Nursing students are a very special bunch. Somehow, we must juggle social lives, work lives, uni work, placement hours, and somehow have time to eat, sleep and shower!
There is no direct solution on how to manage all these things other than to just prioritise. I will admit that I am not the most organised person, but I will always make sure that I give myself lots of time to complete things and do what I want to do.
When I am having lectures, I make sure I read over what we have done that day when I get home, even if it’s just for half an hour. After that I am free to do what I fancy.
When I am on placement I make sure I take my reflection hours! It is very easy to forget about these, I try and write down what I what to write in my reflections whilst I am on placement as they are fresh in my mind. This makes it easier to write them, which leaves me with more free time!
I have a zero-hour contract job at my local football stadium, I find it more manageable to fit it around my placement and university work. For instance, I work three 12.5 hour shifts a week for placement and I try and work a shift at the stadium once a week if possible. Usually the mentors on placement are flexible when it comes to prioritising paid work as they know you don’t get paid for placement! I am lucky that my mentor has a season ticket for another football stadium, so I can get match days off.
The hardest thing that I find to maintain is my social life. I am lucky that my friends up here all have the same issues that I do. If I can’t go on a night out due to work or placement they understand. What I tend to do is make forward plans and write it in my diary! This then stops me from accidentally agreeing to extra hours at work and it also gives me something to look forward too.
Me and my friends often plan what we call ‘mate dates’. This is a day where we will often do something together, such as going for food or shopping etc.
The one thing I will say is that not everyone will understand your situation. Some people cannot comprehend the fact that you cannot go out when you have lectures the next day. A nursing degree is not like any other university course. You cannot be missing multiple lectures due to being hungover or going out. Any missed lectures will get recorded and it will go against your reference in the future. I have lost friends in the past as they used to not be able to understand that I can’t just go out all the time due to prioritising my work. Who wants to sit in lectures 9-5 hungover anyway??
I think its always down to what you want to do. But to give yourself a better chance, I would always organise your time. Make sure you don’t leave your work last minute, make sure you have some time for yourself and friends, and be careful not to burn out!