What are your tips for surviving the stress of university life?
"What has helped me is not being backward in coming forward. What I mean by that is, it can be really helpful to be aware of when you need to ask for help or when you are feeling uncertain of your capabilities, and not being afraid to admit that you might need a little bit of reassurance or support."
JCU nursing student Sharon Groves
The nursing subject coordinators and year coordinators, as well as the nursing student mentors, are there for you to reach out to when you need. Being a part of the JCU Nursing and Midwifery Society also helped keep me socially in touch with fellow students.
There are also three things that I do religiously to manage my stress. Firstly, early on in my degree I reached out to a lecturer and asked her to be my professional mentor. She has been my absolute rock. She's the person at 3am that I can send an email to, and who helps me with any query I might be having.
Secondly, I make it a golden rule to ‘down tools’ on Sunday afternoons which is when I do the things around the home that make me feel good, whether that be doing cross stitch or crochet or binge watching a TV series.
And thirdly, I'm also a big fan of journaling, especially when I’m on placement. You could call it reflective practice, but basically I just write whatever I am feeling. The important thing is that it comes out, and once it's out, I close the book. Then maybe a day or two later, I might open it up and have a read and by then I would have gotten rid of my fuzzy head and can understand why I was feeling that way. I can put my feelings of being uncomfortable or disheartened into perspective, and instead remind myself that I’m still learning, I’ve still got a long way to go but that at least I’m getting there. The real danger is not believing in your abilities and then giving up or dropping out.
What's your advice to someone thinking about studying Nursing at JCU?
What have you got to lose? If you're thinking about it, then that desire is already there. I think that the biggest injustice you can do to yourself is to sell yourself short. To say, I can't do this because somebody else doesn't think I can, or because you doubt yourself. Look at it the other way. You might be phenomenal. You might be amazing. It might be the best decision you ever made, like it has been for me.
It’s also important to realise that it is never too late to start. At the age of 45, I literally woke up one day and thought to myself ‘why have I not become a nurse yet’? The next day I resigned from my job and enrolled in JCU’s Diploma of Higher Education as a pathway to then study nursing.
Nursing was something that had always been in the back of mind but life, having kids, paying bills etc. got in the way. But then I realised those were all just excuses. Even if by starting the journey you discover that nursing is not quite right for you, the JCU team can still help you figure out more clearly what career is right for you. Everyone here just wants you to succeed no matter what you decide to do.