FutureNurse1, what your family friend, who is a retired nurse, meant when she said "toughen up" will become very apparent to you once you are in the trenches as a new RN. It is becoming assertive AFTER you have experienced things that will not be taught in nursing school. Just as advanced chemistry cannot be taught to a kindergartener, one must come up through the "ranks", build precept upon precept, fall on your behind several times, fail, and keep getting up time after time. That is what will make you a strong, successful nurse who is able to handle herself with grace, skill, and confidence. As far as the job market goes, no one knows what the situation will be at the time you finish your degree and pass the NCLEX. Study HARD, LISTEN, and OBSERVE, not only as far as the medical profession is concerned, but in your relationships with peers, instructors, and clinical staff. No lecture from me about attitude adjustment...."just the truth" as you say. Did I say "LISTEN"? You will learn far more by keeping your mouth closed and your eyes and ears open. Best of luck as you continue your education in every facet.