At the start of every school year, almost every student will find themselves incanting an age-old mantra: “This year I will be more organised. This year, I will get my assignments done early.” That said, how many of us are actually able to stick to it? Organisation is one of those skills where it sometimes feels that you are either born with or without it. Unfortunately for those who fall into the latter camp, it can also sometimes feel like an uphill battle trying to change those bad, procrastinating habits. Although it’s challenging, the problem certainly isn’t insurmountable, however. Today we will look at some of the easiest ways that you can start getting organised and make sure this is your best year in nursing school yet.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Before getting into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to drive home the most important point in all of this: remember to enjoy yourself! You aren’t putting yourself through higher education because you have to, you are doing it because you want to – whether that’s because you’re fresh-faced out of secondary school or whether that’s because you’ve been working in a dead-end job for decades and it’s time for a change. With that in mind, whenever the pressure seems to be mounting or the work is piling up, simply take a step back and focus on all of the positives. So, with that point firmly established, let’s get started!
Set a Routine
A routine doesn’t just consist of setting your alarm clock at the same time every day (although that can be highly beneficial). Routines are comprised of various different time and energy commitments which together give structure to our lives. From making time to buy groceries (read: treats), to doing laundry, to seeing friends and family, the benefits of keeping a routine are clear to see. And just as we’re all different types of people with different priorities and concerns, we cannot expect the same kind of routine to suit everyone. Find the rhythm and pace of life that works best for you and then structure your essential tasks into each day, leaving plenty of time for rest and relaxation.
Use a Calendar
Whether you are a tech whizz who loves to sync their email and phone calendars for ultimate on-the-go convenience or prefer the physicality of paper diaries you can store in your bag, keeping an accurate log of your week’s commitments should be a topmost priority. Keep track of all your classes, placement hours, meetings with advisors, and social events with classmates so you can always plan ahead and fit in as much as possible. As an added bonus, printing a personalised wall calendar is definitely worth a try and could be hung at home or above your desk as a further reminder of what’s coming up in the week.
I have a week view calendar to keep myself organised and set targets and learning objectives, and it works wonders seeing it every morning while I’m making my coffee.
Look After Your Body and Mind
If there is one thing all students need to be critically aware of, it’s safeguarding their mental health. Nursing school can be stressful, more so than any other degree, so it’s important to look after yourself in every way possible to help deal with these additional pressures other students just don’t have. Keeping a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep are great places to start. Indeed, while grabbing fast food for dinner might seem like the more attractive option after a long day (and oh how attractive an option a good Zinger Burger is now and then) getting into the habit of making something for yourself immediately improves not only the quality of your diet but is good for your mental health too.
Write Up Class Notes
You turn up to all your lectures and classes and busy yourself frantically taking notes, but when you leave the lecture hall or classroom, how much of that information have you really taken in? Save yourself the exam-time rush to review and rewrite a year’s syllabus notes, and try to get into the habit of studying your lecture notes shortly after class. Either try distilling the main points into short concise sentences or bullet points on flash cards or digitise them by uploading a mobile phone picture to your Google Drive and using a handy note-taking app like Evernote to type up the most important parts. The process shouldn’t be laborious or take longer than 20 minutes, and will help make sure you are far less likely to forget key information.
So these are my four tips for getting through the third, final, and hardest year of a nursing degree. The key is balance, organisation and little reminders to keep yourself going along the way.