Nursing school can be challenging. Trying to work a full time job while attending school adds even more stress to your already hectic life. There are ways to minimize some of this stress. With careful planning and organization you can not only survive but thrive as you manage these responsibilities.
Organization is key to getting everything done. Keep a day planner in either paper and pencil or electronic form. This will enable you to keep track of what assignments are due when. Also make note of which projects will take more time or need advanced planning to complete so that you don‘t leave an entire project up to the last minute. Mark down everything you have to do so that you don’t forget anything. It is easy for something to slip between the cracks when you are trying to juggle multiple tasks. This can include meetings and study sessions as well as what days and hours you work. Online classes offer increased flexibility but generally cost more and are not practical for all subjects.
Don’t forget to schedule in down time. Find something relaxing that will help you unwind. Take time to work out or take up gardening. Taking this time out may seem like a waste of your valuable time but will go a long way to managing your stress levels. Minimizing stress ensures you will remain mentally and physically healthy and therefore more able to efficiently accomplish the tasks that need to be done.
Write down when your most important tests and midterms are in the semester. This way you can try to plan your work schedule accordingly. Make sure you are not working a grave shift right before a major exam.
Utilize Your Resources
It can be exhausting to run around and get everywhere you need to be. Most classes require at least one group project during the semester. This requires multiple meetings to get everything done. Using programs such as Google Chat or Skype make it so you don’t expend as much time and energy driving back and forth to every single meeting while still getting the necessary work done. That’s not to say you should essentially phone it in all the time, but it is a great resource to keep in should the need arise.
Ask your professors if they mind you bringing a tape recorder to class and recording the lectures to review later. This is a great study tool in case you are tired and don’t catch everything the first time around. Sometimes it is impossible to write down everything that is covered and it is also nice to have a record to reference.
Keep Sight of the Goal
It is easy to get overwhelmed with everything you have to do and forget that you are working towards an end. You have a goal in sight, however distant it may feel at times. Just remind yourself that the current chaos is not permanent and will be relatively short period in your life.
Remember to enjoy the ride while you are working toward your goal. This is a time in your life that you will learn invaluable time management skills while working under stress. Students who work and go to school at the same time are generally better able to balance their lives down the road due lessons learned while in college.
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Debbie Richards is an ER nurse and guest author at Best Colleges Online, where she has written guides to top-ranking RN to BSN online programs.