Dear first semester nursing students,

First off let me start by saying welcome to the family! You are enduring your very first week of nursing school right now and I want to congratulate you. Nursing is hard, you already knew that just from the cut throat requirements to be even considered to be accepted. But from the 1/4 nurses I would just like to say, "don't run. You CAN do it. You WILL do it."

Nurses and nursing students everywhere have been in your shoes before. We know what you are going through. The first week is the absolute worst, we know. You are completely confused and sitting in a room with your whole cohort and know no one. All the professors are in the front of the room giving you the same lectures we important it is to stay organized, suggesting to hire a personal secretary( and you laugh but deep down inside you pray they are kidding), and telling you how hard this semester is going to be. We have all gotten that lecture before. It is terrifying. You will sit there looking around wondering if anyone else is thinking the same thing you are, "what did I get myself into?" The truth is every single person in that room is wondering at least something half way similar. Don't worry, it's normal.

When you get to class tomorrow look around... just look at everyone there and relax. It is no longer a competition between each other. So, look around. This classroom full of strangers will quickly become your family and the teachers will turn into parent figures. So with that being said, learn everyone's names as quickly as possible. Go out for lunch together between classes. These are now your people. These are the only people who will actually "get it" and understand what is going through your head at any given moment. It is no longer a competition between each of you, no more cut throat when it comes to academics, y'all are just a bunch of strangers put together to try to survive the next four semesters. Each person has an important characteristic to bring the the table that no one else there has. Utilize it. Work together. Become friends. You are now family.

This first week you will cry. Haven't cried yet? You either will or I would love to meet you because you're a superhero who can handle ungodly amounts of stress. It is okay to get overwhelmed. It is okay to cry. Just do NOT give up. You think you can't do it now, but you will. Before you know it you will be sitting back laughing because you just finished your finals and you and your family(cohort) are sitting at happy hour wondering how the heck you made it out alive. Then you realize, you probably wouldn't have if it wasn't for the support, laughter, and constant pushing of your new family. But you will be there, then you will laugh that you cried about the first week of classes.

The first semester of nursing school has a funny way about making you realize who you are, what you are made of, and who actually cares about you...all in five short months. You are sitting here thinking and laughing about the word short in between five and months aren't you? You think these will be the longest five months of your life? You are so so wrong. This semester will fly by.

My advice to you; get to know the people around you. They are your family now. They are a lifeline, a shoulder to cry on, and a friend to go have beer and wings with. Do not be afraid to ask upperclassmen for help. We don't mind helping you out as much as we can, we were just in your shoes not too long ago.

Lastly, do not lose sight of why you wanted to go into this profession. Hold onto it tight. You will doubt yourself. You will shock yourself. You will think your brain is going to explode. You will be smarter than you ever thought you could be. But you have no idea what you have no idea about yet. If you don't understand that, you will soon enough.

Good luck Spring 2016, you will rock it! You will become amazing nurses!

With love and encouragement,

A junior 2...

1/4 nurse...

Jennifer Barron, GSU, SN