Hi there! Welcome to the wonderful world of figuring out nursing school! Just remember that you have worked very hard to get accepted and you have what it takes to succeed!
I'm about to start my second semester and here's what I found to be helpful...
Know that they're going to throw a TON of information at you. It's overwhelming, but with some serious organizational skills, you can do this.
Start the semester off by creating a calendar to include all your readings, exams, assignments, clinicals, care plans, and other stuff like work.
I went home after the first day and freaked out! So, I entered everything in Microsoft Outlook, color coated my classes, and then printed each month so I could cross stuff off as I go. The calendar helped keep my head from spinning outta control. And sometimes you'll be so busy that breaking down tasks week by week will ease the craziness a bit. My first semester of nursing school was 4 classes, which was more than I've ever taken in the past, so this really helped me stay organized and feel like I had small accomplishments throughout the semester.
Do not get behind on your readings
! Read the chapters before class, skim again after class, and review before exams. Repeat, repeat, repeat as much as possible! My textbook (Perry & Potter) had a website which included audio summaries (I downloaded these to my iPod), extra practice test questions, and PowerPoints for each chapter. I used these a lot after doing not-so-good on my first exam. Saw a huge improvement on my next exam.
Join or create a study group!
Like I said, my grade for my first (of three) exams was not good...I barely got a B and was disappointed. So me and two other students decided to meet 2-3 times each week to review the chapters together. We summarized important paragraphs, explained different concepts to one another, drew silly diagrams, and talked about the practice questions. It helped me so much, that on my second and third exams...I got A's!! And ended up with an A for the class, which I was not expecting. Meeting together takes a lot of planning and work, but it's worth it when you have people who are motivated. I think 4 or more people is too much and it's easy to get off topic. Stick to 3 people. If you have questions about how to structure topics for a study group, let me know, I'm happy to give you ideas on what I did. Before nursing, I would just study by myself, but I really believe this will help you understand the content and boost your grade.
Do something for you.
Make sure to take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and rest. Nursing school drained me until I had zero energy and I could have prevented this by taking the above advice. Reward yourself here and there too.
Ok, that's it, but I have one last recommendation. I found this website helpful. I have a little bit of test anxiety, but mostly poor study habits. This is a good resource for becoming a better student. You get one year free and they don't require you to enter any credit card info or anything. And I have not received any junk mail. Hope you find it useful :-)
Take care and good luck!