So You're Now in Nursing School

... welcome to the slog. There's a reason many of us lose our non-healthcare friends, survive on school event pizzas, and annoy our family by burying our noses in textbooks thicker than phone books. Nursing school is a beast. Sure, the pre-reqs were hard in a way, but these classes, tests, and nursing school culture is just on a whole different level. You're at least a week or two in and have surely realized that by now. Are you panicked yet? A few tips:


Make study buddy friends. They might not stick around to become your maid of honor or best man, but sometimes quizzing each other and complaining about unfair test questions together is all you need to keep you sane. It's like having a buddy on the inside- friends of convenience are still friends. Plus, this will help keep you on track academically and improve your studying!


And you never know, you might have a budding specialty NCLEX tutor in your midst...


I am second from the right! These are my nursing school study buddies who I am STILL FRIENDS WITH to this day.

Attend the professors' study groups or open hours. People who ask for help and show up to get it are the ones they have the most sympathy for when a test grade is borderline. Become a familiar face for the right reasons. Bonus: you get a free review session and the ability to get any question you'd like answered in a 1-on-1 setting.


Stay organized. First, decide if you're a Google calendar or paper planner person. Get to work filling in your choice with tests, due dates for papers, and any online message board postings you have to do. Next, map out the studying you need to do before each date. There. Now you just have to stick with it!


Establish clear and firm boundaries with family and casual friends. First, let's make it clear that if Mom is your cheerleader and your best friend cheers you up, by all means stay close! But if family night dinners three times a week is ruining your study schedule, let your family know. Be polite but resolute- study time comes before anything else.


Don't make the mistake of working too much. Some jobs make it easy to study in your downtime. Others don't. Depending on your job type, be wary of signing up for too many shifts ahead of time, especially at key points in the semester. It's best to be available to pick up if you're all caught up but not committed if you really ought to be hitting the books. I recommend no more than 15 to 20 hours of work each week IF you have a job that lets you study and you're academically sound. If not, cut it down to 5-10 hours per week tops.


I'm aware that not everyone can just stop working when they're in nursing school, but the above schedule is truly ideal.


What tips have helped you so far this semester? Share below.

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© 2016 by Lisa Chou

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