So discouraged over A&P, ready to give up nursing plans

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Hi folks,

I've had 2 A&P lectures so far, and am already so overwhelmed by the volume of information we're expected to learn that I'm just about ready to quit the class and give up my plans of attending nursing school. I fought back tears for the last hour of the 4-hour (!) lecture last night, and cried in the car all the way home. I'm desperate to get out of this corporate career I'm in and do something I can be proud of, and that helps people, but I'm afraid now that I just can't do this thing. If I can't handle A&P, I can't do any healthcare profession.

I have a BA in Zoology, so I though I'd be able to handle the schoolwork, but that was almost 20 years ago and it seems I'm different now. Also, I think I bit off too much, but there's nothing that can give: I work 40 hrs/week (we're not allowed to go part time), I'm taking A&P and Sociology as prereqs (must complete to get into the program next fall), and volunteering in an ER (need this so I can write about my healthcare experience in the application essay in February).

I'm afraid that I'm past the point of being able to be encouraged by pep I don't really know what I'm asking here. I feel very discouraged. I guess I just wanted to put this out there (this is my very first post to this wonderful board), and see what folks have to say.

Thanks for any advice, input, etc., even if it's just to say that if I can't hack A&P, then I can't hack nursing school!



10 Posts


Sounds like you are overwhelmed. Understandably so,...

I'm just starting off, too. I'm a single mom, and I can appreciate that you need to work (40 plus) and volunteer, etc.

Sociology - from my experinece- was not scary. The A&P, however, may get a bit tedious and alarming. I wish I could make it better for you, but you may find comfort in making a list of things you may enjoy ie: think about a reward you can treat yourself to once you are finished with the course.

Minimize all the extra *junk* in your life. If you don't have time, you simply don't have time for the social garbage we tend to over-obligate ourselves to, when we are needing time for study.

As well, I have heard some really good things about the A&P coloring books.

Hang in there, baby! Don't give up, just yet! I am thinking maybe you are just overwhelmed, and only need a bit more time to settle into your schedule. Do something nice for yourself. Sleep on it a few days, and then let us know what you are feeling.

You've gotten through life so far,... I bet you can continue to do so, now.

Hugs to you!


438 Posts

don't give up! I struggled with A & P at first as well. The trick that I learned that helped tremendously was to make flash cards of EVERYTHING! I work a lot of hours as well and I was able to take my flashcards with me to work and flip through them on my breaks.

Also, try to focus only on the unit that you are going over right now. If you try and look at the big picture and everything you have to learn, you will panic! If you are doing bones right now, make your flashcards on bones, go over those notes, read that chapter/section and go over it and over it and over it. Eventually it does start to sink in!

Also, start studying for your tests early! I had to start about a week before the test was scheduled because this is not the type of info that you want to try to cram on.

Just take some deep breaths, relax a little and try not to stress about it. I know its easy for me to say that when I am already finished, but really try! Don't give up!



171 Posts

I am sending you a big hug! If you like what you are seeing in the ER & you see that you like nursing - DON"T GIVE UP. You do have a lot on your plate. It can be done. Keep up w/ the work. Do a little everyday and try not to fall behind.

Look, I felt/feel the same way you do. I no-longer work & I still feel overwhelmed w/ tests everyother day. Today, took a test (mind you it is only day 3) and I cried my eyes out afterwards because I thought I did bad on it. And to my shock - I got a B (low B, but still a B).

Chin up - head high & REACH for the sky. You can do it, honestly.



5 Posts

Thank you all so much for your kind words of encouragement! Folks on this board are the best.


21 Posts

don't give up just yet. yes a&p is a little overwhelming and so is part two and microbiology if you have to take that. i am a single mother of two kids i'm in my graduation year of nursing school i work and go to school full time and take care of my two kids. we just started school on thursday and have a test next thursday on like 15 chapters and we are tested in second year every couple of days but every school is different. you just need to make sure that you are studying when you have the extra tim eafter work make a night for yourself once a week or every other week so you can take a break and go out and do something, then the rest of the time study, study, study, i made flash cards of the objectives we had to know and i did the coloring book that is where a lot of our quizes came out of. i was overwhelmed at that time and then more in part 2 and then micro and then nursing first year and look i made it to my 2 year and now will be graduating in 8 months. every time you pass something you will look back and say oh that wasn't so bad you just have to adjust to the life of nursing school, there is no life unless you have like a photographic memory and can remember everything. just keep your head high, take one day and one test at a time, before you know it you will be done. good luck.


401 Posts

Specializes in LTC & Private Duty Pediatrics.


- You cried last night -- now it's time to develop a plan of action.

1. Regarding working for free in ER -- so you have something to write on entrance exam. Don't. Put this at the bottom of your priority list. I will explain my reasoning for this in a new post.

2. If you are on a 15 week A&P 102 schedule - then you MUST memorize 3.00 hours a day. This will get you an 85-95% for the class.

3. Spend 1.5 hours in AM before work and 1.5 hours in PM after work. Study after work at Barnes/Nobles or Library or grab a damned conference room. Yeah, I am swearing. You gotta get peeoed off enough to demand self discipline from yourself. No other way around it.

4. You will need to spend another 2 or 3 hours a week outside of class transferring notes / doing research / other goodies. Use this time to make flash cards - just do them by hand as you go along.

5. Grab some study guides (not one of those coloring books).

6. Go to Hole's Anatomy website and grab sample exams and lecture notes. They did alot of the ground work for you and you can just use their notes for alot of the studying.

7. For Sociology - this should be an easy course -- like 3 hours a week at most outside of class. Then a 4 or 5 hour writeup for each exam and a 10 hour cram session for each exam.

8. Back to A&P:

- You WILL have good study days and bad study days. So what!. You keep pushing yourself. Even on the bad days --- when brain is not functioning - use this time to push ahead to next chapter and do writeups or make note cards. Even if all you are doing is writing the word over and over again -- stick with it.

9. Remember:

- No matter how bad today is --- tomorrow things will work out and be better.

10. Also:

- Don't think that you are in this game alone. Most of us work full time and are going to school. I work 40-50 hours a week at first job and then teach 2 nights a week (5 hours per class).

- Which means you can do it!!!

- So get yourself together, start studying and kick some butt!!!

John Coxey


401 Posts

Specializes in LTC & Private Duty Pediatrics.


- Nursing school essay:

1. Describe those life experiences which have influenced your choice of nursing as a career.

2. Describe personal qualities you possess that could contribute to a career in nursing.

3. How do you see yourself as a nurse practicing in the next 10 years?

Last August, as I waded in the middle of the Yellowstone River, my thoughts were concentrated on the native cutthroat trout that were

feeding before me. How could I get one of these fish to take my dry fly? What more could I do to convince these fish that my fly was

the real thing and not just an imitation?

I don't remember hearing the two grizzly bears. It's when I took my eyes off the trout and prepared to change my dry fly yet another

time, that I noticed the mother grizzly and her almost full-grown cub meander out of the woods. Despite the obvious danger, I felt no fear. As

I stood in the water, I'd say 100 feet away, I watched these two bears drink and play along the riverbank, and then disappear back into the woods.

That night, as I headed back home to Denver, I had time to reflect on that day's experience. I felt honored to be invited to share a brief

moment in these animal's lives. I asked myself, how may people get to go to Yellowstone Park? Of these, how many get to see a grizzly bear while

enjoying their favorite pasttime?

Upon graduating from high school twenty years ago, I started my own trucking business. After several years on the road, I left trucking to

pursue a career in software design and development. Ten years later I graduated with a Master's degree in that field. It is that discipline of

following a dream and sticking with it, that I bring into the nursing field.

Too often, today's society views education as a form of punishment rather than an opportunity. Granted, I too once held this view. Fortunately, I

learned the opposite is true. Education provided me with the opportunity to witness those grizzly bears. It allowed me to participate in life, and

not just sit on the sidelines as a spectator.

Today, as I write this essay, I do not specifically know what career path I will follow in the nursing profession. With this indecision,

I see my career in nursing as an adventure. Academically, I hope that I can build upon the foundation that a nursing education at

Saint Joseph's provides.

Someday, I hope to pass what I have learned about education and life to other people so that they too may witness their grizzly bear.


John Coxey


401 Posts

Specializes in LTC & Private Duty Pediatrics.


- The above essay is what I used for my nursing school essay. I have no nursing experience - and indicated it as such on the nursing school essay.

- I start in June 2004.

John Coxey


777 Posts

impressive john...


646 Posts

Evi, JC has some great advice! My first week in A & P I felt the same way. "What the hell am I doing here?" My A & P prof was a Harvard trained MD, tough as nails and told us we would be learning the same A & P as MD students. I almost died right there in my chair.

You'll be studying constantly. I even studied in the ER waiting room when my dad was ill. Nothing can get in your have to be very focused. It wont be easy....and on your worst day think to yourself "someone named 'furball' did it I sure as hell can!" ;)

Good luck! Nursing is an "adventure."


5 Posts


What inspiring and motivating posts! I appreciate your taking the time to write them. I wish I had your discipline, but I'm afraid I don't...but I'll not give up right this minute.

Re the healthcare experience for the essay: unfortunately, one of the two application essay questions is explicitly about my previous healthcare experience, either as a volunteer or paid. But I agree that this volunteering does need to come last, and if I need to, I can try to write very generally the role of healthcare in my life.

[And what a wonderful grizzly story! I also saw grizzlies at Yellowstone, but from a great distance. I'm a lifelong animal lover whose first passion is animal care, but I've given up (hmmm, theme here?) on finding an animal career that will actually pay this single woman's SF Bay Area mortgage (other than vet, which is just too much school at this point). ]

Thanks again to everyone,


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