Have you lost your friends/family because of school?


I knew this would be hard before I started this journey years ago. I've been going to school part time for a few years, the past year included having A&P I AND A&P II. Through this process I have a three year old, I work full time, and I have a husband (who has been the BIGGEST help through all of this). I'm nearing the 30 year old mark, prior to going back to school I was very social with friends and my parents/sister.

Two years after starting school and my parents have stopped inviting me over to their house for family gatherings. They don't call and ask how I'm doing, they don't email, (I email them twice a week with pictures of their grandson), they don't invite me on day trips like they did. I'm an adult.. I know this shouldn't hurt my feelings.. but I can't say it doesn't sting. I confronted my mother about it not long ago and she was offended. She said "I just always assume you're busy with school. You don't have time for us anymore." Here I thought going to school while working full time and raising a three year old didn't need an explanation.. apparently it does! I tried to explain the same thing to my sister when she threw a hissy fit because I couldn't go over to her house and spend 6 hours with her and her in-laws while she had her 32nd birthday. This isn't like business school.. this is NURSING school, we will be handling peoples lives, we cant just memorize how the body works, we have to understand it (and all that goes wrong with it, and how to treat it).

Saying all of that, I notice now I've also lost some really close friends. Friends I've had in my life for close to 20 years. Going through school I've made some really great NEW friends, but I loved my old friends. They knew my past, they understood me, there was no invitation needed to come over and play video games or have a good meal. That was our life.

As I go through this process I have to wonder, will I ever get those friends or family back? Does it eventually get better? How do you explain this phenomenon that is nursing school to your inner circle?


53 Posts

I have up trying to explain it. I had one friend contact me a few days ago and ask how I was doing I responded with "Good! Just studying my butt off for my test Monday". They responded with "Why do you study every day? Nothing requires that much studying..."

Pffffffft. I had to stop myself from writing something nasty in reply.

The fact of the matter is that unless they sit there and watch the amount of hard work you put into this program and the amount of stress it puts on you (I.e. your husband) OR they are going through/have gone through a nursing program themselves they will NEVER understand.

And you can't really expect them to!

Luckily for me, I come from a family full of nurses.

My friends on the other hand..

A lot of people go for degrees like education, or communications, or graphic design.. I'm sure those areas of study are challenging but very few of those people had/have to make school their LIFE (notice how I said life, not priority). They don't realize that we cannot retake a class 4 times if we don't do well.. hell, we can't even get below a C! Not only that but (in my school) out entire grade is based on tests! 3 unit exams worth 60% and a HESI final worth 40% PLUS clinical work and lab sims that are pass/fail- so all the extra time spent there does not count for a grade. If we don't study, we are screwed!

We are a special breed of people, and the only people that will understand are the people that go through it with you..

Losing friends is difficult, losing family is as well. But I doubt they are doing it on purpose. Focus on yourself, your kids, your husband and school and all of the pieces will fall into place.

Good luck :)

P.S. I am only 21 years old, but started with nursing when I was 16 (a junior in high school in a half day vocational nursing program, and now a semester away from my ADN). While I would LOVE to say that I still have close friends from when I started- I don't. My best friend dropped out of the program I am in (she also did the voc program with me- and actually became the president of our nursing program) because she did not want to give up the normal aspects of life that other people get (vacations, down time, parties, etc). I did not get to live my life like a normal teenager / young adult because I decided that I wanted better for myself than having to search- beg- for a job 3+ years after graduating college. It's a tough road but when you make up your mind, nothing matters but your degree and the people that support you in obtaining it.

Haven't lost any family...never saw them THAT much anyway as everyone lives out of town! As far as friends...yeah...All of my "mommy" friends have disappeared. Basically have my nursing school friends and that's about it!


232 Posts

Family runs the other way when I come into the room right now because of finals....says I'm scary/moody!!! Friends...a social life...sleep?!?!?! I'm not sure I understand those concepts lol


166 Posts

I lost many good friends while I have been going to school, but it makes me wonder how good of friends they were in the first place. I tried sitting them down and explaining that I still cherished our friendship and love them, but nursing school takes a lot of time and I wouldn't be able to spend as much time with them as normal when I'm in school. I would even find time when I was busy to squeeze in 30 minute coffee meet ups to show I was making an effort.

It only seemed to make things worse. Eventually a couple of them started trying to guilt trip me about going to school. At that point, I cut out all the non supportive people from my life including my brother. Life is stressful enough without having your "friends" make you feel bad about accomplishing one of your life goals. Other than my boyfriend, I only have 2 friends left now and they are very supportive. But hey, in my eyes quality is better than quantity.

Sorry your going through this. It is hurtful when friends and family don't know what your going through and are not supportive . Just keep your eye in the prize and tell everyone else how much their support means to you.


87 Posts

It's sad that this is something else we go through, as if this process wasn't stressful enough. I agree with you though Blacksunflower.. I guess they weren't worth it if they aren't willing to stick with you through all the studying/time apart. Real friends encourage you when a process is difficult, they don't separate and discourage you.

Specializes in Med/surg, Onc.

I'm so thankful for my close family and network of friends. Everyone understands and I haven't lost anyone. I've even gained some awesome friends through school! My husband and son understand (married 11 years and my son is 6). My family invites me to everything they did before and they never seem to mind if I can't go to everything. But I don't skip everything either. There HAS to be a balance and there has to be days where you take the time to see people you like/love etc. Even in the middle of exams.

I'm finishing my 3rd of 4 semesters in my ADN program and start finals next week, and had a test yesterday (Monday). I had a BBQ on Saturday with about 10 people, it was SO worth it to do something that had NOTHING to do with school.

Specializes in Pediatrics, Emergency, Trauma. Has 18 years experience.

I lost people almost ten years ago when I started on my nursing journey, and I haven't looked back...maybe it's my own aloofness, or just my personality, but if I'm growing, I only need people who aren't going to blame or shame me from reaching my goals. And most times, their feelings are NOT intentional...it may be an internal issue for them as well.

We, as humans, are very social creatures. I can understand the feeling to be surrounded by the people you know, especially your family. There is also a reason, and a season on how much their roles can play in your life, even if that means in the meantime, you are investing your future in your nursing education. Although not like medical school ( but a favorable curriculum desired by a percentage of Drs I have worked with during my years in nursing), nursing school is serious business, theory and practicum are intense, and we have duty, once completed uphold being a practitioner once licensed. Because of this, your life changes. How you perceive and respond to your job an the clients you advocate for changes you personally...more good than bad in my opinion. That means sometimes enlightening your loved ones that its not like Grey's Anatomy, and they can turn on Discovery Health or look up Trapper John, MD (showing my evolving age, lol)...tell them to google that. Heck, even Nurse Jackie, strip away the over the top situations and see what nurses do. We have to handle pressure like it's nobody's business...and it starts in nursing school and it doesn't ever stop...you learn your niche and ability to stay sane and content. And they may NEVER understand that. Love them from where they at, and notify them that you expect for them to do the same for you.

Try to have those conversations with these individuals, if you can.

You still have your most intimate family rooting for you...and AN as well! :)


457 Posts

I think some people get either envious or feel resentful. I know people who don't like the idea of me bettering myself because they think I feel as though I'm now better than them. It shows poor character on their part. Keep trucking.

Specializes in Med/ Surg/ Telemetry, Public Health.

Wow, I just realized the same thing last week. My so call friends and family don't invite me to anything any more, or call. I feel left out of events,I feel like I have no social life. They just don't understand how stressful and hard nursing school is. I have a daughter no one offers to watch her when I have upcoming exams. Just recently family members have stop inviting my daughter to events, I was so ******, don't take it out on my daughter. I have come to grips with it, because becoming a nurse comes first rather than going to events and hanging out.

rubato, ASN, RN

1,111 Posts

Specializes in Oncology/hematology.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't care. I care that I have my hubby and son, but anyone else, I don't have time for anyway. So, if I lose them, fine. I have tons of close nursing school friends and we never spend leisure time together, because we're all super busy and in the same boat. I will try reconnecting with my other friends after school, but if they can't understand, that's their problem. My extended family finally stopped inviting me to everything, but if I wanted to go to something, they'd love to see me.

nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 5,114 Posts

You know, we all lose and gain friends as we go through life. I never expected that my dearest, closest confidantes from my twenties would eventually drift away with differences in lives, geographic changes, or just plain inertia. I have wonderful friends now, and they are just different ones. We fit each others' needs as we are now.

Your family who say they thought you were too busy are right; tell them so, gratefully, and let them know it won't always be like this.