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5 Things to Know About Your First Semester of Nursing School


Entering your first semester of nursing school might be somewhat nerve-wracking. Though it's sure to be incredibly rewarding, nursing school mandates a heavy academic load, thereby properly preparing you to confidently enter the profession. Even if you're an A student, nursing school will likely raise unique challenges that are tough to anticipate until you're immersed in the semester. Here are five things to know as you enter your first semester as a nursing student:

1. Study consistently.
Nursing school is all about retention.There is a tremendous amount of information to take in and procrastinating or cramming is not conducive to success. Nursing students should regularly study so that they can scaffold information. In other words, nursing students need to have a strong understanding of what they learn during their first semester, because everything is directly applicable to the next semester, and so on. 

2. Don't go in expecting to be the best. 
It's easy to be competitive, especially if you're used to being at the top of your class. However, nursing school is a major academic challenge, and even if you excel, you're not going to get everything right all of the time. Don't enter your first semester hoping to prove you're a better prospective nurse than your classmates.2 Instead, build a network so that you have a group of peers of which to share notes and study.

3. Be prepared for a heavy academic workload.
Even if you took every available advanced placement class in high school and are considered a genius amongst your friends, nursing school takes academics to the next level. This is why it's important to get in the routine of studying on a regular basis, as it will make the workload more manageable. 

4. It's a major time commitment. 
At the beginning of the semester, it's easy to look at your academic schedule and think you still have plenty of time for yourself. However, it's likely nursing school will take up more time than you expect, and you should be prepared to make compromises with other time commitments. Talk to friends, significant others and family before the semester begins to explain to them that you'll be very busy throughout the course of the semester.

5. Anatomy and physiology is tough. 
Almost every academic program has a class that's meant to weed out people that aren't committed, and anatomy and physiology is that class for nursing students. Be prepared to study hard and dedicate a lot of time to this class.

1 "8 Ways to survive first semester final exams," by Tyler Eblin, Mighty Nurse, May 29, 2014, http://www.mightynurse.com/8-ways-to-survive-first-semester-final-exams-stories/

2 "10 things you Should know about the first semester of nursing school," Allnurses.com, December 3, 2013, http://allnurses.com/general-nursing-student/10-things-you-891142.html

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