As the BSN Junior class approached its first exam in nursing school, the realization of the fast pace of this program quickly set in for her. Her mood could only be described as frenzied. With only four minutes of class left, the final Integrated Science class before the day of the test, the professor raced to explain the information on the last 12 slides of her power point presentation. Needless to say, not much of that explanation was understood. As her tension amplified, the professor offered parting wisdom to her class. She said, “If you study well, you will do well.” Such a simple statement, highly conditional, but she found it comforting. She knew what she needed to do: spend the next four days of her life buried in books and notes and power points so that she was sure to pass this test. She tried hard not to let the fact that she had another online exam as well as an online quiz to study for and complete in the coming days worry her. She tried, but she failed. At home, after hours of preparing for lab she still felt behind. She just knew she wouldn’t have the time to study as much as she would need to in order to pass this test.
Anxiety set in.
Anxiety is a friend of none and a foe of many. This particular nursing student was no exception. What is detestably true of Anxiety is that it has the ability to transform itself into things even more despicable like: Fear, Panic, Doubt, and even Defeat. She was overcome by all of these faces of Anxiety.
She thought about all the times she could have stayed up an hour later to read or prepare her notes. She focused on the possibility of failing and being removed from the program. She even compared her intelligence to those of her fellow nursing students and decided on the fact (or what she believed was fact) that she was not as smart. She was not good enough. In her mind it would take a miracle for her to pass.
Test day came and went. She was not surprised but to her dismay, she failed miserably. She had spent more time worrying than actually studying and her thoughts and actions sealed her fate. After checking her grade once more, just to be sure, she decided that nursing school was not for her, or better yet, she was not for nursing school. She walked out and never went back.
Jane felt a sweat-soaked t-shirt as she awoke from her nightmare. Could she possibly fail her first test? As soon as the thought entered her mind, it vanished. She knew that her professors gave her everything she needed to succeed. She knew that there was a possibility that she would not do well, but she was quickly comforted by the memory of a talk she had with her advisor. This mentor assured her that help would be given early on if she found the material too difficult. Jane did not have to study by herself either. She shook off the lingering dread she felt from her bad dream and got out of bed. She was running late for her study group. Confidently, Jane got ready for the day. She felt excited to master the material. Jane was shocked to hear that her classmates also experienced some anxiety as they embarked on knew test territory. This revelation calmed her even more. She was not alone. On test day, Jane was pumped. Anxiety, the cruel tormentor of minds, had no place in Jane’s. She knew she would make it through. “One test down, about 40 more left to go!”