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"I Haven't Made Any Friends Yet!"

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Case Management RN.

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Many first-semester and first-quarter nursing students worry about not finding new friends while in school. Don't become too concerned over not making friends in your nursing program. It is true that bonding with classmates is always a good thing, but always remember that you aren't in nursing school to make friends. Your primary goal for being there is to learn how to become a competent nurse.

"I Haven't Made Any Friends Yet!"

Countless first-semester and first-quarter nursing students worriedly exclaim, "I haven't made any friends in nursing school!"

Over the years I've made a few curious observations about the nursing students who express the most concern about having made no friends. They typically fall into the traditional college-age range of 18 to 24 years old. Also, they generally enjoyed very active social lives during their high school years and continued socializing well into early adulthood.

On the other hand, the pupils who seem the least concerned about making friends in school tend to be people whom we'd refer to as the adult learners, also known as nontraditional students or reentry adults. According to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (2012), nontraditional adult student learners are loosely defined as those undergraduate students who are 25 years of age or older. A key characteristic distinguishing reentry adults from other college students is the high likelihood that they are juggling other life roles while attending school, including those of worker, spouse or partner, parent, caregiver, and community member (Ross-Gordon, 2011).

Why do some students obsess over not making new friends while others are unconcerned about meeting people? A number of reasons can explain the gap in priorities.

First of all, let's briefly discuss identity formation, which is a maturity process whereby a person constructs a sense of self. Even though most developmental theories indicate that peoples' identities should fully take shape by the late teens, in real life the process of developing a sense of self takes much longer for many individuals. Thus, a 21-year-old whose identity has not completely formed is still going to place a far greater emphasis on her circle of friends and peer group than the 30-year-old who already has a solid sense of self.

Finally, most nontraditional-aged students have fully launched into adulthood and, therefore, deal with adult obligations such as full-time employment, marriage, child-rearing, household bills, and other duties that leave little time for sustaining new friendships. While a number of traditional college-age students have taken on these same adult responsibilities, many in this age range still do not have these commitments, so they have more time for bonding with new friends.

In summary, don't get too worked up over not making friends in your nursing program. You will look back at this experience many years from now and it will be water under the bridge. While forming positive bonds with classmates is always a good thing, remember that you aren't there to make friends. You're there to learn how to become a competent nurse and earn your degree or diploma, and you can achieve these goals with or without friends in your nursing program.

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TheCommuter, BSN, RN, CRRN is a longtime physical rehabilitation nurse who has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a Registered Nurse.

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JustBeachyNurse has 10 years experience as a RN and works as a Nurse.

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Well said.

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Another fantastic article, and I agree, very well said.

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I'm an older adult and I just think it would be nice if someone would partner up with me to insure each other passes. I'm not really into dating anyone in the nursing program although they are all women. I just want to pass and I think it would be nice to have someone to study with, but I've had not luck.

Last semester I asked a few people about their interest in studying with me and I never got a response. One of them failed just barely. I wonder if he spent the time to study with me if we both would have ended up with better grades and both of us passing?

My question is how does an older adult find a study partner especially when the majority of students are in the 25 and under range?

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Many great points, but, i am not entirely convinced that having a "great sense of self identity" diminishes one's urge to connect with other humans, in fact, in some cases, it might enhance it. Who knows, confident people might feel more of an urge to be with others.

The urge to share one's life, and to connect with other humans, can vary widely from one human to another, but,

most of our species are pack-animals. Not all, but many to most of us are social beings to one extent or another.

One's urge to full life with friends, is normal need for many ppl, not all, but many. This urge does not reflect they are suffering from a deficit of some type, imo, nor a lack of "self identity". For many, the urge and need to to have human connection is quite normal,

and not having made friends in a new and often stressful setting,

can lead some people ---no matter how strong their sense of self identity is----to feel loneliness.. I don't think that feeling is unnatural in that setting, especially if the person really does love other humans, or love connecting with other humans.

Those of us who have experienced the deep satisfaction that close friendship offers,

could indeed, feel an ache to when our lives are NOT being enhanced with such a relationship. Many friendships enable us to persevere when we are down, handle stress more effectively, help us grow emotionally and to mature, and help us explore the world together, side by side. This is a joy for many people,

of any age, and if one IS accustomed to having that in their life,

it can leave an ache when it's gone. I'm not sure that posting about that concern, for other students in nursing school forums, equates to "obsession".

For some people,

nursing school is stressful, and many humans, in times of stress, tend to want to find support and validation and comraderie....as well as the urge to have someone to confide to, "Could you believe what happened in clinicals today!" or whatever............

no matter how old they are.

seems kinda normal urge to ME anyway, but, no doubt, it varies.

also,

these events that they want to discuss, might be hard to explain to their old best pal who is studying economics now, but, another student in the class,

would find it interesting topic,

and would understand it, too.

I am not entirely convinced that self identity is necessarily related to age, nor to the urge to connect to others. I know a lot of young people who very much seem to have well-outlined selves, and feel they know who they are. (certainly, that can morph over time, but for now, many young ppl do seem to know who they are "now").

I know many mature ppl, who have stumbled upon the knowledge,

that many things we 'think' we know about ourselves, was either a season of one's life, or subject to change with new experiences and new knowledge, and are less likely to have definite, hard lines in who they are. As a mature person, i am much more open to the notion, that if i have not walked down that road,

i might not be able to accurately guess how i'd react to that road. When i was young, i "knew",;) now, i am less sure of how i'd react to being in someone else's shoes, now i am less likely to pipe up or even think, "oh, i'd do this or that!".

I'm more aware now, that passions, interests, likes, dislikes, etc, can morph from one season of my life, to another.

Things i once felt passionately about,

have even been reversed over time. I expect, i can and will change my mind, and my ideas, even some of my values, yet again someday, who knows.

but,

when i was young, i was less aware of that potential than i am today.

I'm not sure i even completely follow the notion, if i am understanding this article correctly, that having a sense of self reduces one's need to have friends, or their tolerance for lonliness. I'm not sure i'd agree. It's probably a hard thing to measure,

but, it's possible, it might be just the opposite. It's possible a person could know, "i am the kind who thrives better with friends beside me" and continue to seek out friendships in their new town.

RE: the older students, if one is married, raising families, and joining in with their siblings in caring for elderly parents, etc, that student's energy and time is probably being used up pretty much!! That student might also have some of their urge to share the sometimes overwhelming experience of being a nursing student, or need for support, or caring ear,

satiated by their families, or by lifelong friends already in place, especially if they have not moved to a new town to attend nursing school, as many younger students do.

anyway, to any young person in nursing school, who is eager to make pals to share going through nursing school with, there's nothing wrong with that urge, imo, and it doesn't mean you lack "self identity" imo,

and if you are feeling lonely cuz you haven't made such a friend in your new setting yet, and do wish you had someone to talk over the day's events with, (seems a normal urge to ME anyway)

i say,

reach out to them. Invite them over for coffee or a cocktail, or a stress-reducing walk, or whatever. Intense experiences like some of those we go through in nursing school, can make some of us want to share them, to discuss them, with pals,

and this can become a foundation for a lasting and close, deep friendship. GOOD LUCK!!!

Edited by somenurse

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Skips works as a Registered Nurse.

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I do agree with this article, for the most part.

I am 22, going on 23 in a few months, and I am married. I also have a 3-year-old son (soon to be 4 in a few months), and I volunteer during the month. I also have nursing school full-time, trying my best to maintain a 3.8. I also take care of our home while my husband works full-time.

How do I have time for friends? I don't. It's tough, because I have to make completely new friends than from high school/middle school. A lot of people stick with their own cliques from earlier school, but I had to start over. I have lived here for 4 years, and I still haven't secured any real friendships....people my age expect me to be like them, and to like doing the same things as them. But I don't. I don't like to go out and get drunk and party. It seems like most people my age like doing that, and they want me to do it with them.

That's the uneasy part for me. I guess I could make friends, but it seems like their priorities are a lot different from mine. It's sort of frustrating.

This turned into my personal life story. xD Sorry, guys.

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AKreader has 2 years experience.

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I kind of agree with this article. I think I am an exception (ok, let's face it, I'm weird). I am a transfer student - got my pre-reqs done in comm. college and transferred out of state to a private school. My "college" years were my first two years. I had a blast with all of my friends. Now, yeah, I've made a couple friends but I have a lot of different priorities than the majority of people in my class.

Also, the school I attend is a religious private school and it seems as though many are very sheltered - I *feel* so much older than everyone because I've lived through more hardships. I work a lot, because I don't have a doctor daddy to pay everything for me. I don't feel like I can relate to the students in my class.

If I make friends, great! But it isn't my priority, and I don't even think about it, much less stress over it.

I'm an older adult and I just think it would be nice if someone would partner up with me to insure each other passes. I'm not really into dating anyone in the nursing program although they are all women. I just want to pass and I think it would be nice to have someone to study with, but I've had not luck.

Last semester I asked a few people about their interest in studying with me and I never got a response. One of them failed just barely. I wonder if he spent the time to study with me if we both would have ended up with better grades and both of us passing?

My question is how does an older adult find a study partner especially when the majority of students are in the 25 and under range?

I am sorry you haven't had success with people in your class. I'm 21, and I would much rather study with the older ladies in my class - they are more serious and focused. Find the quiet girl in the back of the room - maybe you are just asking the wrong people!

Edited by AKreader
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I do agree with this article, for the most part.

I am 22, going on 23 in a few months, and I am married. I also have a 3-year-old son (soon to be 4 in a few months), and I volunteer during the month. I also have nursing school full-time, trying my best to maintain a 3.8. I also take care of our home while my husband works full-time.

How do I have time for friends? I don't. It's tough, because I have to make completely new friends than from high school/middle school. A lot of people stick with their own cliques from earlier school, but I had to start over. I have lived here for 4 years, and I still haven't secured any real friendships....people my age expect me to be like them, and to like doing the same things as them. But I don't. I don't like to go out and get drunk and party. It seems like most people my age like doing that, and they want me to do it with them.

That's the uneasy part for me. I guess I could make friends, but it seems like their priorities are a lot different from mine. It's sort of frustrating.

This turned into my personal life story. xD Sorry, guys.

You make a good point, people raising children often do have different lifestyles than those who are not yet parents. My daughter is not yet a parent, but, in the area we live in now, most everyone her age has babies,

and her complaint is reverse of yours, she wants pals who can go out and run around, go here or there,

but, most of her pals are now raising babies, and want to talk about "yellow vegetables at what age?" etc, and she zones out.

Maybe you can find other parents in your class to become friends with? It can be bonding thing in and of itself at times, for some people.

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1 Article; 14,782 Visitors; 470 Posts

I'm an older adult and I just think it would be nice if someone would partner up with me to insure each other passes. I'm not really into dating anyone in the nursing program although they are all women. I just want to pass and I think it would be nice to have someone to study with, but I've had not luck.

Last semester I asked a few people about their interest in studying with me and I never got a response. One of them failed just barely. I wonder if he spent the time to study with me if we both would have ended up with better grades and both of us passing?

My question is how does an older adult find a study partner especially when the majority of students are in the 25 and under range?

It's hard to picture a class that doesn't have some older adults in it, too...maybe try some of the same age students to study with? Many ppl, whether they are 20 or 50, seem to prefer and hang out with same age pals.

I wonder if your class has either a bulletin board or a website to post "Study Partner Wanted" ? Or, perhaps start up a study group?

The professors might even allow you to announce this group starting up, who knows.

My class had one, and we met at each other's homes, or sometimes in the library, and studied with each other, it did seem to help, i thought.

Edited by somenurse

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I kind of agree with this article. I think I am an exception (ok, let's face it, I'm weird). I am a transfer student - got my pre-reqs done in comm. college and transferred out of state to a private school. My "college" years were my first two years. I had a blast with all of my friends. Now, yeah, I've made a couple friends but I have a lot of different priorities than the majority of people in my class.

Also, the school I attend is a religious private school and it seems as though many are very sheltered - I *feel* so much older than everyone because I've lived through more hardships. I work a lot, because I don't have a doctor daddy to pay everything for me. I don't feel like I can relate to the students in my class.

If I make friends, great! But it isn't my priority, and I don't even think about it, much less stress over it.

I am sorry you haven't had success with people in your class. I'm 21, and I would much rather study with the older ladies in my class - they are more serious and focused. Find the quiet girl in the back of the room - maybe you are just asking the wrong people!

^ that is good advice. Not most or all young ppl are into drunken partying, as some here almost seem to be implying. Certainly, that is the age for it, but, there are plenty of young ppl whose world does not revolve around tequila. KEEP LOOKING!! I think this urge to find like minds to go through this with, to study with, or even become pals with,

as a good thing.

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Case Management RN.

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I'm not sure i even completely follow the notion, if i am understanding this article correctly, that having a sense of self reduces one's need to have friends, or their tolerance for lonliness. I'm not sure i'd agree.

I'm not necessarily implying that having a solid sense of self or being 'older' reduces a person's need to have friends. I'm also not implying that all young adults (18 to 25 age range) have unformed identities, because many have a strong sense of self.

However, countless young adults do have identities that never quite took shape. I'm saying that the adult whose identity has not yet developed will still place the highest emphasis on one's peer group and circle of friends, just like many teens do.

Most teens are very into their peer groups in their search for their identities. The handful of young adults who have identities that have not fully formed are also deeply into their peer groups as they search for their identities.

I did not delve into the topic of personality types, but I feel that extroverted people of all ages have a greater need for friends than introverts from all age groups.

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I'm considered a nontraditional student, though I'm only in my late 20's. I have a boyfriend, but no kids. Friends weren't at the forefront of my mind during nursing school, and really aren't at the forefront now that I am doing pre-reqs for my RN program. During nursing school, I preferred to study alone. I had my own system and my own way of doing things, and when I tried to study with someone or others in a group, my grades would reflect it. I retained more by doing my own thing. I excelled in my classes, and did so without the help of study partners or study groups.

Now that I am at a large school doing prereqs for my RN program, it's a little different because it's pre-reqs and they just aren't as hard as actual nursing classes (for me, anyways). I have gotten to know several classmates across several of my classes, and have had times where we have gotten together and studied, but in the end, I still prefer studying on my own rather than with someone. I retain more, and I just get a better understanding of the material when I can study on my own time, at my own pace, and in my own way.

On top of this, I'm not in school to make friends. I have friends and a whole different life outside of school, and I try to keep them as seperate as possible, because my friends and my life are my getaway from the stressors of school life when I need a break. I'd rather not combine the two. So really, whether I make friends or not in school is at the bottom of my list of concerns. I have a few friends that have graduated nursing school, and they have kept in touch with very few, if any, people from their school. My concern during school has been, and will continue to be, my education. I'm there for one reason and with one goal: to graduate and make a future for myself.

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