I started an associate degree program in August of 2001. I have been out of high school (where I was valedictiorian) for about ten years. Life happened and I quit college the first go around. It took a lot of encouragement for me to go back to school. But once I decided to go back, I honestly did not think I would have any trouble with nursing school. However, after four semesters, I can honestly say it has been sooo much harder than I ever imagined. But, it's hard in ways that are very difficult to explain.
Nursing school is a whole new world--truly it is! The pace can be dizzying at times. We have so much reading material assigned to us that it's near impossible to read it all. Nursing is one of those areas that you either get or you don't. There has to be a natural ability to think critically or at least the capacity to learn to think critically. People are so different in their perceptions. You can't go by what other people tell you.
This last semester, there were about 20 people who did not make it! It is so sad. You get attached to your classmates and it's hard to see someone fail. But, at the same time, I can see where some of them bring it on themselves. Some people get so wrapped up in thinking the instructors are OUT TO GET THEM!
I just don't buy that! It is hard to listen to lectures and learn if you're thinking about how evil the instructor is! It is also very important to attend all lectures! Try really hard not to miss any classes. Try not to get so caught up in memorizing specific details that you miss the larger concept. I know so many students who memorize lab values or procedures or definitions, but can't tell you why tests are run or why values are off. If you can learn the basic pathophysiology of the disorders, you can figure out the other stuff.
Also, figure out what learning style works best for you and use it. Find study partners who actually study--it's so easy to sit around and gossip or goof off or get drunk or whatever else people do to keep from studying!
I'm sorry! I'm just rambling on. I really just want to say that YES nursing school is difficult. But, you can do it if you want it bad enough. The best advice I have is this--don't get behind! And if you don't understand something, ask! Good luck!