Friday, August 26, 2011

So I've finished my 2nd week of nursing school.

It's not AS overwhelming as the 1st few days were, but still - no walk in the park.
My 1st 2 big tests are next week (along with another lab quiz) and honestly, about all I do is study. It's still hard when I'm by myself with Hailee - she's very demanding. There is so much information I'm trying to pump into my brain. Too bad absorption by osmosis isn't a possibility :) 

I had my 1st 2 quizzes on Thursday (lab and drug calculations) and when I got home that afternoon, I couldn't even LOOK at another book or page of notes. My body/mind was so tired, it shut down at about 8:30pm. I had to stay up long enough to get Hailee in bed, but RIGHT after that, I was in bed and off to dream land myself.

In my class (of 100 or so students) I've noticed that we tend to gravitate and talk to the people we sit around. Luckily (sarcasm..) I got a seat in the very back row, in the way way back of the class. I'm pretty sure people got to school at 6:30am on the 1st day to get the front seats.. But there are 2 plasma tv's on either side of the room about halfway through the room so I can see some of the power point slides.. I've also noticed that I think my right eye is slightly weaker than my left eye now. blah for having to soon get 2 different strengths of contacts at the same time..

I've already blown through one black ink cartridge on our printer. I got a double pack this time, we'll see how long this one lasts. There is so much to print out for the classes. It sure beats doing all that in writing. That would literally take too much time. I'm finding time to be super precious right now and using it wiser than ever before. I don't even go on facebook that much anymore. Priorities change. Things get put on hold (dishes, laundry, cleaning in general). I have so much respect for the people in my class that are single parents and going to put all they can into this program. I couldn't do this by myself. It's like my aunt, who is an RN said, "when one person is in nursing school, the whole family is in nursing school." I've already had to check my attitude and moodiness toward my sweet husband and patients level toward my baby girl. Stress can make you a maniac, and I don't want to turn into that!

I'm sure as school progresses and we find out how teachers test and know what to look for in lecture and lab, things will get easier. It seems like my whole class is a class of overachievers (I know I've been my whole college career). I'm finally getting to the realization that there is no reason to compete for that top grade. As long as I put forth my best effort, that's all I need to do. Like one of our instructors said, "your GPA will not be on your name tag when you're a RN" we're all going to be starting out at the same level, no need to break our necks trying to be the best at it. Hope that doesn't sound bad, I'm not trying to be just the average, make only the minimum to get by, but I won't stress myself past any extremes to get there.

There's still a lot of sacrifices that come along with it, but hopefully the next 2 years will fly by. I know the past 2 sure have..

Friday, August 19, 2011

1st week of nursing school.

I'm a freshman again :) And yes, I'd love some coffee with one sugar and loads of creamer.
Would you like to see all the books I had to purchase for my first semester?

yep, that middle shelf houses the books.

I haven't been this exhausted since I birthed my daughter, 2 and a half years ago!
Since I drive in from Lexington (and sometimes Irmo, when I drop hailee off at my parents'), I have to get up earlier than I have in almost 10 years. Wake-up time for me is between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. at the absolute latest. I am 52 miles from school. But it's encouraging because there is a good many people in my class that are coming in from Columbia, Lexington, and Charleston as well.

There are 101 people currently in my freshman class. The seniors this year started with around 120 in their class last year and there are around 55 of them now. THAT should tell you how much work is required for ADN nursing program. (associate degree nursing)  I can't even imagine going through the BSN nursing program, that's 4 years!

So far, all of our instructors are great! Lots of them actually went through the program themselves some years ago. All of my classmates are pretty great too! I'll be spending a good deal of my time with them for the next 2 years and getting to know them very well.

I was going to try to be organized while writing this but my thoughts are all jumbled up. It's Hailee and me this morning and I can't do anything without her constant questions and asking me to play with her. I hate that I don't have as much time for her anymore. She's been at my parents while I've been in school. They love their time with her, but it's not the same when she isn't here. She's been my whole life since she was born, and now, school will be that bigger portion.

This first week has been very overwhelming. There have been issues with the campus cruiser, the online website we get all our announcements, assignments, print-offs... and it's been very unorganized since it hasn't been working. I'm trying my best to put everything in it's place and designate times for everything, but there is so much and I'm just trying to keep my head above water.

I thought I'd be smart and read ahead a little before class started. Well, that was just fine for my Nutrition class, but my Fundamentals of Nursing class, not so much!! We don't go straight through that book. We jump ALL over the place. I'm still trying to figure things out. Sometimes, our homework will be reading 3 chapters in our book, and these aren't tiny little chapters people.. But both of our humongous books have their own book of study guides and we're supposed to use those to make sure we know the material. Maybe reading the entire chapter isn't absolutely necessary.

Right now, there is tons of stuff to memorize.. key terms, common abbreviations, dosage equivalencies, our skills (hand washing, putting on restraints, sterile gloving) and YES, there is a proper way to wash your hands. I will be doing a lot of that. I've already started looking at germs in a different way.

hailee put her glasses on all by herself.. upside down :)

I am pretty much on information overload right at the moment. I was blown away by all the stuff we had to do in the first week. We already had our 1st test. It was just on some videos we watched, but we can't do our clinicals until we pass all the little tests on safety, blood borne diseases, and some other ones I can't remember.

We were fitted for our uniforms on the first day and they are not the cutest things in the world. But they're uniforms and we all have to wear them. Guess I need to get an iron now, they are white and have to be crisp and unwrinkled. Still need to get my nursing shoes but I have until November 2. That's when we start our once a week clinical rotations. THAT'S gonna be scary. You're gonna trust ME to take care of a human being? I know by then, I'll have more skills under my belt, but it's still a little scary, all the responsibility that comes along with being a RN. you have to know you're stuff! I guess this 1st semester will be a 'weeding out' semester, where you'll know if you can hang or not.

I know it gets better, but right now, I'm just going to take it one day/assignment/study session at a time. Looking forward to being with all my classmates and learning with them. We'll be each others' support systems and that's kind of exciting. There are people that are feeling the very same way I am (overwhelmed). It's nice to know, I'm not the only one. 

Other Concerns NOT involving the actual school itself..
with this crazy involved schedule and draining requirements, I feel working out fading into to the background, as with my healthy eating habits. It's all about convenience and most of the easy, convenient stuff isn't that great for consumption. I'm so tired when I get home, I don't have the energy to work out and getting all of my work stuff done is time consuming.
The house work just waits until I have time enough for a break to throw a load of laundry in the washer, a load of dishes in the dishwasher, cook a meal, clean up after it, fold a load of clothes. I don't see how people work and go to school. SOOOOOO glad I was able to quit working. This is the only way I'll be able to get it all done.

Friday, August 5, 2011

almost a full time student.

The house is quiet. One of my most favorite sounds :)

I love love love my sweet little girl with all of my heart, but being a stay at home mommy can be exhausting. Hailee still requires tons of attention. Rarely will she go play in her room by herself; and anytime I try to take care of something that diverts my attention from her, she's right there underneath me asking her favorite question for the time being, "What's that?" over and over again, no matter how many times i tell her 'what that' is. I'm sure "Why" will be following closely behind that question. We usually aren't up much longer after her bed time.

We are at the beautiful age of potty training. I love not having to buy diapers every week. We only use them for nap time, bed time, and if we have to drive somewhere we'll be in the car for a while. I know where all the bathrooms are in the major stores we go to. We were in walmart the other day and Hailee told me she needed to potty. After she finished, we got off the potty (which had an automatic flusher) and when it flushed, she about had a heart attack and ran in to the door trying to get OUT of the stall. She's not a big fan of loud noises. She's also not crazy about wearing diapers anymore. She's very proud of her big girl panties and will show them off to anyone and everyone. I'm pretty sure I did that too.

We're also getting to the lovely toddler independent years where she's not too fond of LISTENING. This can be frustrating and trying on my patience. But maybe that's her point. She knows how to push our buttons. She likes to do what she wants to do. And anyone that is having a conversation without her, look out! She's as bad as the interrupting cow when you're talking. We're working on the interrupting conversation thing, but it's hard to explain to a 2 year old not to talk while someone else is talking. She's still pretty sensitive too. Doesn't take much stern talk for her to poke out that little lip and get her feelings hurt. And man, do the crocodile tears flow.

I've finally got everything lined up for school, which starts in 10 days!!!
Going down to Orangeburg next Tuesday to pick up my $1000 worth of books I need for the 1st semester of nursing school. UNREAL!! I probably won't even use half of them.
I still need to get supplies for clinicals but I really want to see what the teachers recommend instead of flying out and buying wrong or inappropriate things when it could be simpler than that. I do have a running list of things going that I've been compiling since joining the site and looking through lists of things everyone has found helpful to have while in nursing school. And if any of my nursing friends out there still have advice, I will gladly take it, over and over again :) 
I'm all about lists, being prepared, reading ahead ... whatever it takes to make things flow smoothly.

I think my biggest challenge will be the schedule change of having to get up hours earlier, get ready in the morning, and get Hailee out the door and to my parents (30 minutes away from us). I'll probably be waking up around... 5am or 5:30am just to get all that accomplished and walk on campus around 7:30am, which will be an hour away from me. I haven't had a 'day time schedule' in 6 years. I am a pretty good morning person once I get used to it. Not having to work late nights at the bank is going to help out tremendously. Also thinking about getting my hair cut and thinned out. I don't dry it now with a blow dryer because it would take FOREVER. I have long, thick hair and I'm thinking of doing something that would be easier to maintain and quicker to dry in the mornings. Anything that would take off the 'getting ready' time.

I am getting super excited about school starting and studying and learning new things. I wish I could start studying now so I have it down once school starts. I will start studying once I get my books next week.

Its been nice to be able to have the evenings with my family and stay on top of all the house work. I can't make any promises on the house work once school starts, but these 2 weeks of  "vacation" have been very restful. Still not sure I could stay at home 24/7 though. I'm probably going to miss not having a job. But I'm sure going from full time job to full time student will keep me busy none the less. It's also been nice being able to participate in evening activities with our church that I normally couldn't because of my job. Friday nights are the U-Turn church services with Pastor Steve at 7pm and I'll be able to start playing and singing with Kevin, which will be so much fun. That fun starts tonight!! I'll have to take some Fridays off depending on tests and studying but for the most part, I'll be able to play music more.
Speaking of that, I need to go start getting ready while Hailee is sleeping and I actually have time.
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