4 Tips for Balancing Nursing School and Your Social Life
Aspiring nurses mulling over how to get an RN degree may feel discouraged when thinking about the long hours they’ll need to spend studying and doing their clinical rotations. Some people think this means you can’t have a social life when attending nursing school. While it’s true that nursing school requires intense studies, it doesn’t mean student nurses will miss out on the fun.
Taking a single-minded approach to academics can mean missed opportunities to indulge in the more social aspects of the college experience, including interaction with others and learning from your shared experiences.
The Importance of Having a Social Life in College
One study found that the social relationships students formed and maintained while studying helped them persevere in college. A 30-year longitudinal study showed that social interactions in your 20s have an impact on midlife well-being.
College students who fail to maintain a social life while studying often suffer from stress and anxiety. Roughly 57% of college students in the US suffer from overwhelming anxiety, according to the American College Health Association Fall 2018 National College Health Assessment.
That said, balancing your social life and studies should become a priority. Below are some ways to do that.
How to Balance Studies and Social Life as a Nursing Student
1. Get into a well-managed schedule
One of the first things nursing students need to learn when they enroll is how to organize their schedule. Your time will be allocated between attending classes, reading books and journals, preparing reports, and doing clinical rotations. There will also be deadlines to meet. Managing time spent on each task can make a significant difference in managing stress levels. Remember to schedule time to look after your personal and social needs.
Consider using a planner to organize all your daily tasks—but don’t stop there. Include all activities: school, work, social, and self-care.
When studying, students can try different strategies to maximize their effectiveness. One is the 90:20 approach, which involves doing 90 minutes of school-related tasks and then taking 20-minute breaks to do non-school-related tasks, such as catching up with family and friends.
Another strategy is to finish all tasks by a given time and set aside the rest of the day for “me time” and socializing, so there’s no guilt. Getting into a routine can help condition your mind and help you accomplish what needs to be done.
2. Communicate with family and friends
No matter how busy students may be with school, it’s essential to include time to access their support system. Once nursing school starts, it’s a good idea to let family and friends know about the schedule. Giving a heads up about your time limitations can help you work out times and activities convenient for both parties and reduce any feelings of isolation that can contribute to stress. Students should also consider this time off as a critical part of learning and not a distraction from studies.
3. Embrace flexibility
One of the important things about managing time is to accept that students have different schedules and some students will have more time to spare. Embrace flexibility while also being dedicated to your studies. Take opportunities to meet for coffee, see a movie, or take a walk, but not at the expense of your schoolwork.
4. Integrate activities
Some strategies will help students to socialize and attend to their studies at the same time. Forming bonds with peers is a good way to have company during your studies. For example, students can organize study groups, eat meals together, or exercise as a group.
Nursing school does not mean giving up your social life entirely. Spending time with other students, friends, and loved ones can help boosts confidence and self-esteem, and provides an avenue to decompress after long hours of studying. Balancing social life and school helps nursing students to keep their mental health in check and develop the interpersonal skills they’ll need to treat their patients with care and compassion. It’s also a great way to combat nursing school stress.
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