Hey there... I don't go to school in WA, but I'm in my last semester if that will help you out any! I joined the army nurse corps and am hoping to get stationed in WA once I finish in May, but anyway, they say the beginning part of nursing school is one of the hardest and I agree b/c in my opinion, you have to learn how to study all over again. I remember I could get by with cramming the night before in my pre-req classes and doing fine, but when I got to the tests in nursing school, I was in for a surprise. As much as I hate hearing about critical thinking and how important it is, that's exactly what nursing school is about. You really have to look at the questions and think what the nurse should do opposed to naming a body part or something straight foward like that.
As far as working, it really depends on you b/c there are some ppl in the program who work full-time and support a family and then those who are fortunate not to work at all. I kept a part-time job and mostly work on the weekends and work more during breaks and holidays. You'll have to see what works best with your studying and school life. Hope this helps!!
Are you going for your ASN or BSN?