|Posted by MANS Secretary on September 15, 2014 at 9:50 AM|
The majority of us are now approaching or are already immersed in the fourth week of the Fall 2014 semester. As the first quizzes and tests loom near, we’re beginning to feel the pressure of only having 24 hours in each day. Coffee pots and tea kettles are starting to work overtime and bedtime is getting pushed closer and closer to the AM side of the clock. This is the perfect time to bring up the subject of time management.
As a non-traditional student with a husband, two young children, and a two hour commute (one-way!) to school, time management is essential to keeping my sanity. I would like to share a few tips with you that I’ve honed through my first two semesters of nursing school and am bringing into my final year. Of course, the biggest tip I can offer is to learn not to procrastinate. I know it is easier said than done, but if you train yourself to do things today instead of putting them off until tomorrow, it’ll change your life! However, apart from that, here are my top 5:
- Know you’re learning and study style. In order to make the best use of your study time, you have to know what kind of learner you are. Are you visual, kinetic, auditory? Many of us are some combination of all learning styles, but we each generally have one style that we lean towards most. There are many quizzes and assessments you can take to discover what you’re learning style is. A great place to start is your school’s academic success or tutoring center. Often the people staffing the center can help you discover your learning/study style and give you tips to help you study more effectively. When you know how you study best, you waste less time studying in a way that is not beneficial to you.
- Get thee a planner! Whether it’s the calendar that came loaded onto your smart-phone, a planner app, or (my personal preference) a paper planner you buy from a store, having a place where you write assignments, test dates, and other life commitments down all in once place is beneficial.
- Write in the planner! Now that you have that planner, use it, and not just for school stuff! Writing things down is a way of solidifying information in your brain. So if you write down your Great Aunt’s 90th birthday party, you’re less likely to forget it and in turn you’re more likely to remember that you need to schedule your study time around it.
- Schedule study time, but keep it flexible. I have a weekly calendar that I created in Excel. It covers Sunday through Saturday and I have hours from 6 AM to 8 PM marked for each day. Each hour slot for each day is designated to an activity of some sort. These activities include everything from class and clinical to studying and housework. The calendar is printed out and it hangs on my refrigerator as a reminder to my family of what my schedule generally looks like. This helps us all know when I plan to be at school, studying, or even which days I’m in charge of getting to the kids to school and which days my husband is in charge of that. It keeps surprises at bay. However, it is important to recognize that things happen and come up. So don’t look at your calendar as written in stone. Be willing to be flexible and creative in how you schedule your study time. This leads me to my final point.
- You cannot study all of the time. Many people will tell you that you won’t have a life when you’re in nursing school. You’ll be stuck in clinical or the books 24/7 and just kiss your social life goodbye. Do not do this! I repeat, do not kiss your social life goodbye! Yes, studying and school need to take priority, and you may find that you go to fewer fun events than you did prior to nursing school But a balanced life is a healthy life and you must also schedule some fun and downtime in between classes and the books. Are you religious? Then don’t give up going to your religious services. Continue to make them a regular occurance. Prioritize that time and work your study time into different parts of your day or week. Is your best friend having a birthday party? Go! Support your friend and have some fun for a change. If you can train yourself to not procrastinate in your study habits, then working in time with friends and family, or even just time with yourself to exercise or watch your favorite sitcom will not derail your nursing school career.