For most of us, starting a new program in college shakes up our lives. Maybe you have just finished studying business and have decided that nursing is a better fit. Perhaps you have spent 8 years in the workforce and need to continue your education to progress in your career. Regardless of where you come from, starting school changes daily life. Change isn’t easy for anyone, even if these changes are exciting and sometimes necessary!
So how do we adapt to these changes? Is there anything we can do to ease our transition back into learning (or into learning a new subject)? Let’s talk about it!
Realize you have the capacity to adapt
Humans are amazing in their resilience and ability to adapt to new situations. From our immune system to our evolutionary background, our capacity to meet change and challenges head-on is tremendous. I say all of this to let you know, you can do it!
We will encounter setbacks but we can choose to allow those setbacks to hold us back or propel us forward. When things are difficult, it does not mean that you are doing something wrong. It only means that you have the opportunity to grow through the situation. Growth doesn’t come from doing the same thing over and over, it comes from being pushed to do something new or challenging.
Adaption is a process
As a runner, I think about the first time I went out and hit the pavement. I remember the next day — I was so sore! It felt like everything hurt. Some would ask, why would I do that again? However, as I added miles, and adjusted my diet, my body adapted to my new hobby.
In the same way, the mind adapts to new stimuli. Think about playing a game for the first time. You probably lost; I know I did. But my mind gradually adapted to be able to think about the process of playing that game and I got better! Adaption, both physically and mentally, is something that must be exercised.
Pro Tip: Take small bites
Here’s an old joke: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
When I first stepped off the bus at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, it felt as if the next 13 weeks would be an eternity. Those 13 weeks seemed like such a large chunk of time to have to get through!
One of the most valuable lessons I learned was to break every day down into bite-size chunks. For me, that was measuring each day by the three meals. I focused on what I was doing to make it to breakfast, then lunch, and finally dinner.
A 20-month Accelerated BSN program can open up similar feelings. It does seem like a long time! You can make it through the same way you eat an elephant or how I got through training. One bite at a time.
Each day you can set up your goals for that period and make the goals small enough to finish but always contribute towards a greater mission of passing this class or preparing for this or that evaluation. This has two benefits. First, you can measure what you are getting done and instead of measuring months, you can count off the hours and feel the progress. Second, you always have something to show for recent efforts! Sometimes just seeing that checkmark on your to-do list can be a boost. It’s how I made it through and I know it can work for you.
Wrapping it all up
To summarize, you can adapt, and it will get easier! Break each day down into manageable chunks. When you look at a processing day by day or meal by meal, the long road won’t feel so long or overwhelming.
I hope this can give you some extra confidence as you start (or continue) your educational journey here at Herzing!