Saturday, July 9, 2011

The First Week

Obviously since I'm writing this, I (somehow) survived the first week of nursing school. I have no doubt in my mind that this will be the hardest 11 months of my life, but I am not regretting my decision to become a nurse. Sure, I've already asked myself a billion times, "Lord, what have I gotten myself into?" or "Can I handle this?" but you know what, I'm just taking it one day at time and have confidence that God won't give me any more than I can handle.

And did you notice I said 11 months? Yea, that's right. I'm doing a four year program in eleven months. The school says the program is 14 months, but I'm not sure where they get that for the cohorts that start in summer, because we all start in July and graduate the following August, so that's 13 months. And I just found out that we also have the month of August off (down time between the universities end of summer sessions and start of fall) and mid-December to mid-January off for Christmas. So the program is really 11 months of work. Ay yi yi.

Last Friday was orientation and I woke up with a sinus infection, obviously induced by stress, and I've been battling that all week (thank goodness for antibiotics!). At orientation, I was totally overwhelmed and freaked out. I went home terrified that I'm going to flunk out and all these other irrational fears. I'm still scared about not succeeding, but the fear is back to a more normal level, like the level I'm at whenever I'm in any kind of schooling.

From July 5- August 5, I'm enrolled in 8 credit hours. Basically, we're doing three 16-week courses in a month. It's pretty intense and whenever I'm not in class or the lab practicing my skills, I'm at home studying. Monday, Wednesday, Friday I have class from 8-11 & 12-3. The 8-11 class really would have been better suited as an intro course that we were required to take online in June. It's a bunch of busy work, the instructor just read the slides, and all of us would be better off with those three extra hours of work/study time, but what can I do about it? Tuesday & Thursday I have class from 8-11 and my skills competency exams at 12:30. The skills comps are our tests where we have to perform the skill we've learned for the week (Thursday was hand hygiene, this Tuesday is vital signs). We have to practice those on our own for one hour prior to taking the exam, and the lab is only open T/TH, so basically I'm on campus 8-3 everyday.

My first comp and class quiz were both on Thursday and I got a 10/10 on my hand hygiene comp, which is more than just going in and washing my hands haha, and a 28/30 on my infection control quiz. Definitely a great way to start the program and I'm more than hopeful that I can keep up the A's & B's. Talking to students in the cohorts ahead of us, I had to laugh. They were all saying how stressful and disappointing it is to give up maintaining straight A's, but it's virtually impossible to not get less than an A. I looked at them like they were crazy. Duh it's going to be next to impossible to get straight A's throughout the program, but I've always been an A/B student and I'm perfectly OK with that if it means I've maintained my sanity.

There are 21 in my cohort and everyone is incredibly nice and friendly. Five males, 16 females, 4 are 50+ (one is a 62-year-old great-grandma. Are you kidding me?! At 62, the only place I want to be is traveling or with my butt planted firmly on a beach.), 4 I can't tell how old they are, and 13 are between 22-26. I've already developed good friendships with two girls, but I really do enjoy being around every single one of them. My professors are also very, very nice. That has to be the best thing about the school I'm at: EVERY ONE is so kind, gracious, outgoing, and eager to help in any way possible. The school is an evangelical Christian school & I really think this has a lot to do with the friendliness of everyone.

Life on my own and in my apartment is going well so far, especially since my creepy neighbor has been out of town all week (which I thought he just hadn't left the house or was dead, until my landlady told me yesterday he was gone haha). I have a funny story she told me about him, which I'll have to share in another post. I definitely feel like he will be a good source of entertainment. I also have updated pics of my apartment, but I came home for the weekend for a cookout at my neighbors & to enjoy the pool (because reading 6 chapters of pathophysiology and another billion pages of foundations of nursing is slightly less painful when poolside) and left my camera cord at school, so I'll have to upload them next time.

So all in all, things are going well. Is it hard? Yes, but I knew it would be. Is it impossible? No. At least not yet, anyway. I'm really thankful that I don't have any outside distractions, though, like commuting (not enough money in the world could get me to make that drive 2x/day, 5x/wk), children, a job, or a boyfriend/husband. The only thing I need to figure out is how to incorporate a workout routine into my schedule so that I have a positive stress reliever.

I'm sure the blog posts will be even more infrequent than they've been the last few months, but I'm going to try and write as often and soon as I can, even if that means dedicating a couple hours on the weekend to writing several posts and scheduling them to go up. Thanks again for all of your support and well-wishes, hope everyone is doing great and enjoying their summer! Registered & Protected


Jess said...

YAY!!!! I'm so proud of you!!

Congrats on surviving your first week!

And, if you need a quick Florida trip in August or during your winter break, you have an open invitation!

Zazzy Episodes said...

Woo hoo *cat calls and whistles*, I’m so very proud of you and excited at the same time. Holy balls what a scary and uplifting ride you'll be taking in the 11 months you'll be in school. I'm thrilled for you to learn all new things.

I also want to take a moment to mention that I pray you receive the grades you're expecting. However a lot of students in my class (including me)were use to receiving straight A's and finding out that through NCLEX testing type questions, what seems like the right answer isn't always the case. Just don't be too hard on yourself if this type of testing seems a challenge to you too.

Above all else, keep your mind on the prize and don't give up. You're doing so well and have a passion for what you want to accomplish. Don’t feel like you have to keep up on your blogging, especially if it becomes like another chore or item on your to-do list. Just keep it causal and fun when you can, those are my rules when I’m in my school semester. Then when I’m on break I fill in the gaps a bit.

Courtney Ann said...


I'm SO proud of you!! This has been a long journey for you, and now you're finally living it!! I know these accelerated programs are crazy, but you'll get through it. You just have to take it one day at a time and now allow yourself to get overwhelmed.

Oh, and that reminds me...I started a new blog...Nursing Anatomy is now One Day At A's become my new mantra...


R @ TravelistaRN said...

So excited that your first week went well! I am sure it's going to crazy the next 11 months but you can do it!

Katherine said...

You'll do great, I'm sure. And cohorts are so nice because you get to go through it with the same people throughout. It really makes a difference. I'm in a doctorate cohort and it's great to all have the same reference points from previous classes. Leaves our instructors scratching their heads sometimes. So happy everyone is so nice!

Pennie said...

Way to go, Marianne! Those are some great grades! We don't have to worry about any wild partying the next year, do we? You won't have a moment to go off and do that, will you????

I am completely confident that you can pull this off! Look at the GREAT start you've gotten! Keep up the good work, girlie!

H said...

Sounds like you had a good first week!! That's crazy that you are doing the program in only 11 months, but even though I don't know you it sounds like the first week proves that you will kick some behind.
I'm so excited to start my program in a few weeks, but until then I will just read your blog :)
Keep up the awesome work.

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