I knew an accelerated nursing program was going to be intense, but I did not know how crucial my classmates would be on this journey. Most of the days I can guarantee that I am in contact with at least one, but on a more often occasion, more like most of my classmates. We have clinical rotations together, we study together, and we sometimes sit in silence plugged into our own lectures. Just knowing that someone is sitting across from you at the coffee shop just makes everything make more sense. After all, we did leave our families and everything familiar behind to come and learn. It is not a rare occurrence for us to send a text like, “Hey, do you want to go to the gym? I can’t wait to hear about your experience and all of the things you got to do today.” Or a quick “wait until you hear what I got to experience today!”
Making Instant Friends
Early in the program we were told by our professors that we will learn to grow with each one of our peers. We will call home to tell them of our adventures and skills we are working on, but the only people that will understand, and I mean truly understand, will be the ones that are walking the halls with us. We all shrugged and laughed it off. How can 16 complete strangers become that close in just a year, let alone a few months? Wow, were we completely blindsided. The first day of skills, they paired us up with our new lab partners. We were doing vitals and practicing head to toe assessments. Nothing like getting to know a person! A few weeks later we were brushing each other’s teeth. Then practicing interviewing skills and asking hard questions, all with our new found friends.
Study Buddies Are Crucial
By week 2 we were creating quizzes and having game night at each other’s apartments to help study for exams. Meals and stories were shared. By midterm of quarter 1 we knew that we could count on one another to have our backs and a team environment was being created. At the end of the term and clinical test outs we were figuring out how to navigate a new clinical experience and diffuse fears within one another. By the end of clinical rotation one, we had laughed together, cried together, made new gym partners, trusted each other’s driving and were working on trusting each other’s clinical judgement.
Let The Fun Begin
Along came the adventures of summer. “Hey, how does the pool sound today?” One of my personal favorite past times is planning on how to get 10 nursing students floating down the river at the same time, or coordinating Friday night dinner and the concert in the park. Someone’s family comes to town? You bet that dinner will be had. You have your significant other coming to visit? When do we get to meet them? Your family is on Facetime with you? Well good news, we are all on Facetime with you now. Need to wait out a storm? It is best to do it with your nursing friends on the balcony.
Friends That Are Like Family
Fast forward to the final clinical and didactic term and I am certain I have found people that I will forever be in my life. People who will always be there when I need a gym partner, that will motivate me to stay healthy, that will cry with me when things get hard, and who will celebrate when the joys of practice come. My nursing friends and I will help each other decipher where and what we want to be when we graduate. Most importantly, when future life milestones come, I have these friends in my corner. That is a sweet, sweet realization that I am so thankful for. I couldn’t imagine not creating friendships in nursing school. Don’t get me wrong, I call home and they understand, they love hearing what is happening, but there is just something about bouncing ideas and events off someone in the same place as you that makes sense.
The Final Thought
Find your people, find the friendships, share life with one another. Go to the study group, go to the dinner, send the text, speak up and find a gym partner. It makes the journey that much sweeter and way more fun! A huge shout out to the GI Cohort of 2021, thank you for getting me and each other through a wild year!