We all have ideas about what nursing school will be like, but truth is…it is impossible to understand the constant difficulties, stress, and pressures of nursing school unless you have experienced it for yourself. It is also impossible to describe the incredible feelings of pride and accomplishment you will have when you ace an exam, master a difficult concept, or reach the end of a demanding semester. Nursing school is a beast, and it is not for the weak, that being said it is not impossible and has been one of the most rewarding personal experiences I have had in my life so far.
Here are some things that I wish I know before I started nursing school:
- It is a roller coaster. Some weeks you will feel like you are on top of everything, nailing assignments and killing it on exams…and then the next week you will feel like you are drowning. Lather, rinse, repeat. Make sure to celebrate the good weeks, and it easy on yourself during the hard weeks.
- Your path is your own. Do not compare with others, it will almost never bring any good. Your goals, circumstances, and experiences are YOURS. Don’t get hung up on what grade someone else got on an assignment, or if they don’t have to work while going to school so therefore, they have more time. Comparison is the thief of joy, don’t get robbed.
- Imposter syndrome is real and sometimes when you’ve had a goal you’ve been working toward for so long, it feels surreal to finally be living it. This can lead you to feeling like you don’t belong. You do. You put in the work. You made it happen. You are exactly where you should be.
- Taking breaks is not only okay, but it is necessary. You cannot pour from an empty cup, so make sure to fill yours up every once in a while. You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. Be kind to yourself.
- There will be feelings of loneliness. Nursing school is so hard for others to understand who haven’t gone through it, and adding a global pandemic into the mix can leave you isolated and alone. Find some kind of support to help you through, whether it be classmates, a therapist, or someone else who will go along this journey with you. Even if it is just a listening ear, being able to vent and feeling heard is invaluable.
- Don’t get TOO hung up on grades. It is not worth it to drive yourself crazy to try to maintain a 4.0. If someone if able to get straight A’s, that’s awesome for them! You know what else is awesome? Taking care of your own mental health. Do your best, but don’t make yourself sick in the process.
- Ask for help EARLY. You are paying for resources such as tutors and student learning assistants, USE THEM! If something isn’t clicking, get ahead of it by getting help before you are lost. This information that is being presented is new, and you aren’t expected to catch on to everything right away.
In all, once you get into nursing school, remember to be kind to yourself. There is a life to live outside of school and these sacrifices that you are making are only temporary. Keep your focus on your goals while also taking care of yourself. This is one of the greatest journeys you will embark on.