15-20 chapters covered on 1 exam. It's just so much. That was probably one of the hardest things to get used to.
Also, it's not just the lecture and exams that are hard and stress you out. Clinicals is a big part of the stress. I remember during first semester: I'd go get my patient's information the day before clinical, then spend 5-6 hours writing up my careplan and I'd just cry because it was taking so long and I had to be at clinicals at 6:30 the next morning. That was a really hard thing ..... just because I never had any experience like that before, no other classes do you do stuff like that.
The careplans and exams get better as time goes on. Once you do a lot of careplans, they get easier and easier and you don't have to spend as much time on them. The exams are hard at first because they're not like any exams you've ever taken before ..... you have to critically think. There's usually 2 answers that are correct, but you have to pick the one that is most
correct for that situation. That takes practice, but you'll be amazed at how good you'll be able to critically think even after the first semester.
I don't mean to scare you by telling you this stuff. I wish I had known more of what to really expect when I went into nursing school. You'll have plenty of really great experiences!! It's one of the hardest things I've done, but one of the most rewarding. There'll be times you walk out of clinical with the biggest smile on your face because you helped a patient; you listened and were there for them, took good care of them and at the end of the day they said "thank you so much for taking such good care of me". That makes you feel so good
Get to know your classmates. You'll be spending lots of time with them and they are the ones that know exactly
what you're going through. There's times you'll feel like no one understands. No one else undestands why you can't just blow off studying so you can party all weekend. They DO understand though. Talk with them about it, vent, study together.
Get to know your instructors too. Go to them to get help on things you don't understand. They're there to help, and for the most part they really do care about your success.
And of course, you have us! We understand! As you already know, there's tons of great info here to help with classes, I wish I had found this place sooner. Vent to us when you feel frustrated. It makes nursing school seem not so hard and more bearable.
Sorry this is so long, and way more than you asked for! I just got carried away and wanted to give you information that I wished I would have been given when I started nursing school. Good luck to you