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Im starting nursing program in few weeks. I am pretty excited but terrified after reading some posts here. Is it really that hard? I am 39 years old with 3 children. Leaving my job after 16 years to pursue my lifelong dream. I am committed and motivated. Any tips or advise would be appreciated.

I graduated in December and passed the NCLEX in January. I was/am 43, and my oldest was 2 when I started my prerequisites. He is 8 now.

The most important thing for me was having my husband and family on board 100% so I could focus on school. It is hard, but doable. Be professional, don't cram, and make sure you have the time/space to study.

Thank You!! I do have a great support system at home as well.

College is as hard as you make it. Tons of single parents with no help make it through these nursing programs... if they can do it, everyone can do it.

It's all up to prioritizing your time and studying effectively, and not excessively. Relax, it's only school. You'll do fine.

College is as hard as you make it. Tons of single parents with no help make it through these nursing programs... if they can do it, everyone can do it.

It's all up to prioritizing your time and studying effectively, and not excessively. Relax, it's only school. You'll do fine.

Amen - studying smarter, not longer is key!

There's a book by Linda Wong called Essential Study Skills - older editions are dirt cheap on Amazon - and it's been really helpful. I was assigned the book during a Gen.Ed. course and even after my years of schooling, I have learned so much from it! I recommend it to anyone who's starting a heavy program. You can cherry-pick which chapters you read (they're all pretty short), but loaded with handy tips and methods for making study time more efficient!

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

I think students who have "lived" a bit before tackling school tend to have an easier time. A lot of it has to do with coping skills and support systems. You're a mom. You are already a superhero. :) No need for terror! Just healthy respect for your program.

Specializes in Critical care, Trauma.

I will echo the sentiment above about the need for a fantastic support system. And that's not just moral support. It's being willing to pick up your slack when you can't do all of the chores around the house that you normally do, taking the kids out of the house for you to study in peace, bringing in (or borrowing) enough money that you aren't having financial stress on top of everything else when you can't work as much (or maybe even at all).

One thing my LPN program did very well was, before our first class, they had a "significant other meeting". All of the students were encouraged to bring their support systems -- parents, spouses, kids, etc. They sat everyone down and said firmly, "she's your mother/wife/daughter, but she's ours for the next 9 months. You will have to pick up her slack so she can make a better future for all of you." It's hard to say if everyone got the message but I know my husband sure did. lol

I also agree that those that have "real world experience" tended to cope much better in these programs. My classmates were anywhere from 19 to 50 so there was a pretty large spectrum. Where the "older" (relatively) students tended to struggle, was in their guilt about their parental responsibilities. Even if everything was great at home and they had a husband and/or grandparents to pick up the slack, there were a lot of moms that had difficulty reconciling their lack of time to spend with their children. One mom found a way that helped her, which was each night she had special one-on-one time with each child, doing whatever they wanted to do, for 15 minutes. She'd set a kitchen timer and she'd let them take the lead. It sounded like it helped them a lot and I think it was a really smart way to compromise when time is short.

Good luck with your program!

Specializes in Emergency Medicine.

You can definitely do this. I just finished Nursing School... it was my second career after spending 12 years in the army. I am starting my new career in my late 30s. Before I started, I second guessed myself so much, even enrolling and dropping out one time before the classes even began lol. But that next semester I went back after I told myself, the time will go by whether I pursue my dream or not. So I might as well spend the time reaching for my goals. It's never too late to do anything unless we are dead! Well except being world class gymnasts, I suppose. lol. You can do this!

If I can give any advice I'd say try to set aside time to study. When you have family and work it's hard, but even 30 minutes a day will make a world of difference in the long run. I was a crammer during all my other schools, and cramming does not work in nursing school. Trust me. Also if your school has a free tutor program, use it. I've never needed a tutor before when pursuing my previous degrees but decided to give it a try. They gave me such amazing advice about how to remember some things and great test taking strategies. People wondered why I was going to a tutor with a high GPA... but I tell them I had a high GPA because I used all the resources I could, including the tutors.

So bottom line is... map out your time, use your resources, and believe in yourself! Live the dream. It'll all be worth it.

Thank you so much everyone for all your kind words and encouragement. I will do as everyone advised. I am pretty excited and believe I can do this !!

God bless you all!

I was 50 when I graduated. Yeah it's hard. I cried every day first semester and I'm not really a crier. It's just an adjustment of your mental, physical and time management capabilities. There is a lot of time needed for studying outside of class and then you'll eventually have clinical added to boot. Family still needs/wants your time so it will be an adjustment for them too. I tell you all this not to discourage you but to serve as a reminder when you feel this way you're not odd or alone. When you start, it feels like it will never end but you start to get into the student nurse groove and time starts to fly and before you know it you're graduating. Wish you the best on your journey!

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