Well my situation is a tinyy bit different.
I am in an advanced RN program, meaning, it is EXTREMELY fast paced. A normal college class is 16 weeks, our classes teach the same amount of material that is divided between 16 weeks, but instead it is taught in 5; SO...every 5 weeks I start a new class. My total program is meant to be completed in 16 months. I have 5 classes left
When I first started, GOOD LORD I was overwhelmed (who am I kidding, I still am!). Unlike many of the other students in my class, I came with no previous experience (many of them were working LPNs). So here is what it was like for me...
I had little to no sleep, still don't. Every waking minute your mind is cranking out scenarios. Exams are insane, especially the ones that fall in that time where you switch from "puke" questions to "NCLEX" style questions (they make you actually think, not just regurgitate information). My social life became non-existent. I had lecture every other day from 0800-1430 or 1630 with every other day clinicals from 0630-1700. I always had all my books for the class, even reference books, in case I needed clarification. HIGHLIGHTERS ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS. Don't get liquid ones...you will be using them far too much and the liquid does not have the endurance you are looking for (especially at 9.00 a pack!). I learned how much I loved a good pen. NURSES LOVE PENS. Most of my spare money went towards 5 hour energy and coffee. I've gained a total of 25 lbs since beginning the program because I have no time to eat healthy; the school vending machine is my personal chef. Because of the nature of my program I was only able to "destress" on the weekends in between modules...aka...every 5 weeks haha! I DID manage to get married in the middle of my program <---STRESSFUL! haha.
So here is my advice to you:
INVEST IN A GOOD STETHOSCOPE <-- cannot stress that one enough. Littmanns are a God send (I have a cardiology III, its amazing-- I can hear your thoughts with it! but it is heavy...and it was $200.00 that I didn't have lol). Invest in some good shoes. Everyone swears by Dansko's...I hate them. They are not the same Dansko's as they used to be ever since the dutch company sold the Dansko line to a chinese company (no body does shoes like the dutch). Nurse mates are great. Get a GOOD penlight, because after inserting your first foley catheter, you will learn not every vagina demonstrates textbook anatomy! LOL. Set a study schedule for yourself for each class and STICK TO IT, this will help you beyond reason! If you don't know how yet, learn to laugh. There will be times you are so frustrated you could fling yourself from the highest building, but lauging it off can make a world of difference! CLINICAL LABS ARE THE PLACE TO MAKE MISTAKES; DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED IF YOU DON'T DO SOMETHING RIGHT. It's meant for that! It is way better to kill a mannequin than a patient (: GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND. If you don't know something, look it up! Look up anything and EVERYTHING. Knowledge is power! You can't perform patient education if you don't know it yourself! MOST IMPORTANTLY: Hold on to who you are. Nursing programs will make or break you; I am serious. Have confidence in what you are doing! Instructors AND patients smell fear. Don't sweat the small stuff (:
If you ever have questions, my facebook is linked to my account on here! Shoot me a message!