Stage 1: READY and overly ambitious – when you call realtors and start looking for apartments in February for May or June start leases, be prepared to be the laughing stock of the agency. Housing in NYC is in crazy high demand and everything is done at the last minute. For May 1st or May 15th leases, plan to look for an apartment in mid April. Also – do your research on what you have to prepare in advance. As a student, you will need proof of an acceptance and a guarantor who makes a boatload of money to back you up (note: it doesn’t have to be a family member). Or good recs from previous landlords. Be ready to share things with your realtor and landlord that you probably don’t share with friends. They need to gain your trust. In the end, it all will workout and you WILL find somewhere to live.
Stage 2: First Day of School Jitters – attending classes in the summer is definitely strange. The temperature fluctuates like crazy: cold subway, hot subway station, steaming pavement, freezing classrooms, crowded classes– but the thrill of starting nursing school trumps any of that baloney. Your fellow students will amaze you, intimidate you, and be remarkably friendly. ETP is something people VOLUNTARILY do, to achieve their nursing dreams. Everyone is smart, ambitious and probably more worldly than you are. Don’t worry though! You will find your niche. From West coasters to lifelong New Yorkers, there’s a spot for you. Also – age range is about 21 – mid 50s with most students falling into their mid to late 20s. While everyone is on a level playing field academically/nursing-wise, the range of experiences your fellow students will have is incredible.
Stage 3: Homesickness and a bit paralyzed – NYC is bigger than you can ever imagine. So you will become very intimidated very fast. Being overwhelmed automatically reduces one to homesickness and missing familiarity. Don’t let the stress of a new place and program get you down! Instead, take the time to get to know the city and the people in your program. They won’t bite. Also – invite a loved one to come visit you in the big apple so you can explore the city with them. NYC in the summer is pretty fantastic: equipped with roofdecks and central park strolls. Classes will dominate your weekday existence, but explore the city via café hopping so you can get out and study at the same time! Hopefully your clinical placement allows you to see a new part of Manhattan. There is nothing like the bond of your first clinical group. Enjoy every minute of feeling like a newbie and always ask questions!
Stage 4: Summer Break Chaos – One month of no work? Yes – that is right. Get everything out of your system that you forgot to do before the program started. ETP year is intense and now is your opportunity to travel, sleep, and embark on new adventures. Remember, you’re the one who signed up for a program to get your BSN in one year! It won’t be a walk in the park, but it is achievable.
Stage 5: Back to Reality – WHOA. After a summer of mastering the fundamentals of nursing (ASSESS, DIAGNOSE, PLAN, INTERVENE, EVALUATE) and a break for a month, you will come back feeling refreshed and ready to rotate through the different specialties: Medical-Surgery, OB, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Community Health. These rotations will fly by, so really note how you feel during each one for this will guide you into making sure you are enrolled in the appropriate NP program. Make time to reflect on how you like or don’t like the clinicals. It is easy to go through the motions, but remember, this is your lifelong career we are talking about so you want to create your own path.
Stage 6: Cruisin’ – Each rotation has a different style and vibe depending on the professor and your clinical instructor, but breaking it up into smaller groups makes the time fly by. While you may not be in the group with all your best friends from the summer, this is a good opportunity to meet other people in the program. Also – now that you are more comfortable with the city, get involved! Whether it be student activities, volunteering at COSMO or going to different talks within the CUMC campus. You’re at COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, take advantage of it.
To be continued…
-Emily Owen ETP ’14