My approach to nursing school has been a lot different than my approach to my undergraduate degree at the university where I did my BSc.
Things I used to do at university:
- Do readings if required
- Do readings sometime before the midterm or final (sometimes working on them right up until a day or two before)
- Do problem sets only if required (eg. will be marked)
- Not really bring food because I would buy lunch on campus (so bad for me, I know), if I was hungry
Things I do in nursing school:
- Do all required readings
- Do all recommended readings
- Do notes for all readings done
- Organize papers a wee bit better
- Read ahead (!)
- Bring food, water, snacks – I have a box of ’emergency’ granola bars and juice boxes in my locker
The most important thing is that I changed my study habits primarily in my last year of my undergrad. I paid more attention to learning objectives, I printed out slides and did hand-written notes during class. I put away my cell phone more often than not, I asked questions, I became more aware and more willing to ask questions. And my grades improved during my last year. Some of my highest grades that I achieved in university were in 3rd and 4th year. The fact that I had more freedom in course selection probably had a lot to do with it as well.
As for nursing school? I’ve been a bit reserved (it’s only day 3 so far!) but I speak up when it’s needed. I’ve been asking questions, keeping on top of my readings, making up a schedule, formed a study group on Day 2 for patho [1. Physiology/Pathophysiology]. Things that were pretty much unheard of for me to do in year 1 of my undergrad. I’m trying, and I’m trying hard. Mostly because this is the dream and I finally got in and I’m going to do this come hell or high water and I’m going to do it well. I may not be the loudest in the group of 8 that I’m in for clinical, but I can come up with correct answers, I understand the ethics in the healthcare industry pretty well already (“Professional Practice” class on Monday!) and I want to do this well. I made a career choice, a lifestyle choice. It’s a grueling three year program and they’ve told us this. It’s going to be both the best and worst three years of our lives. I’m probably not going to have much of a social life, my parents already think I’m studying way too much and I need to prioritize my life around school – not the other way around. And at the same time, I need to remember to take time for me because as far as being healthy and sane, I need to do that for me.
It’s interesting how I approach things now. A little bit more studious, a lot more serious, and just taking it one day at a time – but looking a week in advance at all times to make sure I’m on top of things.
As of the Monday that just happened, I’m officially a student nurse.