My next-to-last semester of my nurse practitioner program has started and I think I’m ready for it. I know I’m already completely overwhelmed, but I think I’m ready.


I’m going try something new this semester — I’m going to take notes on flash cards. I’m not sure how well this is going to work because my handwriting is atrocious and I have to write really small to fit everything on the cards. But, using flash cards will force me to actually pay attention in the lectures.

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I have a classmate who buys a big batch of colored pens with which to take notes each semester. She likes to use different colors for different sections. It’s impressive to have that much dedication. I can’t do that; I don’t have the patience.


I’m also starting a pediatric rotation this semester. This should be fun because I like kids. Well, I like my kids; other people’s kids scare me. This may not be fun at all. I’ll do my best and try not to scare too many patients and hopefully learn something.


To prepare us for the upcoming semester, our school had us all attend an intensive weekend seminar. It was encouraging to connect in-person with my classmates from all over the country and share our stories and experiences. We learned some new skills and were able to validate some skills we’ve been using.


My classmates and I left with renewed motivation for the weeks ahead. I’ve said it before, and I mean it — I’m going to get through this nurse practitioner program because of the encouragement and camaraderie from my classmates.


As the first day of class draws near and all of the anxiety and pressure that goes along with it manifests, I think back to a motto I learned in the navy: Semper Gumby — always flexible. This saying reflects the understanding that things won’t go your way; goals you set for yourself will be unrealistic and grades you were expecting won’t materialize.


Don’t spend too much time stressing about it, adjust to the situation and get through this using whatever works for you today.


Sean P. L’Huillier, BSN, RN, CEN, is an emergency department nurse currently enrolled in Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences Family Nurse Practitioner Program.