Wow, I honestly forgot about this blog. So thank you to those of you that have stopped by since my last post.
So much has happened since I wrote that letter to my desk. I’m in nursing school, and almost done with the first semester. I have my schedule for next semester (as long as I pass the two classes I am in now) and I’m a little nervous. But let’s not talk about the bad.
This semester seems like it’s been a year long. It also feels like it has only been a week. I’ve learned so much about nursing, and about myself. I wanna share my top 10 tips for surviving the first semester of nursing school. But since everyone hates reading paragraphs and even I prefer bullet lists, here we go:
1. Don’t go into clinical thinking it will be easy. But don’t think it will be so hard you can’t do it. Go in with an open mind, ready to learn. Ask questions, get to know the nurses and ask them if you can watch procedures. You’ll get to see some things you aren’t allowed to do yet. You’ll learn something. (I also want to say not to tell anyone else before you go to see a procedure because then the room will be packed, but I also want to say tell everyone because you ALL get to learn something new.)
2. Go get a small hard cover Moleskine notebook, and keep it with you for every single clinical and skills lab. Find things you want to remember and print them out, then tape them in your Moleskine. Breath sounds, med math formulas, health assessment cheat sheet, common abbreviations, etc. Whatever you feel is important to have on you as a reference, put it in that notebook. I suggest a hard cover Moleskine because they’re very durable. I used them in Iraq in the Army and they didn’t fall apart. Almost 10 years later and I can still read everything in them and none of the pages are falling out. They’re available at B&N for like $10. Yeah, it seems a lot for a small notebook, but DEFINITELY worth it. Because you can keep adding to it throughout your entire nursing school career and beyond… at least til it’s full!
3. STUDY. Ohmygawd STUDY. Just because you think you know it doesn’t mean you do. I could have A’s instead of B’s right now, but I’m cocky and decided not to study. I have a feeling it’s gonna bite me in the ass next semester when everything gets more difficult.
4. Live in the skills lab. Well, don’t actually move in, your lab professors might not like that, but spend as much time in there as you can. Even if you aren’t working on skills every minute you’re in there, you will hear other people sharing how they remember to do things, and you’ll be able to pass that knowledge along. Teaching someone how to do something helps you learn it better.
5. Communicate with your professors. Communicate with your professors. Communicate with your professors.
6. Sit toward the front in lecture. You’ll be less distracted if you sit up front. I’m one of the older students in my class, and it drives me absolutely batty when all the younger students spend the class talking. Sit up front because the loudest part of the lecture hall is the back. Plus, being so close to your professor you’ll feel guilty for checking facebook or texting on your phone.
7. Hand write your notes at least once. If you type your notes, go home and write them. Make them pretty if you have the time. Just write them by actually putting pen to paper. It’s another way to commit information to memory. Great study technique.
8. Wash your hands like 437 times a day.
9. Buy some really good lotion because you’ll be washing your hands 437 times a day.
10. It’s ok to cry. This IS nursing school. I’m allowed to cry. If you’re going through it, you’re allowed to cry. Even if you have to hide in the bathroom before an exam and ugly cry for 5 minutes. Cry it out, then go kick some academic ass.
5 FREAKIN BONUS TIPS:
– USE A FREAKIN PLANNER.
– LOOK AT YOUR FREAKIN SYLLABUS EVERY FEW DAYS. (I totally had NO idea we had an exam yesterday. Like, I walked into class and was handed an exam and it was a complete surprise. Don’t be like me. I got an 86%, but don’t be like me. Just… don’t.)
– GIVE ATI A FREAKIN CHANCE. You will probably hate it at first. I did. But now I love ATI. If your school doesn’t use ATI, I’m sorry.
– TAKE CARE OF YOUR FREAKIN SELF. Take a hot bath, binge watch Grey’s Anatomy, go for a hike, eat the ice cream.
– DON’T WAIT UNTIL LAST FREAKIN MINUTE. Do your assignments, studying, reading, etc ASAP.
What did you learn your first semester of school?