Sorry it took me a little while to get back to you guys... to say the least, I've been busy! To answer your questions:
@mgh--- I'm in Adult NP with a subspecialty in Oncology. But please be aware that during your first year, the entire cohort is in the same boat. Just because you are in one specialty or another does not mean that you will have more time or a different experience within your specialty. (That comes in the Master's portion.) So, during the 5 x 5s, we ALL have to do psych, med-surg, peds, obstetrics, etc. I've heard that your integration period (6-8 weeks at the end where you are paired up with an RN and work their shifts), they *try* to put you in your specialty, but this is not guaranteed. I'm not there yet, so I can't swear to it. Also realize, that with the exception of Anaesthesia and Midwifery, you can switch out of your specialty into another if you later realize that you are more comfortable in one area or another.
As to the program overall? I adore it. I am so incredibly happy to be at this school, having the opportunity to work with this caliber of staff, instructors, and hospitals. Of course, no program is perfect and no experience is the same, but for me, this is a dream come true.
@aiwish, the first summer is THE HARDEST experience I have ever gone through in my life. 21 credits in only 9 weeks is extremely challenging!! However, if you are organized and study hard, it can be done. The clinical experience was not the challenging aspect for me, it was the massive amount of information that was required to be read, internalized, and recalled as needed for exams. Clinicals were fun, actually! I had a great preceptor who left me feeling incredibly confident in my abilities and I was able to be hands-on with patients my very first day. As to camraderie, absolutely!! We are all in the same boat together, so there's a lot of helping each other out when needed. There is no advantage to compete- while we get letter grades and our class is ranked, there is no valedictorian and the only time that your class ranking comes into play is when people are invited to join Sigma Theta Tau (the international nursing fraternity). At that time, the top 1/3 are invited in. In my experience, everyone is quite lovely and I have made some wonderful friends.
@susifen, I think I knew fairly well what I was getting into. I made it a point of going to an information session at the school prior to applying, asked a ton of questions of current students on this site, and researched all I could. Accepted students were also invited to come to the school for a day to walk around and speak with current students, and I took advantage of that opportunity.
Best of luck to you all and I hope that I can meet you on campus one day!