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Five Tips for Success in College: Mental Health Memo for May

Five Tips for Success in College
About the Author: Jamie Karstens is a night House Supervisor at HSC. She started at HSC in 2014 on adult Acute nights then worked on Cedar 2 days for 5 years before taking the house supervisor role. She currently is a student at Briar Cliff University pursing her master’s degree to be a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
Have you ever reflected on where you are in life and thought “is this what I am supposed to be doing” or “do I feel fulfilled with my career choice”? I don’t know about you, but this is exactly what happened to me a few short years after completing my Bachelor of Nursing degree. Being a nurse and working in the mental health field is a rewarding career.  However, I couldn’t help but feel I was meant to do more. Deciding to go back to school was a difficult decision to make as a non-traditional student. Many of us have families, careers, and other things in life to consider. But it is also important to think about what you are going to get from advancing your education. What we gain is in-depth knowledge and the development of skills for our chosen career.
During National Nurses Week I am reminded of how important furthering my education means to me. Let’s face it, getting through any program has its difficulties at times but in the end, you will gain a sense of pride in your accomplishment. No matter what your professional goal is, if you are considering going back to school, I wanted to share some lessons I have learned that apply to anyone considering going back to school.  If you are attending a university, college, or technical school, these five tips will help you.
I know, easier said than done! Those late-night cram sessions to study for midterms or that upcoming exam or to get that paper written may be doing more harm than good. Go to sleep at a decent time, rest, recharge, and start again in the morning.
Nursing school in general is overwhelming and doing it alone makes those overwhelming feelings even worse. By forming a study group with other motivated individuals in your class will help you stay on task and feel supported.
Taking 10 minutes for every hour that you study to get up, walk away, and regroup will help to stimulate your brain so that you can feel more focused. Feeling more focused will help you to retain more information.  The added benefit is this will also help to keep your body limber!
Don’t wait until the last minute to cram for your test. Instead, take 20 minutes a day to review your notes from the day, week, or semester. This will keep the information you have been learning fresh in your mind. Not only will the information be fresh in your mind, but it will also take some pressure off testing day.
Eating healthy foods daily will help fuel your body so that you have enough energy to get through your study sessions. Engage in physical activity and take time for yourself. This can be as simple as taking a walk in a park.
To those who are in school, you got it! Keep going! You are well on your way to a rewarding career. To those who are considering furthering your education, you can also do it! It is never too late! Being a nurse is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not for a moment, even during the many tears I have shed, have I regretted my decision to advance my education. If I can do it, I know you can!


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