Nursing School: First Week Tips for #Success!

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Another quarter has just begun. All the students (including myself), professors, administrators, advisors are already getting overwhelmed with all the work. And for this Fall 2015 quarter, I am taking my OB/GYN/PEDS course. I’ll keep you updated on that. Haha. Oh man, fml. Super excited, nonetheless.

Being once a nursing program tutor for my school (unfortunately, it got too overwhelming), I had to be part of a program called “Start Big.” The program was essentially one on one meetings with new students, in order to orient them to our online student portal. The demographic of those students mainly consisted individuals who weren’t yet comfortable with using the internet and/or haven’t been in school for a very long time. And some of those students came just to get information. We went over how they can navigate around their email, elibrary resources, course board, pay tuition, find their grade reports, course books, etc. That was all just technical stuff. Nothing too serious.

In my opinion, the later part of the little session was the most important. I got to rant about Time Management, Organization, Prioritization, Procrastination, etc. You’d be surprised how many students truly don’t realize how essential these initial big steps are, toward getting a good grade. Perhaps it’s Arrogance? Ignorance? Don’t want to be treated like a child? I get it. I’m not here to tell you what to do. You are all grown ass people. Lol.

It’s only just Monday, and if my memory does me justice, I’ll be observing a lot of the new student and even some familiar faces. Everyone will be running aorund campus all stressed, talking about what they have to do right away. Yes, it is very stressful and overwhelming. But don’t stress! We are all in this together! I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard “OMG, I have so much reading to do! I have to get it done now!” And all of them would be crowding up the library, trying to get ahead on their reading. I get it. We all have due dates. We all don’t want to fall behind. Hell, I’m juggling a lot of things too.

But a trend that I’ve been seeing constantly, especially when mid-terms come around, “I forgot to do this, I need to submit this and that, I’m so behind, I don’t know what happened with that last exam?”

So, let’s break it down!

  1. Time Management & Organization
  2. Prioritization
  3. Procrastination

Time Management & Organization

For the love of God, GET A CALENDAR!!! Whether it be an online calendar or a physical book calendar, grab that syllabus of yours and put all your due dates, assignments, exam dates, etc. into it. The main importance of this is for you to visualize what is going on in your world. What I like about online calendars is that you can put as much as you want in each day. But, a paper/book calendar will do just fine! A calendar itself will help you keep track of everything, including your personal life outside of school: family time, work, booty calls, etc. Lol.

Prioritization

Now that you have organized your calendar, you should be able to see how much time you have prioritized for school. The standard recommendation for studying time is 3 hours per credit hour. So, if you’re taking a 3 credit course, you need to study at least 9 hours a week for it. Seriously though, no one ever listens to that tip. So, take it with a grain of salt. Do as much studying time as you think you’ll need for that particular class. Then, you can make adjustments along the way. But, nevertheless, let’s use it as a starting point.

Look at what you’re spending the most time on. Track it. If you want to succeed, you have to get in the mindset that “SCHOOL COMES FIRST.” #NoGames. So tell your parents you can’t really help with that spring cleaning right now (Go ahead, and see what they say about that. LOL), or tell your nagging husband that he needs to recognize it’s 2015! He needs to start picking up some of the slack! #Boom. Just know what is important to you.

Procrastination

Who am I kidding? I procrastinate big time too. Who the heck doesn’t? We are all normal. Just KNOW WHEN TO PROCRASTINATE. If you have an exam coming up or something is due soon, don’t wait! Get it done! However, if you’ve already completed it, go enjoy a damn snow cone.

This is where time management & organization can come in too. Spread out your work load. Twenty minutes on one day and then 20 minutes on another. You should be able to get it done by the weekend. #StayAhead. Being able to visualize your work load, with your calendar, can help you see if you need to pick up the slack or not!

For me personally, my slack off days are: Fridays, Sundays and Mondays. On Fridays, I have the whole weekend to get my stuff straight. On Sundays, I should have already completed my work over the weekend. And lastly, Mondays is simply just the beginning of the week for me. I have the rest of the week to be overwhelmed with material. I use Mondays to re-evaluate my week and see if I need to make any tweeks to my calendar.

Again, know when to procrastinate!

Summary

I won’t tell you again, you’re not a child. Know that regardless of whether you are in nursing school or not, you can use these concepts of self-management anywhere! #STOP! #REMINDER!

After each of my “Start Big” sessions, I gave the students a little reminder. Don’t get overwhelmed after creating your calendar. Yes, it will look crazy! Don’t stress!

And keep in mind that you are human. For crying out loud, well all need time to ourselves. If your calendar is focused just on school, you’re going to set yourself up for a breakdown or manic episode of sorts. Make sure you incorporate mealtimes (you need to freaking eat, to get that brain going!), travel time, shower time, pooping time! We all need a break or two to reset and stay sane.

Cheers,

SV.

Author: nursesarereal

My nursing professor once said that keeping a journal, over time, will allow me to see growth. In myself? I’m not sure yet. I’m hoping. I like to believe that nursing school saved my life. Maybe I’ll have some fun doing this. Cheers.

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