What helped you in your first year / semester of nursing school?

  1. I start my first semester this fall woo! So excited for this, I was just wondering in general what had helped you your first semester? What did you expect? what you didnt expect? Any advice or tips? Did you have fun or just any general discussion about your first semester.
  2. Visit Cheripk profile page

    About Cheripk, RN

    Joined: Jan '13; Posts: 63; Likes: 43
    RN; from US


  3. by   melizerd
    Remain calm...most of the time.

    Get a study group, they are your life line (and make rules about what you talk about in study group so you stay on task)

    I had a blast my first semester, it is overwhelming, challenging, and yet I made some friends there that have carried me through the rest.

    Remember that family/friends will be on the back burner but take time for them anyhow, YOU need the break and they miss you.

    You're laundry and dinners will suffer, everyone will live

    Remember that you asked to be here, so when it seems too hard and you want to give up remember that there are people that wish they could be in your position. Nursing is an amazing profession and my instructors have taught me so much more than the material required.

    I'm finishing up my 3rd semester tomorrow and can see graduation in December!
  4. by   Cheripk
    Very well said, it makes me even more excited I really like what you said at the end too
  5. by   Jennybrie
    I expected nursing school to be hard because that is what everyone told me. Hard is such a vague word that doesn't describe any elements of nursing school. It is not like any other program that is out there and that is what surprised me the most. Everything I learned about learning in college was thrown out the window in the first month.

    There is a lot of information given to you all the time and the trick of keeping up with the material, staying organized and not panicking takes some skill and some time to master.

    At first study groups were informative but in the end they turned out to be a social hour and I ended up having better results on my own.

    You will fail!!! You got to this point because you are not a student that fails at anything but in nursing school you will fail at least one quiz or test but learn from it and move on. Do not let the test grade (or course grade) define the nurse you are going to be. Patients don't care if their nurse had straight As through school or not...they passed the NCLEX and a lot of the times the nurses who don't make straight As are better because they can incorporate real world (aka common sense) into their care.

    Remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Try not to get caught up in drama (it can be worse than high school) and stay professional.

    Most importantly....life throws curve balls. When your ship starts to sink don't hesitate to ask for help from classmates, instructors, administration, etc.

    Good luck!!!
  6. by   VANurse2010
    I wouldn't say nursing school is "hard." It's very time consuming, however.
  7. by   silverbat
    Study, study study! Take care of YOU! SLeep, Go to a movie, read a book, Sleep, whatever you enjoy, take time to do it, you will be re-charged for school when you do. SLEEP when you can, CRY when you need to. Cuddle with your hubby/BF/SO. Enjoy ice cream. Sleep. LOL. Remember that you are only human, and can only do so much. Stay OUT of the drama, pick your school firends wisely, the least likely can stick a knife in your back... Seriously. SLEEP when you can! Enjoy, it can be a wild ride, but soo soo soo worth it, when done!! Give up on the idea that its All A's or nothing!!! Sometimes you may be glad to get a passing grade!!! Remember test and NCLEX are " in school nursing" "nursing in a perfect world" NOT real world nursing. Remember even if an instructor says they will give you all the info you need for a test, don't believe it ----READ the textbook!! Best wishes-(gobstoppers, Diet Dr. Pepper and my rosary and the love and support of my family got me through my years of school!)
  8. by   HM-8404
    Organization will be your best friend. Don't get caught up in the inevitable drama in nursing school. It is a bunch of young girls for the most part. Don't allow someone else's struggles with nursing school drag you down. You are there for YOU, not to ensure someone else makes it through. A study group with more than 3 people, on the same level, is rarely a good idea. Often someone that does not want to study wants to attend study groups so the group can teach them the info they were too lazy to study.

    Just remember, you have to look out for #1.
  9. by   FuturePsychNP
    Relax, absorb, learn, take everything in stride. It's all doable. Many thousands of people have done it from stupid to intelligent, lol. One day at a time, grasshopper. Rather than focusing on the ultimate end, focus "long-term" on rocking the semester. December and May come fairly quickly even though in August and January they seem so out of reach.
  10. by   Savvy20RN
    The first 2 semesters of nursing school were the most frustrating semesters. Teachers toss a lot of information at you and expect you to retain and apply it to clinical right away. There's little room for error. It wasn't hard in retrospect, just time consuming. My issue was having a professor watching my every move, every second. I know it was their job, but it really didn't decrease my anxiety. It made it worse. In the last two semesters professors gave you a bit more room to breathe and I actually felt like I learned to think on my own and be proactive in my learning. Yes, professors were still there to guide you, but they knew that you knew the basics and trusted you not to make incredibly stupid mistakes.

    Someone mentioned getting a study group. I wouldn't if you did well in pre reqs without one. Changing up your study habits now may screw you over. Stick to how you learn and you'll be fine.

    Go to class, take notes, ask questions. Show up to clinical on time. There's nothing more pathetic than being kicked out of nursing school, not because of horrible grades, but because you're five minutes late for clinical every day.

    Bring snacks to class. Those 8 hour lectures seem to last forever. During breaks leave the classroom and get some sunlight.

    Don't go into nursing school set on liking any 'one' specialty. Open your eyes and enjoy all of your clinical experiences. Don't moan and groan during every rotation except the one you wish to work in after graduation. People in these places watch you closely. They can tell if you want to be there or not. You don't have to like each rotation, but be nice and respectful. You never know where you'll end up working after graduation. It may be in that place you looked down on in school.

    Also, have fun!! Those in your class will become some of your closest friends.
  11. by   MorganB
    I just completed the semester with a 4.0, 3 very young children, a crazy household, and an absentee husband ( works 14-16 hour days). First of all nursing school in terms of being hard is really based on your prior experiences. The reality is some people struggle and then there are some who just get it and can apply the concepts. There are also the natural born test takers. The key is if you struggle initially run and get help from an intervention specialist.

    Pretty much here are the keys to success:

    1) avoid the drama queens/ kings at all costs
    2) study a little to a lot every day--- there are those who study 6 -8 hours every day and still barely pass and those who cram and do well ( find what you need to do to do well). I studied at night at least an hour or 2 every night during the week after the kids were asleep. before a test I always gave myself at least 10-15 hours of study time spread out over 4 days. I didn't study on the weekends or the night of a 12 hour clinical.
    3) breathe( kep positive affirmations at your fingertips) pull out when you need encouragement
    4) pray, pray, pray
    5) if you don't know..... be honest and say so
    6) ask questions
    7) be respectful
    8) buy fundamentals success and use it often
    9) learn to be a duck let crap roll off your back
    10) stay away from the loudest people in your class ( you'll find out why very soon)
    11) learn when to be quiet, never argue with instructors if they say the sky is purple just say really Mrs. so and so I didn't know that thanks for helping me to see it..smile...then curse them in your head
    12) get a calendar
    13) prior to the test block out the converstions of those who are waiting with you....other peoples lack of confidence prior to a test is contagious, I stayed in my car until 8 minutes before the test , spent 5 min in the restroom, and the last 3 I'd say hello and wait in a corner to be called, and i kept earplugs in my pocket just in case so i wouldn't overhear other people's conversations
    14) exercise when you can ( stress reduction)
    15) encourage yourself as well as your peers... be a subtle cheerleader
    Last edit by MorganB on May 20, '13 : Reason: spelling
  12. by   squidbilly
    I will tell you the mistake I made in my first year so that you can hopefully avoid doing the same.

    My pre-reqs were fairly easy for me, and I never really formed excellent study habits. I got really good at passing (A's and B's) while putting forth minimal effort. When nursing school started my approach was the same, and it worked in my first year. I had B's my first two semesters and I really didn't spend all that much time reading and studying.

    Well, come year 2 this bit me in the butt! While skating through the first year I managed to miss quite a bit of foundational learning that was absolutely necessary in the last 2 semesters. I found myself frantically playing catch up in what was already the hardest part of nursing school. I almost failed and spent much of that time on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

    Congratulations and good luck!
  13. by   StayHumble11
    Amazing thread. Thanks a lot for these responses!
  14. by   avaloncar
    Stay on top of your studying!!! Do not procrastinate. Buy a schedule book so you could write down due dates and exam dates. Good luck!