My alarm goes off at 6:45am. and I’m out the door by 7:30am. traveling with most of San Antonio, TX, and the majority of the “8 to 5” workers. I arrive downtown at my fluorescent-lit office to start my new grad job as a Development and Outreach Coordinator on the communications team. Tired, I start my new daily routine of work.
6 months and 2 different bosses later… I come to the realization that corporate life is NOT for me.
The process to get accepted into nursing school can become quite lengthy. Since I initially went the business route for my undergraduate degree, I had to take 32 hours of pre-requisites to apply to most schools in Texas. Some of these courses included Anatomy & Physiology, Chemistry I & II, Microbiology, Nutrition, and a few others. I took these courses at my community college and recommend that option if you are trying to save money.
After completing my pre-requisites, I had to take an entrance exam called the ATI TEAS. This exam covered 4 subjects: reading, math, science, and English and language usage. Every school has a different requirement for a minimum score, so be sure to check the application process and double-check all your deadlines!
I applied to 2 different schools in Texas and was finally accepted as a nursing student in 2021 for the fall semester. Once accepted, I was quickly overwhelmed with more deadlines to complete. I had to get immunizations, do a criminal background check, be certified in CPR/First Aid, and sign a lot of acknowledgment forms. Our professors gave us summer reading and assignments to prepare for once school started– it was the biggest reality check, but I was also filled with excitement.
My alarm goes off at 5:15am. It’s the first day of school and I have so many emotions. I’m excited, nervous, and scared. This is the beginning of a new life for me. I’m out the door by 6:30am for my first class, Basic Health Assessment.
4 months later… I finished my first semester of nursing school!
My first semester was a learning curve for me. It had been so long since I was a full-time student again. I had to learn how to study efficiently, cope with stress, and manage my time effectively. I had 4 classes and 1 clinical. By the middle of the semester, I felt like I found a system that worked for me.
I learned so much about myself during my first semester of nursing school. I had to do a lot of self-reflecting. There were times I would ask myself, “is nursing a career for me?” However, I had to remember that these were fundamental courses and I was barely dipping a toe into what it is like to be a nurse. I had to learn how to find ways for self-care like taking time to get outside and clear my head when I was under a lot of stress preparing for an exam. I also had to learn how to be confident by jumping at opportunities in clinical to ask questions or volunteer to do a task. Finding a good group of friends was really helpful as well during my first semester. We were able to form a study group and be a support system for each other.
I’m heading into my 3rd semester of nursing school in the fall, and I could not have made a better choice in pursuing my dream of becoming a nurse. I have been challenged in so many ways, but each time I surprise myself when I overcome every hurdle thrown my way. Nursing school can be demanding and challenging, but the end will be rewarding!
Here are a few tips for new nursing students:
- Come prepared for clinical and class. Make sure you read your course material before class, it is very easy to procrastinate.
- Be organized. Nursing school comes at you fast, and it’s so important to have a system for organizing your notes or deadlines. I recommend using a planner or digital calendar.
- Use your resources. Sometimes I would not understand specific material and online resources (check the student category in the Lumify Hub!) really helped me. I would spend hours on Youtube to get a better understanding.
- Don’t feel bad about saying “no.” This was one of the most challenging things for me as a nursing student. I wanted to attend every family or social event, but realistically that was not possible for me. I had to communicate with my friends and family about how important school was and how I could not make every event.
- Get help early on. If you are falling behind go to office hours or a tutor ASAP. Your professors will be a lot more understanding and offer help if you go early on in the semester instead of a few tests in.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Nursing school is not a walk in the park for most people. You may fail a test, but that doesn’t mean you are going to be a bad nurse. Grades don’t define you.
- Self-care is essential. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of only going to school and studying. However, take a walk outside or do something fun every once in a while to reboot.