When you think of being successful in college, you know lots of hard work, hours of studying, and a dedicated commitment will pay off. But if you’re heading into nursing school this fall, there’s also another essential, piece of the puzzle that will help your college years go as smoothly as possible.

What else can you do to help you make the most of your time in nursing school? Get a team together—one filled with other students you can rely on, professors who can teach you, advisors who can guide you, and college services offices filled with information.

While many students enter college thinking this will happen naturally, planning for the right kind of team is almost a strategic business move. You aren’t going to pick your friendships and associations with an eye on getting ahead, but knowing where to go for help and developing relationships with people on campus will always help you.

Friendships Are Your Foundation

Good friends will be a life saver when you are in college. Not only will they be right in the trenches with you and understand what you’re going through, but they’re also a steady source of sage advice, on-target observations, and, hopefully, some comic relief. Friends aren’t all good for the same thing all the time. You might find you develop friends to study with, friends to blow off steam with, others who help you reach your fitness goals, and others who’ll binge-watch Netflix with you the day after your last final.

Professors Motivate You

Some professors will make you pull your hair out and others will push you to make yourself better. Reach out to your favorite professors to cultivate a good relationship. They will help you when you are struggling with a class, offer you career advice, and will serve as references when you are seeking internships, externships, or a job.

Academic Advising Introduces You to the Possibilities

The most successful students are the ones who seek out help. You may have never needed a tutor or needed extra help in a class, but nursing school is a whole new situation. You aren’t expected to know everything, and keeping up the intense pace of nursing school is difficult—even for the best students. Get to know your school’s academic advising office and staff. Ask them for help with classes, difficult professors, or time management. They are an important part of your team and the sooner you develop a relationship with them, the more likely you are to avoid pitfalls like burnout, poor grades, or procrastination.

Health Services Watches Out for You

If you have any kind of chronic medical condition—from diabetes to depression —college is not the time to manage it all on your own. Health services will help you with getting medication, finding outside providers, and checking in to keep your health on a steady course. When you get to campus, start getting acquainted with the people and routines of the health services center. If you ever need to take any time off for medical reasons, they will be a big help with the process. The first time you see them shouldn’t be an emergency.

Career Services Takes You to the Next Level

All nurses have an end goal of a career in nursing, but that final career will look different for so many students. Career services will help you figure out how to narrow down your best career path, but they will also help you take steps to get there faster. Start early to get a resume in order, explore career options, and even develop a plan of outside experiences (volunteer work, summer jobs, internship or externship opportunities) that can help you get there.

Nursing school is a step toward independence and your career, and surrounding yourself with people who can help you will make your experience that much better and more successful.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is a freelance writer based in Bolton, Massachusetts.
Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

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