As the new year begins we are almost obliged to reflect upon the past year and develop expectations for the year ahead, and in this case I expect a lot.
2015 is going to be a year for change for me; it brings an end to my time at university and the beginning of my career as a nurse.
The end of being a student and the beginning of true adulthood (not in behaviour, many ‘adults’ have informed me that time may never come), earning a salary and living alone, finally moving out of student housing, and buying appliances like microwaves and my own vacuum cleaner (is it sad that I am incredibly excited for this?).
However, in order for these changes to take place I have to get through the next eight months of nurse training, and graduate with a degree in learning disability nursing.
Those eight months will include 20 weeks of placement, university, a dissertation, assignments and practical exams and a presentation and writing practice evidence, all to be achieved while juggling my part-time job (which funds my shopping habit).
It is probably going to be the most demanding eight months I’ve ever experienced, and in the future I won’t have to be so careful with my time management.
Strangely though, I’m not dreading it.
I love being productive and this year I won’t have time for anything else, I’m not good at being idle. I think it’s a family trait, because my parents are also incapable of sitting around and doing nothing, we become irascible.
Normally change terrifies me, I need plenty of time to prepare for even the smallest change, so it feels out of character for me to be looking forward to it all. It’s not just change, it’s diving into the unknown. I don’t know where I’m going to work or even which area of nursing I will be employed in or where I’m going to live.
This time next year my whole world will be different, and I can’t even imagine it because I have no idea what it will hold for me.
I have a plan for the next eight months. Before I have to enter the big, bad world of adulthood and full-time employment, I am going to make the most of every opportunity.
I want to learn as much as I possibly can before I qualify. Placement provides you with time to experience different situations, and find out what interests you, as well as time to pick the brains of qualified nurses. If the opportunities are not obvious, but you know you want a certain experience, create it.
As a student it’s the time to ask questions, make contacts, and see and understand as many healthcare environments as you can before you have to choose one you would like to work in.
It is the time to develop skills before all the responsibility falls on your head, to ask for tips and utilise those who are already experts.
That’s my plan, to learn and experience everything I want to know about in nursing, before it’s my turn.
Who knows what I will say when 2016 suddenly begins, but let’s just get though 2015 first.
Lucy Cleden-Radford is Student Nursing Times’ learning disability branch student editor