Help! I'm Struggling in NP School!
If you've made it through NP school you know how tough it can be. For those of you who are current students, you've got so much being thrown at you, sometimes it's hard to take a breather. You may feel like your drowning in work, and have no idea how to keep afloat.
NP school was challenging for me as well, and I spent many days and nights at the library. Somedays I'd leave the house around 8:00 am and go to my RN job. I'd then have class in the afternoon, and once class was over I would head to my clinical placement. I wouldn't get home until well after 1:00 am. Needless to say, those days were rough. Although I'm no longer a student I've got a few tricks up my sleeve to help you maintain your sanity, and keep up with all your school work at the same time!
Stay organized. This is imperative if you're an NP student. My advice is to get a planner and write down all your obligations months ahead of time. This includes work, class, clinical, and future assignments. Once you've got it all written down and can visualize it, planning your time will be a lot easier. You can also use the calendar on your phone or computer, but personally I find a paper planner to be much easier to view.
Keep up with your work. If you're a procrastinator, I'm talking to you! While in NP school you're going to have to complete a lot of work. Make sure you keep up with assignments, clinical logs, and projects. You do not want to wait until the last minute to complete something, especially if it's worth a large part of your grade. I like to write down when things are due and then form a game plan. For example, if I have a paper due in a month I may start an outline once I know the due date and gradually work on it. That way I know it will definitely be completed by the due date, and sometimes even in advance!
Get your work done before you go out. I went to NP school in NYC, the city that never sleeps. Let me tell you, it was tempting to want to go out with my friends even if I had a lot of work to get done. I'll admit that I may have done this once or twice, but I wasn't feeling great knowing about the mountain of work ahead of me when I got home. My advice is to get your work done (or at least the majority of it) before you head out. This way you can truly relax and enjoy your time off and not have school work looming in the back of your mind.
Ask for help. If you're struggling, ask for help. Your professors, preceptors, and administrative staff are there to support you. They can't help you if they don't know you need it. So reach out if you need the help, you will make your life a lot easier if you do.
Don't compare yourself to others. I went to a very competitive school and it was hard not to get caught up in what everyone else was doing. I'd often compare myself to others thinking I was so far behind. However, I want to caution against this kind of thinking as it won't get you anywhere. The only competition is yourself, and being better than the person you used to be. Don't get caught up in trying to compete with others, it's a losing batter.
Take care of yourself. Self-care is a must in NP school. Not only do you have many obligations as a student, but you're also taking care of patients, and perhaps a family. You need to take care of yourself to prevent burnout. I'd often go with a classmate of mine to get a massage. This was a great way to unwind and give myself the care that I needed. So make self-care a priority, if you don't take care of yourself, who else will?
Remember, NP school is challenging, but I believe in you that you've got what it takes to succeed! Just know that you've got it in you to succeed!