Tips for surviving the 1st Semester of Nursing School

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    So you completed your prerequisites, submitted your application, aced the interview and got your official acceptance letter then it hits you like a Mack Truck; the first semester of nursing school. This article gives new nursing students tips on how to survive the first semester of nursing school and make it out unscathed.

    I can't believe I made it through finals week and my first semester of nursing school is done. I was totally exhausted with several days of 3 hours of sleep and 5 straight exams. Anyways I'm like a straight B student, that's not bad considering I have a family and lots of distractions at home...for me that not where I usually am, so I wanted to offer up some tips on how to survive the first semester of nursing school.

    1. READ your books.

    This is probably the most annoying thing especially for those like me who learn visually or auditory, so I ended up having to rewrite my notes ( because highlighting does not work for me), and reading out loud.

    2. Buy an NCLEX book and start using it now!

    Some might not like this idea, but nursing questions sucks because all the answers are viable and getting an nclex book in your first semester will help you get past the shock phase of those crazy critical thinking questions for those who are more fact based learners like myself.

    3. Be outspoken.

    I think it's no secret by now that most all nursing instructors highly favor students who are extroverts and who talk a lot. Being an introvert did not help me out much. My clinical instructors said I'm too shy to be a nurse, when I really have no problem talking in front crowds, I'm just quiet and that's how God made me. If you are quiet like me, make it a point to be extra loud and outspoken especially to you clinical instructor and always volunteer to be the first to try new skills...just trust me on this.

    4. Get a good calender.

    Be it a online calender or old fashioned one, it is needed cause you won't be able to remember all the dates and commitment you have for assignment deadlines.

    5. Start projects early.

    Go into each class schedule on the first day of class and find all your big papers and start drafting them. Do a little each week so you won't be overwhelmed especially with the time consuming task of finding evidence based research.

    6. Nursing students Don't get sick.

    Ok apparently nursing students are not allowed to get sick, I had a long sick weekend and missed a few assignment deadlines one week and missed 1 day of class for being thing I'm being called into the nursing office as they question my motives for being a nurse. long as you not in a casket...drag yourself to school, its better for them to send you home than to call in sick.

    7. Say goodby to life as you know it.

    The boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband , dog, cat and pet rats will need to understand that you are in nursing school. This means you basically don't have a life and won't be seeing much of them...ok they won't understand but they will try to. Just be patient with the transition of the school life, it is not easy and many relationships do not survive this test.

    Finally good luck to those who will be entering their first semester in summer and Fall. I know its an exciting time. Got some tips of your own? Please add them to this post, I need all the help I can get as I move into semester 2.
    Get your text book early and start reading
    Last edit by Joe V on Jul 15, '13
    MaryamSalik, Nelly_XoX, quixotic.dy, and 48 others like this.

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  2. About ArrowRN, BSN, RN

    From 'Starling City'; 38 Years Old; Joined Feb '08; Posts: 954; Likes: 966.

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    91 Comments so far...

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    Love this! Thank you for sharing
    SeattleJess likes this.
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    Oh I forgot an important one....

    8. Back up your papers. There nothing worse than pushing the power button and finding out that your computer, ipad or what ever has now crashed and your paper is due tomorrow and you got no way to get it. Well that actually happened to someone in my class. Keep a flash drive handy and back up those large papers onto it or if you comfortable with the cloud, you can use a free cloud based service like microsoft skydrive, or icloud as a back up. Sometimes I would backup papers to skydrive at home and then I could continue working on them at the school library. This is a great way to get access to your work from anywhere, in addition to keeping a safe copy in case the main computer crashes.
    kacraft31, imbatz, KiggyPupPuff, and 8 others like this.
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    LOL@ Nursing students don't get sick! That's the truth!!! And I backup my papers because sometimes teachers lose things and say that I never turned it of my teachers ALWAYS lost my work so I turned in the paper AND emailed her the paper everytime...just in case.
    kacraft31, Doc Reid, debbielee, and 2 others like this.
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    Nice post bro. Thanks!
    SeattleJess likes this.
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    I have to add... Take some "me" time!! Whether its an hour at the gym, a long soak in the tub or a walk down the street, you need some time to destress and clear your head. Nursing school can be intense but finding time to take care of yourself is super important!!
    heyrach123, Mchs4735, SeattleJess, and 5 others like this.
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    All very true. #6 - so true! In first semester I was at the ER at 2am, diagnosed with kidney stones, and then back at school at 8am for a lecture and an exam. It does get get easier. I'm finishing 3rd semester and I am once again getting good sleep and spending time with my family and friends. First semester was such a culture shock!
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    This is such an insightful and thoughtful post. I will definitely refer back to this once I start school. Thanks again and good luck in yr second semester.

    Sent from my iPhone using
    SeattleJess likes this.
  10. 2
    Thanks a lot! Good luck!
    SeattleJess and degratrj like this.
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    I start in the fall and am really terrified. I have a husband, a 4 year old, and I'm pregnant. Due a month after school starts so luckily my classes are online but I have to go to clinicals. This is really good information, thanks so much. Will do them all.
    kacraft31 and SeattleJess like this.

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