Hi everyone! I just finished my fall term of nursing school and is officially a senior ready to graduate next year 🙂 Nursing school is probably one of the hardest thing I ever did and it only gets harder and harder. This term was actually so hard to me because I had to balance work with school and a lot of birthdays/social events (I have a pretty big family and I swear we have birthdays like every week LOL). Even if you’re not in nursing school, I hope these tips will help you with your academics and upcoming finals.
Organization is everything!
It is easier to study when your notes and school stuff are all neat and organized. My instructors give out PowerPoints and I would type them up into outlines. Personally, having an outline is so much easier to study with because you get to focus on what is important and not just read everything off the PowerPoints + my scribbled notes. I use my textbooks to read in depth major topics emphasized in class or topics I just did not understand as well and add them to my outlines. Find what studying method works for you and organize it! One last thing I recommend is to get a planner for the ultimate organization tool. I write down my work/school schedule, assignments, deadlines, and special events all in my planner. I enjoy physically writing in my planner since I am a visual person and using my cute stickers from Etsy but you can always just use your calendar on your phone.
Do Not Procrastinate
This is pretty obvious but do not study last minute. I always try to study way in advance because there are just too much information to try to cram in a little amount of time. I have pretty bad anxiety especially when it comes to exam times so studying in advance drastically reduces it. You’ll feel much better studying earlier than pulling an all nighter right before the exam. Trust me, all nighters are the worse and my dark circles are still paying for it. Plan ahead and use your planner.
Study groups are very helpful if you utilize it well. I would not recommend studying with a lot of people because that would get too crazy and distracting but a few would be perfect. For me, I have a study group of 3 (including me) and it is probably one of the best things I ever did in nursing school. When you study with other people, you get to teach and learn at the same time. I was able to teach my friends what I learned and I learned from them what I misinterpreted in class or things I missed just by dozing off in class (oops LOL). Our ideas bounced off each other and we learned more together than we would individually. Collaboration is so important and then this study group became more than study groups; they’re my actual friends. It was also nice to have them for support and to call you at 7am to wake you up for class because you overslept. Thanks Jas & Steph. You guys are A1 <3
It’s Okay To Not Be Perfect
This is something that I struggled with and is slowly working on. I always been an overachiever and always had to be perfect. I am the type of person who gets an A and gets upset if it was not a high A. Nursing school is tough and the exam questions are not like regular exam questions either. Even if your answer is right, there is another right answer. I used to beat myself up over not having the perfect grade even though my grades were always pretty high. I am my biggest critic and it is good in a way because it motivates me but then it really hurts me at the same time. I slowly learned to let go of this because it is not healthy at all. I developed a mindset where I don’t have to be perfect everyday at everything I do; I just have to try and be happy. As long as I was getting good grades and taking care of myself, that’s all that matters.
Always Take Care of Yourself
Yup this is soooo important! I overworked myself a lot when I first started nursing school because I did not know how hard it was going to be yet. A typical day consisted of waking up at 6:30am to commute 30 mins to school and then working all night after school until 10-11pm. As soon as I get home from work, I would do homework or study until 2-3am and then go to sleep and wake up and repeat. My weekends were supposed to be for sleeping in and studying but I would either work or have a birthday event to go to. This got tiring so quick because I felt like I never got a break and it really took a toll on my health and academics. I was always so tired and dozed off a lot in class. My dark circles got really dark and I was just at a really low point in my life. I started to realize how stressed I was getting and decided to cut back on work. Overall, my advice is to put yourself first and not to overwork yourself. Please get some sleep especially before an early class, exam or 6:30am clinicals. Find ways to relieve your stress and when in doubt, drink coffee with double shot of expresso to keep you awake. Always take care of yourself first and everything else will follow.
Hope you find my tips helpful and if you have any tips for me please share 🙂 Good luck with finals everyone. xoxo <3