5 tips for surviving nursing school
Whether you’re en route to your registered nursing certification or have just enrolled in an RN to MSN program after years working in the field, nursing school brings its fair share of challenges. Between coursework to complete, assignments to read and tests to ace, it can be easy to become overwhelmed during your studies.
While there’s no quick solution for making nursing school easy, these five tips will make pursuing your education simpler than ever.
1. Set priorities.
If you try to give 100 percent to every area of your life while pursuing your degree, you’re going to get burned out fast and your studies will suffer. Take some time to sit down and assess your priorities while you’re in school. This is especially important if you have children. According to the National Student Nurses’ Association, you’ll need to assess each situation on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes your child’s needs will come before your coursework. But other times you’ll need to put studying first. If you’ve had to put in long hours for school recently, try to plan a special activity, like a picnic, on your day off to remind your family that they’re a priority.
2. Study smarter, not harder.
When you have a big exam coming up, it can be tempting to study every piece of information that you can get your hands on for as many minutes as you have in the day. But studying harder doesn’t always translate to better grades. Instead of trying to memorize the entire book, pay attention to what the instructor highlights in assignments and lectures. That should give you an idea of what’s most important to know for upcoming exams.
3. Simplify your life.
Don’t be afraid to put clubs, volunteer opportunities or other extra commitments on hold temporarily while you finish your degree. And look for ways to keep your home life as simple as possible as well. For example, if you have a free morning or afternoon, consider doing all your meal planning and grocery shopping, and prepare several meals in advance to put in the freezer for busy weeknights. Even if you love cooking, preparing a gourmet, fresh meal every night may make your evenings more stressful when you also have studying to do. Simplifying your life temporarily will give you more energy to dedicate to pursuing your degree.
4. Find the right space to study.
Some people absolutely love working at home. But for many, trying to study in the same place you eat and sleep may just offer too many distractions. Whichever camp you fall in, finding the right place to study is critical to your academic success. The New York Times suggested looking for a library or other empty space, especially if you’re living or working on a campus where the opportunity to socialize with other students may be too tempting. If you’re enrolled in an RN to MSN online program, family members at home may provide similar distractions. Consider finding a favorite coffee shop to escape to when you really need to focus.
5. Keep the big picture in mind.
Finally, don’t lose sight of the big picture. When you’re up studying the night before a big test, it may be hard to see that there’s life after you finish that final question. But exams, homework assignments and even final grades come and go. While you definitely need to try your best, it’s highly unlikely that one bad score will get between you and your academic aspirations. And don’t forget: school doesn’t last forever. Whether you’re working on a BSN or earning a master’s degree in nursing, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and with hard work you’ll get there before you know it.