Ah, the holidays. Even during a pandemic, it’s the time of the year defined by turkey, football, shopping, pumpkin spice lattes, family get-togethers, and most importantly for nursing students . . . winter break.
For hard-working nursing students, the holidays are a brief but welcome respite from demanding didactics, rigorous reading, and intimidating instructors. But the hiatus comes with a unique challenge:
How do you stay academically sharp over the holiday break?
This is an especially salient question for students who have begun studying for high-stakes exams like the NCLEX®.
You may be resigned to the fact that you’ll come back from the holidays with a few more pounds, but no one wants to come back to school with less knowledge. So, here are a few ways to maintain a study plan during the holidays . . .
Plan to Relax
For starters, it’s important to enjoy your downtime! You’ve been diligently working and studying for months, so you might feel a twinge of guilt when you take some time for yourself. But intentionally taking some time to relax can actually be a benefit to your study efforts. In fact, you should build it into your study plan. If you strategically plan time to unwind, you’ll come back to your study refreshed, rested, and rejuvenated.
Take Advantage of Your Extra Time
Now that you’ve been intentional about planning some downtime, consider the opportunities you have with the rest of your time over the break. The frantic pace of the semester often makes study sessions rushed and stressful, but you now have a few weeks with a lighter schedule. Make sure you take advantage of your increased free time by allotting some of it to regular study.
You may not have daily classes or clinicals filling your schedule, but time can easily slip away over the break. This brings us to our next suggestion . . .
Strike a Balance Between Leisure and Study
The holidays come with more than a ridiculous amount of Elf on the Shelf pictures in your social media feed, they also come with lots of fun activities (though “activities” must be taken with precaution these days). Finding the perfect gift, catching up with friends, spending time with family — even as you’re being careful during the pandemic, all of these things are great and should be enjoyed, but plan your time carefully. It’s true that you have more time over the winter break than normal, but that time can vanish quickly if you’re not prepared.
At the beginning of each week, look at your planned activities and budget your time accordingly. A wise study plan will compel you to have study sessions at least five days a week. If you are using UWorld’s online learning tool for NCLEX prep, plan to work through a minimum of 10–20 questions each day to continue learning over the break.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
More than anything else, your passion and drive to become a practicing clinician will be the things that motivate you to maintain a study plan during the holidays. On days when you’re tired, when you’d rather watch a movie than answer practice questions, in the moments you feel dread about another semester, just remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. You have a dream to become a nurse. If you’ll stay diligent and dedicated in your study, you’re going to see that dream become a reality.
Getting ready for an upcoming NCLEX exam? Let us help! Over 700,000 nursing students have used UWorld for their NCLEX exam preparation since we launched our nursing product in 2015. Check us out today to see how we can prepare you for the test and for a lifetime of clinical success.