The first few weeks of school are going to be rough. Just go in knowing that. Most people have been out of school for a few years while working in the ICU.
Getting back into the groove takes time, be patient with yourself. It is vital that you get organized asap. Figure out a system that works for you, and stick with it.
My best advice for keeping organized is to keep a calendar with all of the due dates highlighted, starred, bolded, whatever it takes.
I like having a monthly calendar so I know what I have due each week and month. Then narrow your focus day by day and class by class. It is easy to get overwhelmed with everything that you need to study and remember. Take a step back and breathe. It is manageable and you can do it! Your program directors wouldn’t have offered you a position unless they thought you could handle it.
My next piece of advice is to work ahead anytime you can.
You are going to have papers and discussion questions to do. This week you may not have any tests to study for but next week you will. Take advantage of the less busy week by working ahead on assignments. You will be SO glad that you did when next week you have that big test to prepare for. And then also when you have something you want to do, there is less pressure because you have a buffer.
My program is front-loaded, meaning all of my classwork is at the beginning of the program followed by a time that is solely clinical. Some programs are integrated where the classwork and clinical is combined throughout the program. There are pros and cons for both. Either way, make the most of your time and experience.
Another word of advice – stay humble and do NOT compare yourself to anyone.
Every one of your classmates is going to be stronger than you in certain areas and weaker than you in other areas. Just as you will be both stronger and weaker than everyone else at times. The second you let your pride get the best of you, you will be humbled. It happened to all of us!! You may have the high score on one test only to get the low score on the next.
It doesn’t matter! Comparing yourself to your classmates is only going to encourage competition and hard feelings. My class eventually got in the habit of not sharing our scores at all with each other because it really does more harm than good. Just worry about yourself and your grades and your own success.