As we gear up for exams and the end of the semester, the CON Creators share study and stress tips!
Nursing school has taught me a lot of things, however I think one of the most important things it has taught me is how to study like a nurse. When I was coming into college, I truthfully had no idea how to study. I spent enough time in the classroom with the material that simply reading over the material when exam time came around was enough for me to be successful, but in college when you only spend roughly 2-3 hours each week per class in the classroom, the whole game changes. I struggled to adapt to having to grasp the material completely on my own time. Looking back now as a senior, I wish someone would’ve given me some pointers four years ago, so here’s how I taught myself to study that has gotten me through nursing school.
The biggest piece of advice I could give any nursing student is to try your very, very best not to procrastinate. I know it’s difficult to start studying material the day you get it, but honestly beginning to study even 2 days out as opposed to 1 day out will tremendously benefit you in the long term- after all, baby steps. I usually start by creating a “study guide” out of each PowerPoint we went over in lecture. The point of doing this is to cut it down from a PowerPoint with repetitive or scattered information and notes to a concise study guide with the highlights and the things my professors emphasized in lecture. After doing this for each PowerPoint, I go through it and bold or highlight the things I feel like I would make a test question about if I were a professor. Then I spend some time going through my study guide with a nursing friend and quizzing each other. Finally, the night before any nursing exam, I spend my final hours of studying doing practice questions, because after all, practice makes perfect. Although everyone is different and learns differently, this process has been my saving grace.
I believe that many of us agree that the goal is to spend time studying harder/better instead of studying longer. Here are some tips to take more advantage of your time to study.
- After every class, I like to go over my notes and answer any questions I have about the material with my textbook. I found that whenever I study a little bit each day versus cramming for an exam, I perform much better and am much less stressed when it comes to exam time.
- Get an iPad if you can! I used to print out PowerPoint slides before every class to take notes on, and by the end of the semester, I had a ridiculous amount of paper. I also would sometimes forget to print out slides, forcing me to take notes on my computer. You can download the PowerPoint slides directly onto it and take notes just like on paper. Using an iPad not only makes your notes more organized and more accessible, but it also will help the planet.
- Don’t waste your time rewriting notes! I used to go home and take everything written on the PowerPoint slides and write it into a Google docs document. While it felt really effective, I would be spending hours doing that when I could be actively studying.
- Study actively! Last one, I promise! Make sure you’re engaging your mind as you study. Do things that require you to think critically. Actively studying is a bit different for each class. For pharmacology, I like to write down a disorder, and then I would list all the drugs we learned about for that specific disorder. Then, I would list everything I know about that drug. I would lastly go back into my notes and see if there was anything I missed. This way, I am forcing myself to actively search in my brain for this information. Most importantly, I can identify what information I am missing to make sure I am most prepared for my exams.
I hope these tips help you, and I wish you the best as you take your future exams!
In today’s world, it is quite easy to fall into the trap of busy culture. People associate productivity and accomplishments with how busy they are. It has become so normalized to have a long list of tasks to complete every single day, which also entails not setting aside time for yourself.
I have fallen victim to busy culture one too many times. I often find myself making long lists of things to do, way too long to realistically be completed in one day, and then stressing out that I did not finish everything I wished to do. After I go through an entire week full of days like this, I feel like I am running on overdrive and going through the motions of my day-to-day life. This is usually when I then start to think, what have I done for myself today? Usually, the answers go along the lines of homework, work, and I will essentially list off all the tasks on my to-do list. Nowhere in that to-do list was eating a balanced meal, working out, spending a relaxing night with friends, or leaving time to socialize. This will snap me into a period of time where I fall out of “being busy” and take time for myself but without realizing, I always seem to find myself right back in that feeling of overdrive.
By no means am I saying to avoid the things you need to get done, but it is important to step back once in a while to make sure you are doing things that are “good for the soul” as I like to call it. It can be hard, especially as nursing students, to snap out of the mindset that you need to stay busy to get good grades and then will go on to use those grades to define our self-worth; however, it is not impossible. Sometimes being busy is inevitable and that is okay but falling into a habit of always being busy, even when it is not necessary is where the problems often lie. I have been taking pretty small steps towards this goal, but have already experienced a positive shift in my mental health just remaining aware of this.
College can be a very difficult place- especially as a freshman first year nursing student. It's challenging to transition from high school to a college setting. The workload is heavier and the classes are faster paced. Stress can build up quickly! Stress management is a great thing to learn and know how to utilize.
I've learned one of the best ways to cope with stress is to work to prevent it. Don't overload yourself. This is key. When studying take breaks- this helps the mind relax and calm down some. Another stress management tip is to do breathing exercises or go to the gym. I really like doing yoga. Remember to take time do some of your favorite hobbies and activities.
Captures by the Creators
Students volunteering at the Clemson Carolina Annual Blood Drive.
Having fun and taking a break from studying at the SC State Fair.
Upper division students administering flu vaccines in the CON lobby.
Ashanti cheers on the Gamecock football team.
Studying Anticoagulant and Thrombolytic drugs for pharmacology.
Dr. Miles and Dr. Davis win Halloween with their costumes.