It is time I give you my mediocre expertise.
I am currently a senior in my 4 year RN BSN program. It has been an insanely draining and rewarding ride, and I wouldn’t want to trade it for the world.
First, some background.
I did NOT want to be a nurse.
I grew up wanting to be many things. A forensic scientist, a detective, a history teacher… non of these included a nurse.
And look where I am now.
I put down nursing on my application when I had to pick a major for soccer. I decided that I loved the science field and I loved people, so I would put it down. The first year of nursing school was so terrible. I cried almost every day, unsure if I had chosen the right path for me. I had professors tell me that I wasn’t cut out for the field, that I wouldn’t be a good nurse, and that my anxiety was going to get in the way. (3 years later, I ended up being one of this professor’s favorite students).
If I could give any piece of advice about your freshman year as a nursing student, it is that it WILL get better. It is so, so hard, but it truly only gets harder.
Nursing is a major you truly have to put your all into, and choose to love. Once I realized that this was my passion and that this is what I was meant to do, I began to love it. The crazy thing is, it became easier to me. Of course, test taking is my worst area and I failed many tests here and there, but with my own self-motivation and many days crying in my advisor’s office, I knew I was where I was meant to be.
Don’t change your major until your second year.
If you truly believe nursing isn’t for you, get through your first year and then decide. So much stress comes out in your freshman year that it is easy to cloud your vision and think you suck at everything.
You do NOT need to know what field you want to go into.
To this day, I have gone between oncology, pediatrics, trauma, dialysis and multiple other fields of nursing trying to decide which one I fit in. I am a senior in college, with my internship in a couple months with no CLUE where I want it to be. I went into college dead set on the oncology field, terrified of my first med-surg clincial and looking forward to mother-baby. I ended up HATING mother-baby and loving all the gross things that come with med-surg. You just never know.
LET OUT YOUR EMOTIONS
Do not be afraid to cry in your dorm room. I am almost 99, if not 100% positive that all your classmates will be doing the same. College is confusing, especially freshman year. Suppressing emotions will only make things worse and you will result in taking it to drinking or other destructive mechanisms.
Have fun, but focus.
Your freshman year is the easiest, so have fun. Do NOT however, go out every single night and forget your responsibilities. You may not realize it now, but when you start to skip the homework to go out and party, you will be weeks behind in no time. Sooner or later, you’re repeating Anatomy & Physiology and a concepts lab over the summer.
Make a Study Group
It is a good idea to become friends with the people in your nursing classes. This is due to the fact that you will see these people every single day for the next few years. Studying alone is okay, but studying with a group of people and utilizing each-other’s knowledge is so helpful. It is proven that teaching someone what you know helps you learn better too. I would also recommend to actually pay attention in your classes, take notes, and go over them when you get home from class.
Communicate your Workload.
Hi friends, bye friends! Nursing school is a LOT of work. You may see yourself catching FOMO way more often than you thought you would. At the beginning of your semester, communicate to your friends and significant others that you will be focusing on school a LOT. Sometimes you can’t do much with your friends because you have so much homework. Sometimes you can’t go for that weekend trip to Toronto because you have clinical at 7 am on Monday. Sometimes you can’t drink because you have a test at 7 am the next morning. And sometimes you will do all of this anyway. It is important to focus on your studies, but remember that you really are only in college once. Get all your work done ahead of time so you CAN participate in the fun things while you still have them.
Applying to Nursing School:
Don’t sleep on community college.
I chose to go to a private college for 4 years and my bank account is NOT thanking me. If I could back, I would have taken my pre- requisites at community college and taken my core classes elsewhere. There are also community colleges with great nursing programs that you might even get waitlisted for.
Apply to more than one school.
I know we all have our dream college, mine was Texas Christian, but we need to play it safe. Odds are if you only apply to one program, you will either get denied or come to your senses and realize that it is too expensive. If you apply to one school you may be screwed over and denied and left with nowhere to go. I know a couple people who applied to once university, got in and then realized it was way too expensive and had nothing else to do.
The Actual Application Process
The application process is usually started in the fall / summer going into your senior year of high school. The applications are generally due in October and you are notified in January. The applications are due earlier due to the overwhelming amount of applicants and the limited seats. If you get waitlisted, do not get discouraged. Maybe it is a sign that this school wasn’t the one for you, or it is and you just need patience.
For someone like me, who did not want to be a nurse, it was a great decision. Yes, the workload is a lot, and yes, some of it is boring, overwhelming, and just plain scary. However, being a nurse is worth it. Travel nurse, ICU, pediatric, you name it. Any interest you have you can fulfill in this field.
If you guys like these types of posts and want to learn more about nursing related topics, let me know.
I attribute my success to this, I never gave or took any excuse – florence nightingale