Congratulations on your acceptance to the nursing program at Northlake College. I'm almost through, and have enjoyed it very much. I have found the teachers and staff to be extremely supportive, as well as the other students.
I too have had to continue to work while going to school, and actually have a full time (45hrs) and part time job (12 hr). I have a family and am active in church. I have been in the medical field as well, so much of the material I already felt at least somewhat familiar with, which helps considerably. The most difficult part for me was finding all the different paperwork and forms at various places on the ecampus website.
While I have always purchased the complete book packages, I probably could have gotten by with just one or two of the items each semester. Additionally, while I purchased several uniforms, I could have gotten by with just one set and a lab coat....(and I could have worn my own black scrub pants and NOT have bought theirs).
I found I spent more $$ on other items such as review books, drug cards, study guides, etc at barnes and nobles or borders than I actually did on the books they provided. Make sure your save ALL your old notes each semester as the material is cumulative and grows with each semester.
Yes, I did study, not really the first semester, but 2nd semester I found I had to study 1-2 hours prior to the last several tests to feel comfortable.
Other than that I spent approximately 20-45 min doing care plans for clinical days.
The experience has been great, and I look forward to finishing. I love it. Not nearly as hard as I thought it would be....and takes much less time than I thought. While other schools may be M-F 8 hrs a day....this is just 2 days (approx) a week. In first semester you have Lab, Lecture and Clinical;...but by the end of the semester you are just going to Lecture....same with 2nd.
By 3rd, you will have Lec and Clinical, with any Lab skill days replacing your clinical...so it's still 2 days.
In addition to your regular schedule you will have several modules to do, a mock trial to attend, and several seminars and simulation labs at El Centro. These are pretty fun to do, and are generally just one day.
Don't get strung out the first couple days....it SEEMS really confusing the way everything is explained. The best advice I could offer would be to print out EVERYTHING for your lecture, lab, and clinical and make several different notebooks, PRIOR to starting the course. And when you KNOW you have something to do such as Major nursing care plan, community service hours, modules to complete....DO NOT WAIT...Get all this done in the first couple weeks of school. Your Major Nursing Care Plan will have to wait till you actually start clinical at the hospital, but the minute it has been explained, do it. Also, find a mentor at the school who has already completed first semester and get their number. They can explain things as well, and prove to be very helpful. Mine even passed down her notes to me!
Best of luck, you will love it. Don't stress over it, the time goes by fast, it is NOT that difficult, and YES, you can still have a life outside of nursing school. Be positive and you will succeed. If you did well enough to get into nursing school, you should be able to make it through with no problem. Many of my pre-reqs were tons harder than the actual nursing part!
Best to all!