How to Dominate the First Day of Nursing School

dominate first day of nursing school


So, you made it into nursing school and have earned your spot in an exclusive nursing program. What do you do from here? Aside from the usual first day of school jitters, starting your nursing program can be extremely exciting and terrifying at the same time. I remember my first day of nursing school like it was yesterday, and I was in for a rude awakening. However, if you can survive microbiology, anatomy and physiology 1 and 2, then you can survive the first day of nursing school, right. YOU’VE GOT THIS. Here are some helpful tips to help prepare you before you start your nursing program.


So, as the new rookie on campus, I suggest you organize all of your textbooks and binders right away. Go to the bookstore, and grab copies of your syllabi ASAP, so you can purchase all your textbooks that you will need. I also suggest checking out other websites aside from the bookstore. You might be able to find cheaper textbooks on sites like Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Get ahead if you can on the readings, or glance over the different topics that your professor will cover. I also recommend stocking up on highlighters, post-its, big 3 inch binders, and endless amounts of black pens. Your professors for lab and clinical will provide you with a list of items you will need beforehand (lab coat, stethoscope, medical scissors, clinical uniform, white sneakers, name badge, etc.) – make sure you have these items on hand prior to the first day of school. Being prepared before your first day of nursing school is a big part of survival and will help you start your semester organized.


Be prepared to be friendly! Just like on social media accounts where you add people as friends, you will need to gain nursing buddies. I cannot stress this enough! Find at least one person that lives in your dorm, near you, or shares a similar schedule with you. This is important so that you can have a study buddy to help you understand topics when you don’t. A study group of 2-3 is constructive, but anything over 3 may be distracting. I have always found that whenever I lacked knowledge or understanding in a topic, someone else in my study group is there to pick up the slack and help out. This will also come in handy as you may have tests every week, and by dividing up the course load between your friends will lighten the workload. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to other new students – on the first day of nursing school I found my nursing group by tapping two girls on their shoulders, with my Long Island accent saying, “hey – ya wanna study together or what?” and the rest is history!


Before you start your first day of school, remember one thing: there are people who are placed on waitlists who are dying to take your seat in your nursing program, so don’t take it for granted. If you find that nursing isn’t for you after a few weeks, that’s okay too. But if you are in it for the long run, stay focused, stay driven, and stay organized. Keep a routine that includes healthy meals, some sleep, social activities to keep you sane, and time for yourself. Stay on top of the reading, and don’t be afraid to go to your professors for help, especially when it comes to testing. If you find that after your first test you didn’t do so hot, (which can be devastating for most first time nursing students) it’s important to not be afraid to schedule to meet with your professor for time to discuss your results. A nursing multiple choice exam is extremely different from any other multiple choice exams you have taken or will ever take. In a nursing test, every answer is correct, but often you are asked to find the best answer, which that alone can drive you insane! So stay focused, utilize your nursing buddies, and don’t be afraid to seek help.


Are you nervous about your first day of nursing school? Do you have any suggestions for other new nursing students? Share your stories below!

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Jacqueline Molina
Jacqueline Molina is currently a junior in the nursing program at SUNY Morrisville. She has recently relocated from her native Long Island to Syracuse, New York, to embark on her nursing career. She attended SUNY Albany from 2004 to 2008, majoring in English with a double minor in Education and Spanish. From there, she attended CUNY Queens College and earned two master’s degrees—one in English and one in Education. She was a New York City high school English teacher for three years before making the decision to change careers and follow in the footsteps of her grandmother, a nurse manager in a leading Long Island hospital. Long term, Jacqueline hopes to become a successful oncology nurse and nurse educator. She enjoys rollerblading, bacon, traveling, and exploring the outdoors with her boyfriend and three dogs.