Start Strong: 4 Tips for a Great Semester
As the shadows get longer, the nights turn crisp, and summer comes to an end, it’s back to school for millions of students across the country. For college students starting or returning for nursing or other healthcare degrees, it’s exciting to take a big step toward a new career.
A few ideas to keep in mind as you get prepped for class will keep you organized and on track for a great school year. Here are some of our favorites.
Establish a school schedule
“I’m too busy!”
It’s the most common phrase heard in the halls of any healthcare college. Going to school is a huge time commitment, and if you have a family or a job, you’re lucky to have enough time to take a shower. Good time management is essential to survival, and getting on a regular schedule is the best way to take control.
You’ll have a class schedule of course, but think about establishing a regular schedule that fits both your personal and academic responsibilities. Be specific. Block off periods of regular time for study, social activities, and personal time, in addition to your class schedule and other family or work obligations. To make time for those activities that you never seem to have time for, like reading a book or meeting a friend, work in 30 minutes on a weekend and, whatever you do, make sure you stick to it (because a little “you” time is important, too)!
Related resource: Parents in Nursing School Should Try These Study Tips
Find your learning style
Know thyself. While one study approach may work great for some students, it doesn’t work well for everyone. One student may grasp a concept immediately after listening to a lecture, but another student might need to watch a video, or read the notes, to absorb the same information.
It depends how you slice it, but in general, scientists have identified seven different types of learners:
- Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
- Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.
- Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
- Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands, and sense of touch.
- Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning, and systems.
- Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
- Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.
Several fun online resources can help you determine your personal learning style.
Connect with reputable blogs and social media
Part of going back to college is establishing yourself in the community of peers and learning about your new industry. It is possible to take classes in a vacuum, but good students immerse themselves in the culture of their chosen industry to learn and make professional connections.
One way to connect is to sign up for quality blogs, industry mailing lists, and professional journals, but don’t sign up for more than you can read and absorb! Ameritech has a regular blog series, published twice a week, aimed at students in all of our healthcare programs. You can sign up on our blog home page.
TopRNtoBSN.com rates a detailed list of nursing and healthcare-related blogs. A few of our favorite nursing blogs on the list include the following:
- NurseZone Blog: Ask The Expert
- Scrubs – The Lifestyle Magazine For Nurses
- Nurse Eye Roll
- TravelNursingBlogs.Com: Travel Nursing Advice
Many of these blogs include job boards as well. If you’re nearing graduation or looking for an internship or part-time job in the field, be sure to scour the website for employment resources, too.
Related resource: The Best Practices for Healthcare Students on Social Media
Join or start a study group
There’s no better way to adjust to a new program than to partner with other students in your classes. The best study groups have four to eight students (to minimize socialization and maximize individual contribution). Education Corner has some great tips for picking the right study buddies and making the most of your time.
Study groups often spark friendships and other relationships, which is a bonus if you’re new to the school and looking to meet new friends. So don’t be shy about pulling a group together. And if you don’t think you’re up to the task of organizing a group of people, start by inviting one person in your class to study.
Related resource: Passing the Licensure Exam: An NCLEX Study Plan