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‘My friends are holding me back’


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I’m 19 and just started my nursing course in September. Straightaway I met a really good group of friends, we have loads of fun and I’m so glad to have met them. We’re always laughing and I’ve never felt like I belong as much as I do now.

“The problem is they’re all really clever and don’t even need to listen in lectures, they just glance through the lecture notes after. We always sit at the back and they spend the entire time passing notes, sleeping or just openly chatting.

“If I don’t listen then I can’t make sense of the lecture notes later on so am really missing out on what I know I need to learn to pass.

“Any time I try to take notes or answer questions they always laugh about it, in a friendly way, but it puts me off doing it.

“I don’t want to make a big issue about it and risk falling out with them. How can I learn without alienating my new friends?”



Please use the comments section below to share your advice


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Readers' comments (5)

  • It's difficult when you have just started your course.

    Is there any scope for you to be assertive and just say that you need to listen cause you want to make sure you can keep up with them and pass...

    It could be that there might be others in the group who are feeling the same way as you and by you being assertive they might speak up.

    I am at the end of my second year now and I can say that the only people left in my cohort are those that listen in lectures... the ones that used to pass notes etc either stopped or did not progress to second year.

    Don't let others spoil your learning and your chances of becoming a nurse. At the end of the day when it comes to getting a job when you qualify some of these people will be your direct competition for a position.

    Perhaps if these individuals find your listening in lectures funny then maybe you need to put the feelers out and make some new friends with others in your cohort... You will find your true cohort friends and believe it or not when you come back from your first practice placement you will find the dynamics of your group will probably change, some will be missing (not having made it through 1st placement) and others will behave more maturely.

    Good luck!

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  • Hi,

    I too had this same problem in first year.

    It's important to maintain friendships in university, but I'm sure they would understand if you said you take a bit of time to grasp some of the lectures, so you're going to sit nearer to the front so you can fully concentrate, then maybe explain that you will meet them after the lecture to grab lunch etc. That way, you aren't compromising your learning or your friendship.

    Chances are as well you will get speaking to others in your cohort by switching seats - I'm not saying you will fall out of contact with your current friends, but it helps to have more than one circle of friends as the dynamics can change over time & people fall away. Especially as in 2nd and 3rd years, it gets much more intense - it helps having people who are really engaged with the course to do group study together.

    I hope you manage to resolve this and all the best for your course!

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  • Speaking as someone who spends a great deal of time away from my child and at considerable personal expense to attend my lectures I'm just going to ask you to BE QUIET, take a long look at yourself, and allow others to learn. Or you will get a short sharp shock in third year when your colleagues finally snap, and ask you to leave classes -as is now happening with my cohort.
    Take charge of your own learning now and just tell your pals this is your degree, you want to learn and go sit at the front on your own if need be, it's that important.

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  • I agree with the 2 comments above. Just be honest and say no offence but as you are not as naturally bright as them you are going to sit away from them for lectures so you can concentrate. If they get funny with you for that they are not true friends and you will likely stray away from them in time anyway. If you don't do it now though it might become too late. It's YOUR degree and YOUR life. What's more important: messing about or your dreams? You are not 10 anymore!

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  • I used to get stick for always being in the library - but as a mature student my time is precious, and I have three kids, a job and a home to run. Funny now, as third year has started EVERYBODY is in the library now .... do what you have to do. If they are real friends they will understand

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