Setting the Bar Too High

  1. Hey folks,

    I am in my first semester of a BSN (January start date). Admittedly, it has been some time since I have been in school. I always received high grades when I put my mind to something. I feel like no matter how hard I try here, I can't seem to make A's. I'm pulling high 70s on most of my midterms, but that's it. Needless to say, this has been a humbling experience for me. Has anyone else realized that their expectations did not meet up with reality once they started school? I don't think it is so much the content as the workload that is challenging me. I feel like if I lower the bar for myself, then I am giving up. I'm trying to keep motivated, and would love to hear from anyone else who is in the same boat.
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    About Old Soul

    Joined: Apr '12; Posts: 16; Likes: 12


  3. by   Stephalump
    They say if something is causing you anxiety ( in this case grades) you have two choices to relieve it. . You can either change your expectations or find new ways to meet those expectations.

    If you truly feel like you've tried everything, then maybe it is time to change the bar a bit. Keeping it out of reach isn't doing you any good - your grades are what they are. It's just a stress increaser.

    All you can do is your best You're only partly through your first semester. Nursing school is a different animal than anything else out there. It takes a while to get used to and sometimes you have to try a million different things before it finally "clicks." Don't be so hard on yourself!
    Last edit by Stephalump on Mar 1, '13
  4. by   donk
    I know I've had to come to terms with the fact that nursing school is a totally different ball game. I have to work so much harder to try and get close to the same marks I had before. I think part of it for me is learning that its not just knowledge, it's application and critical thinking. I need to learn to train my brain to think in a new way. I've always been more of a specific detail person and not an overall picture person so nursing school is really challenging my way of thinking. I think you just keep trying different approaches until you find something that works and then you work on that approach until it becomes second nature. I'm still trying to find the right approach myself. Good luck!!
  5. by   nurseprnRN
    It's not necessarily that nursing school is harder in and of itself. It's that nursing school requires a totally different way of thinking and using knowledge than most people have ever done; this is almost always true of the hard-science prerequisites. People who got As in chemistry and anatomy and physiology now have to use that education to solve problems in a different realm, with a lot of confounding variables thrown in for good measure. This requires a different kind of putting things together; shifting gears is hard for some people.

    Conversely, some folks who did less well in the hard sciences sometimes (sometimes) find that once they have the framework for putting it all together, what they had to learn in their science classes makes so much more sense. Then they can re-learn their sciences and patch any old gaps with a new sense of purpose and understanding.

    Keep seeking those different ways of thinking. Always ask "Why?" and "How does that work?" The big picture is hard sometimes but it's really where it's all going to be when you're out, so try to find ways to grasp it now.
  6. by   MrChicagoRN
    It's been awhile since you were last in school, but you were able to achieve success before, so you can do it again. Sometimes it takes awhile to get into the swing of something completely different
  7. by   hodgieRN
    In my first semester, I had a hard time changing the way I answered a test question. Like everyone said, it's a new way of thinking. I also argued a lot of the rationales in practice exams. You have to find a way to adapt. Pretend everything is a trick question and find out exactly what it is asking. Look at questions from a different angle and decipher the nonsense. Sometimes, if a question gives you a bunch of pt information and vital signs, you don't even have to read it. Read the question first and then look at the example. Pick out the information you need to answer the question. They tell you about breathing, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate and then the question asks you about patient safety. They do that for a reason. Even if you know every page in the book, it doesn't mean squat unless you have the ability to interpret the questions and answers. Interpretation is half the battle.
  8. by   KJoRN81
    I'm with you on this one. At first I was like "Yeah! I am gonna rock out this nursing school thing!" aaaaannnd got a quick wake-up call. Nursing school is difficult (at least for me), & "thinking like a nurse" & putting all these things together takes some time (at least, again, for me!), & it might take awhile to get the hang of everything. I agree, the workload can be incredible, & time management is super important!

    As long as I am passing, understanding the content, & proud of myself, I am okay with not-straight-A's...
    You'll be okay!!
  9. by   dt70
    Don't lower the bar. Focus on where your faults are. Try to increase that area. Ask for help.
    Accept you need help but don't give up it may turn around.

    I had 3.8 one school then dropped a lot last semester.

    Another school I had 4.0 and half way through it brought extra stress because I was not expecting
    to do that well. Had two classes I was lost halfway through the class but still ended with A in it.

    You can only do your best. Plan to win and in the end you'll know you gave it your best.

    You may get only A's after this term.
  10. by   Old Soul
    Thanks to everyone for all of the supportive words. I took the weekend off from school work to focus on some "me time". I'm feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle another week. Happy studying to you all! I will be focusing on a research essay.