As I approach the end of my final semester of theory I keep asking myself the same question: will I ever be qualified?
I was concerned that my final year was going to be too overwhelming, that I wouldn’t cope, my work would not be finished, and I would be overloaded with study day and night. Thankfully this hasn’t happened and, somewhat surprisingly, I have remained calm and focused. Organisation has played a big part in this and I have not felt the need to rush my work due to panic. This is not to say it has been easy - it hasn’t - but so far it has not been the nightmare I had built up in my mind. Still, I do have the feeling that I have simply had enough of university. I am so close to being qualified, but it still feels far away!
Lectures are becoming increasingly difficult to concentrate in; I don’t enjoy this style of learning and 3 years’ worth is certainly now taking its toll. I need a classroom break! I have really enjoyed the study aspect of the course but I am a hands-on learner and I prefer to develop my own styles of how I study. Obviously we cannot complete the course without attending theory sessions and they are invaluable to our development but the time for practice cannot come soon enough for me.
I have a severe case of classroom fatigue and it seems to be common amongst my colleagues. Lecturers have informed me that at this stage in the course it is perfectly normal and many students experience the same thing. Still we have essays to submit, exams to do and presentations to give before we can breathe an almighty sigh of relief. We are mentally tired and emotions are showing, but with the final push ahead of us we must keep going to reach our goal.
I asked some of my colleagues to share with you their tips for getting through those final weeks of theory:
“H20 and plenty of it! A hydrated body will help to keep fatigue at bay and will assist in concentrating on the lecture” (Suzanne Thompson)
“Always look at the topic the night before. I find that I don’t have to make too many notes then and I can pick up on the extra points that the tutor adds to the session. It is less tiring that way. I also have a power nap when I get home so I can continue studying during the evening” (Lynda Horswell)
“I use a tablet to follow lecturers when a PowerPoint has been made available. This way I feel that I have more control over what I believe is important for my notes” (Ellen Oxenbold)
“Having a laugh with colleagues is important. The course is intense and lectures can leave you feeling drained. Break time is the perfect opportunity to just relax a little. You will feel more energised to return to the classroom and ready to continue studying” (Kayley Thompson)
“Support for one another is crucial. If someone in the group is struggling it is down to the rest of the group to motivate and pick them up” (Nakeeba Usama Muneer)
Finally, my own advice is this: stay focused. I know it is mentally challenging. It is difficult. And your concentration is beginning to waver. But you are nearly there! I am nearly at the finishing line where my dream of being a nurse is waiting for me. I know I can do this - and so can you.
Leanne Siekiera is Student Nursing Times’ student editor for adult branch