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Let’s face it, we have all heard “Wow, nursing? How do you have a life?” My simple answer to that question: Balance. We are all familiar with the time commitment that nursing requires - between studying for tests, preparing for clinicals, gathering patient information, or writing patho papers and care plans for patients, nursing school is a huge commitment. On top of nursing school, I’m always learning how to balance relationships, social life, volunteer work, exercising, a job, and my relationship with God. Here are few of my tips for maintaining balance in the crazy life of a nursing student!
Disclaimer: My life is not perfect and never will be. I am still learning to apply these tips in my own life, and they are helping me daily.
Plan your week and days in advance.
Having an organized agenda is very helpful for me. Before a new month begins, I go to Blackboard and write down every assignment so I don’t forget anything. I am always on top of my assignments when I write them down, but if I don’t, 9 times out of 10 I will probably forget about them! If I have plans during the week or on the weekends, I schedule my studying around what I have to do. This helps me ensure that I can have free time without worrying about missing an assignment. I have specific time frames to study, and I plan out what I’ll be studying during those times. I prioritize study time before fun events or time with friends so that when I do attend these events, I am not stressing about an assignment or test the entire time.
Communication is key.
Nursing is a huge time commitment, and some may even say you will lose friends because of it. That may be true for some people, but if you communicate with your friends and family that you’re busy, they will understand. For example, “Hey friend, I have a big pharm test tomorrow and need this time to study, can we make time to hang out on Friday? I have been so occupied with studying this week and I would love to spend time with you soon”. It’s as simple as that. If you’re at school that’s far away from family, you may even say, “Hi family, I’m sorry I haven’t called recently. I have been busy with nursing. I will call first thing in the morning. I miss you and I can’t wait to see you very soon”. Communication is key to keeping healthy relationships because no one can read your mind if you don’t tell them what’s going on. We all get caught up in the business of life, but communication allows everyone to be on the same page.
Do not procrastinate, plan how much you will study each day.
I have learned to plan full-on study days periodically throughout the month. I’ve also found that planning what I will study in a day allows me to keep focus and have valuable study time. For example, I will write in my planner: 1 hour to study for health assessment test with a break in between, then study for my check-off final for another hour. Planning out my study time prior to when I start has been beneficial for my productivity. If I start studying blindly, my focus is all over the place and basically non-existent.
PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN.
My phone is my biggest distraction. I can easily admit that I love checking Instagram and always go to Twitter for a good laugh. But – I’ve learned that leaving my phone in my dorm, as hard as it is, helps me to grind out a good study session without the distraction of my phone. If I have my phone with me, I try to put it on a different side of the room I’m in and turn it off. Having it out of sight while I’m studying helps me to keep my focus on the task at hand.
With these tips, I have learned how to balance daily tasks without the anxiety of not knowing how I will finish everything. Some days feel much longer than others and I do get stressed but planning and finding a balance has helped me to keep my sanity throughout nursing school. Being a Christian, a great source of my positive mindset also comes from being at a like-minded University that encourages us to lean on the grace of God to get through our days.
I hope that you take it day-by-day and remember, you are doing amazing! We all have our own journeys and each journey is beautiful. Whether you are a new college student in nursing school, or a single mom of 2 trying to balance being a mom and a student, you are doing the best you can with the cards you have been dealt. I pray you all find the strength you need to get through the hardest days of nursing school and to enjoy easier ones. Keep pushing through, you got this!
Future Nurse | Elsevier Student Ambassador | Liberty University