I have a test next week and I have zero desire to crack open my notes and focus. So I thought I’d finally get around to writing a post about how I study in nursing school, especially since I will be graduating this year. I specify “nursing school” because how I study in nursing school is a complete 180 from the way I studied in college. In college, I walked away with 2 Bachelor’s degree, a really good GPA, and memories that will last a life time. I NEVER STUDIED. I went to class 80% of the time, cranked out a billion papers while watching Lost, and actually had time to like, go out to dinner with friends. Culture shock when I started nursing school (read about why I went back to school here). I attended all the lectures, studied my butt off, ignored my friends for an entire year, and still managed to have really sucky grades. How? Why? What happened to my brain? Everyone was like “I studied 15 hours on Saturday! What about you?” Was I not studying enough? It wasn’t until one of my clinical instructors told me “Whitney, don’t go down the rabbit hole.” when things started to click and I realized that I needed to study smarter, not study more.
If you ask anyone in nursing school, they will tell you how difficult and how terrible the exams are…. I can tell you first hand that the exams are a death sentence. Select all that apply? HA! Let me just skip those since I’m 100% sure I will get it wrong anyway. (Don’t do this. A huge chunk of the NCLEX is apparently select all that apply). The most important thing I learned half way through nursing school is SAVE YOUR BRAIN SPACE. What do I mean by that? Nursing is a very complex profession. Sure it’s not medical school but we are required to basically know a little bit about everything and know what is abnormal/normal/weird/strange/good/bad so we can tell the doctors who will then tell us what to do even though we already know what they’re going to say… but whatever. I’m only in school for 2 years, not 8. No complaints. However, much like we cluster care with NICU babies, I find that clustering information and saving my brain space has drastically improved my studying and my grades.
Here are some little tips to help you survive nursing exams if you hate studying like me:
- Go to every lecture. I found that instructors are not out to fail you. In fact, you will learn that the information they will most likely test on will be something they emphasize A LOT. If you hate reading 100 pages, go to the lecture and figure out the highlights your instructors deem important and test worthy.
- Review your notes right after the lecture. This takes like 20 minutes max and it exposes your mind to the information again, further implanting it into your memory (hopefully). If you have any questions (sometimes instructors teach faster than I can write), go to your textbook and fill in the missing pieces.
- Review every day. This is similar to the tip above. The more exposure you have to the material, the more you will understand it. Review your notes every day while you’re eating breakfast, walking your dog, in between red lights (just kidding. DO NOT DO THAT.), going to the bathroom (hey, if you’re reading this you realize that nurses/nursing students can’t be grossed out by anything), etc.
- Record the lectures. Confused about something you scribbled down? Listen to the lecture again to clarify. This is the easiest, most time saving thing I wish I knew to do when I first started nursing school. Rather than trying to find out the information or trying to get a hold of the instructor, I can fast forward through my recording and bam! It’s there.
- Rewrite the information. Don’t rewrite your notes word for word. Summarize them, organize them, make them yours. My notes from lectures are a mess. I have writing every where. When I finally sit down to study I either use note cards or a fresh notebook to rewrite all my notes. I organize the information, summarize points, create acronyms, etc. Writing out notes word for word is really wasting your time. Forcing yourself to write them with your own words/format/whatever will force you to think about what it is you are writing out.
- Stop studying. Whenever I find my mind wandering in the middle of a study session, I stop. Before I used to power through and tell myself “Let me just finish this neuro section and then I will take a break.” However, more times than naught, I could never remember what I studied. Rather than waste my time and giving myself a false sense of accomplishment, I simply finish up whatever sentence I’m writing, close my book, and remove myself from my study spot. Sometimes I will grab something to eat, bake some cookies, watch an episode of whatever show I’m into, walk to get some coffee, literally anything to reset my brain. Once I am refueled, I return to my study spot and continue on. It is important not to get too distracted and waste the rest of your day (I am guilty of this), so this is where I would set a goal. Once the cookies are done baking, go back to studying. Once I finish this episode and go pee, go back to studying. Etc.
- Use your resources. My go-to resource for nursing school is the Saunders NCLEX-RN review book. This book brilliantly breaks down the key points and organizes all that information thrown at me. I highly recommend this book for anyone in nursing school.
- Don’t go down the rabbit hole. We are studying to become nurses, not doctors, not physical therapists, not respiratory therapists. Nurses. As nurses, we have a role of constantly assessing, educating patients and family, and communicating with other members of the team. I used to waste my time studying every part of a disease, but I had to remind myself, as a nurse my role is to know what is abnormal, what is improving, and the interventions to go along with that. We are required to know pathophysiology, but not to the extent I found myself studying. Forcing myself to focus on the role of the nurse and not go down that rabbit hole (i.e./ the cardiac system is endless and fascinating, but not for testing purposes) has saved my brain space and helped me with exams. If I want to know the detailed pathophysiology of Kawasaki disease, I definitely look it up… after my exam!
- HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF A LIFE. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Go to yoga. Go to a movie. Go on a dinner date with your significant other you haven’t seen in like a month. Trust me when I say that extra hour of studying will not help. Enjoying an hour lunch with a friend will keep you sane and decrease your anxiety.
TLDR: Don’t go overboard with the studying .No one cares if you studied 15 hours on Saturday… in fact that’s kind of dumb. Listen to your brain. If you’re tired of studying, get up and grab a cookie.Study smart. Go to lectures. Nursing exams really suck but just remember they’re a tiny part of something huge and amazing. Remember your end goal of becoming a nurse and dominate those exams!
Nothing is more stressful than coming home to a tornado of a room after spending all day in class or at work. I have learned the very obvious lesson of having less stuff means less stuff to clean/organize. But how do I know what to keep or to throw away? What if I need those ripped jeans sometime in the near future?(spoiler: you don’t)
Here are some super simple things I do to keep my life minimal and therefore more manageable:
- When was the last time you wore that tank top? If it has been over 2 years, get rid of it! Do this with your entire closet. Trust me, that shirt from middle school is not sentimental anymore.
- You don’t need 50 pairs of socks. Trust me.
- For every 10 items of clothing you get rid of, go ahead and buy yourself 1 that you know you will wear. Don’t forget to donate anything that is still in good condition!
- Shop for 2 days, not 2 weeks. Save money by not letting fruits and veggies go bad, plus give yourself a chance to walk outside or do some shopping therapy!
- Keep all flat surfaces clear. You don’t need 5 candles on your coffee table. (At one point I had 7… go ahead and judge me). Clear off that kitchen counter before leaving for work or going to bed.
- Re-use! I am one of those who brings their own bag to the store… Before, I had an entire cabinet dedicated to plastic bags because you never know when you’ll need a plastic bag!! Plastic bags are perfect as trashcan liners or doggy bags, but you only need a handful, not a cabinet full!
- Go through your mail immediately. Get rid of junk mail and open the important stuff. Then, make sure you organized your mail in one place (bills, letters, etc).
- Declutter your bathroom. If you have 10 different face moisturizers, 3 facial cleansers, 25 tubes of mascara, a billion lip products, several eye shadow palettes (should I keep going?), you need to get rid of 99% of them. What do you wear every day? Do you wash your face 20 times a day with each different cleanser? Do you put on 25 layers of mascara? Put everything you don’t use every day into a box, hide the box, & see if you really miss that organic rosewater moisturizer that smells like a grandma. After a couple weeks, if you haven’t touched that box, get rid of it.
- Do only as much laundry as you are willing to fold that same day.
- Wash your dishes immediately. Don’t let dishes pile up in the sink or in the dishwasher only to be washed a week later….
- Organize your closet & storage space. Don’t just shove everything in your closet so your living room will look neat. Keep your storage spots neat and you’ll find it much easier to keep a minimal, clean home.
What are some of your go to things to keep your life minimal and organized? Share them below!
Earlier this month, Niantic released an augmented reality (or simply put, AR) game for iPhones and Androids called Pokémon GO and it has basically taken over everyone’s lives. During the first few days of its release, the news was going on and on about how it was currently the most used app (even beating out tinder… Catching ‘Em all is more important than getting dat bootay). I was hesitant at first. I never played any of the previous Pokémon video games (ask my sister, my video game skills are pitiful). I watched the show and movies and collected the cards (though I never learned how to play the card game) and would watch over the shoulders of my sister and friends as the played the video games rather than embarrassing myself. After working a Sunday dinner shift and watching children play all through dinner, I was intrigued. The next morning, (July 11th) I decided to download it before work and see what he fuss was about. Between the two hours of playing before work around my island and then the one hour after work before getting to the bar for Monday Babe Date, I had already reached level 5 and I didn’t even pick my team immediately because I was still pretty confused about what I was doing.
Thankfully while getting Sarah to download the app (surprisingly it is the only app her phone somewhat likes) a friend of ours from the bar showed up, he was much ahead of us, of course, because there wasn’t a delay in him downloading the app. We began our drunken crash course in the app including helping me pick a team. I saw the utter disappointment in his Valor eyes as I picked Mystic because one thing I gathered from Facebook was that most of my tight knit friends were Mystic (Whitney, however, is Instinct). This is when my Pokémon Trainer journey truly began. I was ready. What would follow is the next two weeks (and counting) of running all over downtown until the sun comes up setting out to catch ‘em all. So here I am, almost at level 20, with tips the most important necessity for those with goals of being a Pokémon Master. Your backpack. I’m not talking about the backpack in the game that I THANKFULLY upgraded space wise finally. I’m talking about a real life backpack. I went through a few phases of Pokémon hunting. Using my purse to hold my stuff like I always do and getting annoyed by it flopping all over as I ran, overalls which worked great because of endless pockets but I only own one pair, and then finally I landed on carrying a backpack (I prefer one with side pockets). So here we go…
What Every Pokémon Trainer Needs In Their Backpack:
1. Phone charging battery (this is why I like side pockets because I can have my batter there with my phone plugged in if I don’t have pockets in my clothes)
2. Backup phone charging battery
3. Phone cord
4. Backup phone cord
5. Snacks of your choice
6. Insect repellent… It a buggy time of year here in Florida
7. Sunscreen if you are going out during the day time
8. Always have your wallet including your photo ID with you in case of emergencies
9. Aleve (or whatever headache medicine you prefer)
10. Beverages! I typically like water and having one Capri-Sun as well
Happy trails in your Pokémon GO adventures. If you are one of those judging all your friends for playing, get a life and let people have fun. Regardless of if it is sad that it has taken an AR app for me to do it, I’ve walked more (outside of working since I’m a server) in the past two weeks than I have since I stopped working at camp. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to get out and move. If you are someone hesitant and unsure if you’d enjoy the app, download it, I’m willing to bet you’ll have fun.
P.S. My favorite Pokémon is Oddish but I mainly enjoy catching water Pokémon!
If there is anything I dread, it’s job interviews. I am awful at interviews. Like, terrible. No seriously, sometimes I think I’m on the verge of a seizure & words just never come out as a full sentence. Days leading up to the interview I am usually cool, calm, & collected (sometimes, not always); but the morning of? I’m toggling between wanting to pass out to needing to sprint 60000 miles.
Here are some of my tips & tricks to battling my nerves:
- Realize it is not the end of the world – This is probably the hardest for me to grasp, but the most important. If you realize that bombing this interview and not getting that job is not the end of the world, you’ll feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. I know you’re thinking “That’s easier said than done.” Think about it. Will you die? Nah. Will you fall into a coma? No. Will those people who truly love you not love you anymore? Definitely not. Sure it may set you back a little, but if you got that interview in the first place, it means you’re doing something right. So even if you fail this interview, you’ll have more in no time.
- Go buy a new interview outfit – Right before an interview my mind is running a billion miles a minute. I’m obsessing over every detail and rehearsing every possible question I can think of…. “If you have a comatose child that suddenly turns into a zombie & proceeds to infect the other children in your ward, what will you do? How will you ensure patient satisfaction?”……. One thing that helps me take my mind off these very probable questions is retail therapy. Buying a new interview outfit will not only distract you a little, but it actually prepares you a little bit more. No more worrying about what exactly in your closet you’re going to wear the night before. If you don’t want to splurge on a new outfit, go buy a new pair of earrings or maybe even some new flats.
- Eat a good breakfast – Nothing is more awkward than a stomach growl in the middle of an interview. Trust me. I speak from personal experience. Usually I am so nervous I can’t even think to eat the morning of, but like I said…. trust me. You’ll also be much more alert when your body has some food in it, allowing you to think clearer and produce comprehensible answers.
- Rehearse the obvious – Nothing is wrong with rehearsing some answers. Everyone knows the basic questions that you’ll always get. “What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? Describe a situation where you disagreed with your supervisor. Describe a situation where you solved a problem.” Google interview questions & I guarantee you’ll see those questions. The key is not to rehearse your answers word for word, but rather to have an idea of what you will answer if and when they ask you. Figure out the details of that situation before you step into the interview room and you’ll find yourself explaining that situation so much better than if you were on the spot.
- Know where you are going – Always, always, always know where the interview will be held. Make sure you know exactly where to park and where to check-in. Try driving to the interview location the day before and figure out all the kinks before the big day.
- Pee – GO TO THE BATHROOM BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW. If you’re like me, then when you get nervous you’ll have to pee & nothing is worse than trying to ignore your bladder when you’re getting asked a myriad of questions.
and finally… If they don’t like you, who cares? You don’t want to work for a company who doesn’t like you. This is something my father has to constantly remind me every time I call him in tears because I think I bombed an interview. But it’s that simple, as long as you are you, it’s okay! Don’t be bummed if you didn’t get the job because somewhere down the line, there is a company who appreciates what you have to offer and those are the people you want to work for. If you remind yourself to be true to who you are, the interview goes a lot smoother. Don’t act tough. Admit your weakness. Brag about your strengths. Discuss your concerns. Express your gratitude. Be you and only you. It is so much easier to talk about the truth and interviewers appreciate it because they know who they are hiring. Always remember, it is not the end of the world if you bomb your interview. Trust me, because I have bombed a many of interviews & I am still alive.
Do you have any tips or tricks to help you calm your nerves before a big interview? Share below in the comments!
Over the past 48 hours I have packed up my entire apartment & learned quite a few things I kind of wish I knew before I packed 85 lbs worth of books in a box without taping the bottom first…. So I present to you:
Some (obvious & not so obvious) Moving Tips & Tricks!
- Boxes are your soul mate. If you’re like me & have tons of those reusable grocery bags, you might think “oh why don’t I just use these?” Do. Not. Do. That…. Boxes are such a necessity when it comes to moving, especially if you are using a moving truck. It is beyond easy to stack uniform boxes on top of each other than trying to squishy bags together so your stuff doesn’t topple out.
- Always make sure you tape the bottom of a box first. If you don’t, there is a 96.7% chance all your belongings will come tumbling out of the bottom when you least want them to… usually onto your big toe.
- Use smaller boxes. I first used those nice, large size boxes (22″ by 22″ by 21″) before coming to this mind-blowing realization. Sure I got a lot of stuff in those boxes, but there was no way I would ever be able to move that box. Ever. In my life. Thankfully my work gave me these nice little boxes (16″ by 12″ by 6″) that once held books & could easily hold everything in my apartment. They ended up being the perfect size for someone of my strength (a.k.a. zero strength).
- Do not over pack a box. Seriously. I cannot emphasize this enough. Pulled back muscles and strained biceps are never worth saving 1 extra trip to the truck.
- Do not pay for moving boxes. If you’re an introvert like me, this may sound uncomfortable, but oh the money you will save! Go visit your local library or local farmer’s market & politely ask if they have any boxes they plan on recycling. Usually they do & would love to give them to you. Plus these boxes are on the smaller size which as I mentioned are what you want! You can try larger chain grocery stores, but chances are they reuse their boxes & only have odd shaped ones available (like Publix Supermarkets).
- Boxes within boxes. Place smaller boxes within larger ones to help keep everything together. For example, use a shoe box to put all your nail polish & whatnots, then place that your designated “bathroom” box. This keeps the smaller stuff from getting banged up in a larger box (especially important for delicate things like perfumes or nail polish).
- Socks are your friend. Don’t buy packing material, but rather use your socks to protect your fragile items. Use them to stuff between glassware or empty vases. Use them to wrap around sharp objects, like knives! * One fun trick is to place your glass inside a sock & use the other sock (hopefully it’s pair) to stuff inside the glass. This protects your glass both inside & out!* Please use clean socks…. I shouldn’t have to explain why. Also, by using socks as your packaging material, you are also technically packing them ^.^ One less thing to worry about.
- Beans and rice are also your friend. Any sort of dry grain in a bag can be used as packing material as well! Use these for “heartier” objects like pots & pans. This helps keep everything from moving inside your box while you’re driving through town, because remember, we aren’t over packing our boxes!
- Clothes are great liners (& of course, your friend). Line your boxes with a t-shirt or skirt to ensure your more valuable stuff is kept safe. They also make for great empty space stuffers!
Staying Clean & Organized ~
- Pack by room. Trust me. This will make your life so, so much easier.
- Label your boxes & be specific. Always. Or you will regret it & end up opening 10 boxes to find a cup. Label by room & write what is in the box (ex/ Kitchen- cups, bowls, ladles, tumblers). Also make sure to label boxes as “heavy” or “fragile”, especially those boxes with cookware or wine glasses.
- Clean as you go. As you tackle each section of your place, try to clean when you’ve packed everything away. If you finished packing your bathroom counter, go ahead, wipe it down & scrub out that mascara stain on the mirror. Not only do you get a mini-break from packing, but you also cut down on that final clean after moving everything out!
- Use a damp paper towel. If you don’t have those fancy Swiffer dust sheets, sometimes you have to opt for the good old paper towel. Never use a dry paper towel to clean that 1/2 cm layer of dust. A damp paper towel will pick up the dust without launching it into your breathing air. Then use a dry paper towel to remove any excess water/wet dust (ew).
- Donate. A good way to clean up your closet (or any room) is to create a donation box. Not sure if you really want to give something up? If you’ve haven’t used/worn it more than 7 times in the past year, you probably don’t need it anymore. Also, if it’s over 5 years old, you might really want to think about it, unless they are an awesome pair of jeans that you’ve worn in & will never give up.
Packing Weird Things ~
- Secure your fluids. Nothing is more heart wrenching than seeing that bottle of mouthwash all over your cotton balls & makeup. Tape lids shut (ex/ shampoo bottles) or use a plastic bag & a rubber band (ex/ lotion bottles).
- Separate your chemicals & use a bag. Make sure to pack your cleaning chemicals separately from everything else (like food…) You also probably want to put them in a bag because they should be transported via your car. You really don’t want mixed/spilled chemicals so it’s best to not pack them up in a truck & have them slosh around.
- Secure your pointy stuff. Just like fluids, you really don’t want to open a box and realize your size 1 knitting needle poked a hole through the box & snapped off. Secure pointy things by placing them in a jar/vase/tall cup with the sharp end down. Then use a vegetable plastic bag (you know those long, thing bags in the produce section of the grocery store?) and secure with a rubber band. By doing this, your pointy ends are down & they won’t fall out.
- Put your pens & pencils in a ziploc bag. Don’t leave them in your pencil holder… Most pens and pencils will fit easily into a quart size ziploc bag so you don’t have to worry about any accidental pen marks or broken pencil tips.
- Pack a bag or two. Most people always suggest to pack a bag for that first day you move in because after lugging a billion boxes, you’re too tired to actually start unpacking. I personally would suggest packing a bag for the day before you move & the day of because hopefully all your stuff is packed a couple days prior to your move. Set aside clothes & toiletries for those days so you can simply pack & forget (sort of. It’s kind of hard to forget 15 boxes in your living room, but still.)
- Take-out is recommended. It’s pretty annoying when you have perishable foods in your fridge on the day you move. Try to keep those to a minimum by not grocery shopping a week or two before the big day. If you happen to run out of food, fear not. Take-out is a blessing from above ^.^
- Use your car. You don’t have to pack everything into boxes, especially if they aren’t going in the moving truck…. Some things are not worth packing, like long trench coats or dresses you should probably on a hanger & place neatly into your back seat or trunk. Leftover food (both refrigerated & pantry) should probably not go into a hot moving truck, but rather your air conditioned back seat…
- DO NOT WAIT UNTIL 48 HOURS TO PACK UP YOUR ENTIRE APARTMENT. You will cry & cry & cry some more because you didn’t realize how much stuff you accumulated throughout your 12 month lease that it’s almost unbelievable. Also, you will have realized that nothing is more teeth-pulling than packing without internet because no Netflix & no Songza….. It gets awfully quiet & then you start to think about all the things & please, just don’t do what I did….
Hopefully some of these tips help you if you are planning a move in the future! Remember, these are tips & tricks I have learned from packing an apartment (a.k.a. <5 rooms). I have never packed an entire house so I’m not 100% sure if these are applicable, but I’d like to think they are!
Just remember to stay safe & sane! Moving is stressful, but it doesn’t have to be that stressful. If you have any additional tips & tricks, please comment below & share your secrets with us ^.^