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Things I Wish I Knew About the Nursing Major
Written By: Akaanksha Rishi Akaanksha is currently a second-year Nursing major at the University of Washington. "I joined HeyMentor because as a first-generation student, I wanted to support students who, like myself, struggled to navigate the pathways to pursue higher education. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know my mentees and supporting their dreams to attend college." Different Pathways There are many routes to achieving your BSN that go beyond the traditional four-year university experience. Here are some examples of pathways: This does not take into account the requirements that may come as a result of differing systems (quarter/semester) which depend on the institution. This is something to pay particular attention to as a transfer student. Along with this, certain institutions may require entrance exams. Both can add to the timeline of earning your BSN. Considering All Pathways When you are planning for your future, especially from the perspective of a high school student, it may seem difficult to consider experiences that differ from what the majority of your peers may choose to pursue. Whether that is transferring to a four-year university immediately after high school or choosing to pursue your education at a community college. No matter the choice, there is no right or wrong path to becoming a nurse. It is important to place significance on the end goal which is earning your BSN and becoming a registered nurse. Personally, I struggled with the idea of not pursuing my education at a four-year university like all my high school friends. While I was enrolled in the running start program, where I completed a majority of the nursing prerequisites, I felt pressured to transfer to a university like all my friends. I was distracted by the societal norm of attending a University created by individuals pursuing different careers than me. Socially, the idea of continuing my education at the community college seemed like a mistake while it may have been the more efficient pathway. However, there are positives and negatives with every decision. If I had stayed at the community college after high school to complete my outstanding prerequisites, I would have saved a lot of time and money. However, I would not have had the college experience with my friends that I dreamed of experiencing. I made a conscious decision to transfer to a University and apply to nursing schools in that position. Although, there are benefits to transferring to universities from a community college such as a guaranteed admission (DTA or Direct Transfer Agreements) and saving a great deal of money. It is up to you to decide in your position, what can you afford, and what you want to experience, all with your end goal of your BSN in mind. Doubt, Rejection, and Competition My counselor told me I would not get into nursing school. She told me to take a gap year to figure out other careers or interests or apply to other schools I did not disagree with her when she advised me to apply to other programs, however as a first-generation student who is taking out loans to pursue my education, I felt defeated with her advice as I have been working tirelessly to pursue this career. I realized her advice was not based on my academic standing but rather on the competition that is prevalent among nursing programs. Nursing school entrance is competitive due to the unmatched demand for nurses and the shortage of faculty and clinical experience. My first rejection from my dream program really hurt my spirit, I realized that no matter what program I pursue my education at, all that matters, in the end, is that I earn my BSN Do not let this discourage you from applying to your dream program, but prioritize what is most important to you. Lack of Support and the Importance of Networking While there is competition among nursing students due to the exclusivity of programs, you can change the tone. If you take initiative to make connections and network with other students, then you will benefit immensely. Not only will you have friends to relate to but they can look over your application and aid you in the essay writing process. I always stress the benefits of LinkedIn and networking with other nursing students and alumni. They can share information on their experience and what they wished they would have done. There is so much you can learn from someone who was in a similar position as you at one point in their career. Conclusion The journey to nursing school was not easy. There were times I missed out on experiences and opportunities because I was dedicated to my end goal. At the time, it seemed like I missed out but I would not be in the position I am today without making sacrifices. In that process, I wish I had reached out for help and support from other pre-nursing students. I wish I had considered other pathways to pursue nursing or support from counselors or mentors in high school to inform me of the options to obtain a BSN. If you want to become a nurse, I hope you will consider my advice and reach out to others for support. With hard work and dedication, you will be accepted into a program!
A Guide to Choosing Your Major: For Those Who Thought They Were Set
Written By: Kayla Tran Kayla is a second year at the University of Washington studying public health. She later intends to double up and major in microbiology as well, to pursue her career goal of becoming an infectious disease epidemiologist! "My decision to get involved at Hey Mentor is largely motivated by my desire to give back to the program that has helped me get into college myself. Learning how to navigate the process of entering higher education has allowed me to be where I am today, which has opened up a world of possibilities. I want other students to benefit the same way I have by uplifting other students on their academic/career journey at Hey Mentor. This is a small thing I can do to reduce the inequities that play out our education system, and working with like-minded peers at this program gives me so much joy!" So you’ve enrolled in college--now what? For most of us, soon after we’ve decided on the school we want to attend, our next priority is to decide on what to study. Some of you have picked a major long before you even chose a school, and some of you are relying on the possibility that you’ll figure it out in time. There’s yet another group of people, however, who are certain about what they want to study, but only to be met with intimidation and the feeling that they are no longer good enough to follow their interests. I happen to belong to that group of people. During my first quarter of college, my performance in general chemistry fell far behind not only my peers, but also my expectations. With a STEM GPA lower than what was required for an application to the School of Public Health, I ironically felt unfit for the plans I specifically made for myself. Of course, this called for a half-identity crisis (remember--school does not define the entire you… just half of you if you allow it, and I allow it). So I asked all the questions: -Do I have to reconsider what I want to study? -Do I even want to study anything other than public health? -Should I give up on science classes? -Should I give up on science altogether? -Will I even be any good at anything else? -Isn’t it better to just drop out? -What now? I ultimately chose to persevere. Rather than continuing on with general chemistry, I took biology and earned a grade meeting the requirements to the Public Health major. That is not the main takeaway though! To navigate my uncertainties about choosing a major, it helped me to make a decision by prioritizing my interests. In this case, there would be tradeoffs. My poor chemistry grade revealed that if I want to follow my goal of pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health, I will be earning numerous more grades lower than what I would normally expect for myself. As long as I was still meeting minimum requirements, the positive side is that I would get to study what I enjoy. I might even argue that when you are able to learn what you like to learn, you are more likely to perform better too. My main message for you is that it is okay to suddenly question what you thought you wouldn’t. College is a huge mental transition that is socially and academically challenging. If your plans suddenly look harder than you imagined them to be, have no fear! Unapologetically have your half-identity crisis. Ask all the questions. Don’t lose sight of your interests--use them to decide whether you want to choose a different route. In any case, your decision will have been a product of reconsideration--of greater certainty than what you entered college with.
Setting Personal and Academic Goals
Written By: Jacqueline Nguyen Jackie is currently a freshman at the University of Washington with an intended major in nursing. She enjoys exploring new things by going on adventures and helping others through volunteer work. "Hey Mentor has given me opportunities and access to amazing connections, college readiness materials, and walked me through challenges as a first-generation college applicant. Through receiving assistance during those confusing times, I learned how much the mentors cared for my success and I ultimately wanted to do the same. By having mentees of my own I came to realize how much I learn from them as well." Introduction By setting up personal and academic goals it will allow you to visualize your purpose and will assist you to persevere and thrive. As you progress throughout life, you will be presented with numerous challenges and obstacles to undergo. You may ask yourself, "What do I want to achieve?", "How I will achieve this?", "How might I overcome this obstacle presented to me?", "Is this possible?", "What happens if I fail?", "what will I do next?". To be blunt, I ask these questions every day. I will share with you what has been working for me! Consider Using the Smart Goal System Try organizing and assessing your goals by using the SMART method: S-pecific or significance: Who, What, Where, When Why M-easurable: How do I know? A-ttainable: Do I have the ability? Have others done it before? R-ealistic: Is the goal reachable? T-ime or Trackable: Do I have a deadline? Throughout your college experience and your new-found independence, you will have to make many choices. Your objective will have to be well-defined and ambiguous so that you know exactly what you, yourself, desire. With a clear goal in mind, what criteria can help you measure your progress? There are many ways you can measure your progress such as writing in a journal, checking your grades, making a list and checking them off one by one. I know sometimes we possess different types of goals that exist, but ensuring that the goal is not impossible to accomplish can encourage you to stay focused and driven knowing it is something that can be met with hard work and dedication. After high school, you will feel as though life is moving fast, so make sure that you are managing your time wisely as well as clearly implementing a timeline to create a sense of urgency to complete those goals you may have. During this year, the majority of us had to alter our way of learning, fight and educate ourselves about our own country's societal and systemic oppression, all while encountering uncertainty as the coronavirus continuously spread. With all that, I fell into a spiral of questioning my purpose. My academic goal looks somewhat different now: a SMART goal of mine when first entering college was to finish college within 4-5 years with a degree in nursing at the University of Washington and eventually specialize in gynecology. I wanted to accomplish this goal because I wanted to improve women's healthcare. I could measure my progress by maintaining my grades and keeping a journal to record the journey every day. I must pass my classes and keep a balanced lifestyle so that I do not get overwhelmed. Although the college experience has come with challenges so far, I continue to look back at my goal to remind me to keep going. Do you have a current academic or personal goal? 1. Setting Up Long-Term Goals Setting up goals for the long run enables the general idea that structures all of the other decisions you might make. Select goals in broad categories such as education, family, physical, personality, volunteer work, finances, social, emotional, and more. 2. Setting Up Short-Term Goals Setting up short term goals can help you overcome challenges as they arise. Short term goals can also aid in long-term goals. This can be a daily plan, to-do-list, 1-2 year plan. This can include reading course materials, working out 1 hour a day, etc. 3. What Motivates Me Have you ever thought about what keeps you going? Did you know that motivation is essential to our development and goal perseverance, whether it makes intrinsic or extrinsic motivation? I was wondering, who keeps you driven? For me, my hardworking mother is a huge motivating factor for me to continue my education. By seeing her work so hard for me, I see how crucial the role of a mother plays within society. 4. What to Do Next If you find that your goal is too easy to accomplish, try something harder to challenge yourself. If it's too difficult to accomplish, try to alter short-term goals first then ultimately adjusting your long-term goal. Success can take many forms and there is not always a direct path to find them. Another way to think of this is there are different definitions of success. For me, I know that I want to become a nurse, and that is what I want to achieve. However, if I do not meet my goal, I did not fail, my goal just had changed. How do you define failure? How do you define success?
Tips on Goal Setting and Planning
Written By: Wendy Huang Wendy is currently a junior at the University of Washington-Seattle, majoring in Physiology and minoring in Nutritional Sciences. "I joined Hey Mentor because I want to help high school students navigate the complexity of college. As a first-generation college student, I personally felt overwhelmed in high school because I didn’t know what to expect for college. In the past couple of years, I’ve learned a lot and I want to be a helping hand for other incoming freshman." Goal setting can be a helpful tool to prevent you from getting overwhelmed, as well as making sure your hard work is being put to good use! College can be quite stressful balancing the multiple classes you have, extracurriculars, and possibly even work. In many instances, students often feel overwhelmed or burnt out because they haven’t found a proper way to balance all these components. Another case is that students find themselves putting in the work, but not getting the results that they want. Therefore, proper goal setting is essential for effectively getting the most out of your time and effort! Some guidelines for successful goal setting include coming up with goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Specific as in specific to a class, task, or chore; measurable as in you can track your progress or have real-time feedback; attainable as in setting small goals so you will feel less intimidated by it and make sure you can follow through; relevant is in making sure you are honest with yourself and making sure your goal can be achievable with what you have; time-bound as in giving yourself a deadline because the last thing you want to do is to keep pushing things for later. Following these rules in addition to writing them down on paper will make your goals feel more tangible. You are 30% more likely to do something if you write it down! Personally, throughout grade school and college, I've been using an agenda to write down my goals—even if I have electronic devices. However, if you like using electronic devices there are apps that you can download to document your goals. I write daily goals and put boxes next to them so that I can check them off when they are completed. I find it very helpful during the first week of the quarter to write down all the deadlines for classes in my agenda so I can get a sense of what is to come for the rest of the quarter. I also update my agenda every week with new goals and deadlines to make sure I don’t forget anything. Especially, during weeks leading up to a midterm or finals, it is important to plan ahead in terms of how you want to study so that you won’t feel stressed out and overwhelmed. As for career goals, I would first research what is required into getting into the graduate school/internship/job that you are striving to get. Then I would evaluate which one of the requirements you are able to do in the current situation you are in. In the end, breaking down the big goals into smaller goals is key.
Alternative (Non-Academic) Accomplishments in College
Written By: Katie Goldstein Katie graduated from Dartmouth College in 2020 double majoring in Computer Science and Hispanic Studies. "I joined Microsoft in Sept 2020 and wanted to give back to my (new) local community in Seattle. I also care deeply about equitable access to education (especially higher education). Hey Mentor was the perfect intersection of these two desires, and it’s been a lovely experience so far!" A college education is about so much more than academics. Here’s why: come graduation, when you walk across that stage, you’re not just celebrating your time spent learning something written in elegant Latin scroll on a piece of hefty cardstock. You’re celebrating you - the you that has been years in the making, the you that has been shaped not only by your independent academic exploration, but also by the people, experiences, and thoughts you’ve encountered during your time in school. If you do decide to optimize your college experience upon this idea that you are building yourself as a person as much as you are a scholar, I encourage you to ask yourself: What experiences will allow you to become that person, to accomplish the act of becoming who you’ve always dreamed you were? Will you remember that night you spent cramming in the library, or the night you went surprise sledding with your freshman roommates on dining hall trays? Will you remember an afternoon spent watching television in your dorm or that spent with a professor in a coffee shop, pouring over a research study? Academic exploration and personal growth are not mutually exclusive (and in fact, one may argue, deeply intertwined), but I ask you these questions in hopes that you realize that both are accomplishments in their own rights. So, while much of college is about the academic accomplishments you will achieve (thanks to the bevy of resources, enthusiasm, support, and knowledge around you), I personally encourage you to think deeply about these alternative accomplishments that also fundamentally affect your personal growth: the friendships you build with peers and professors, the fun, exciting, new experiences you have, and the shower thoughts about yourself, your future, the world, or that funky smell coming from the communal microwave down the hall. These alternative experiences are equal accomplishments to your academic pursuits as they also influence the person you are and who you will become. So, what kinds of experiences do you want to shape who you will be walking across that graduation stage?
Back to School: Dealing with Stress
Written By: Allison Biggs Allison Biggs is a junior at Brigham Young University in Utah studying Biochemistry with a minor in Spanish and Civic Engagement Leadership. "I love my family and friends, Jane Austen, Madam Secretary, and sunsets!" The beginning of every school year brings an incredible amount of stress. Whether it’s the stress of school and classes, family troubles, a global pandemic, undetained about a future path, and so much more... It’s easy to get bogged down under the weight of it all. Getting sleep, eating well, exercising, and meditating are so important to taking care of ourselves, but sometimes there is simply too much, and for a short period of time we may feel as if we are drowning. When for a period of time we cannot lighten our load, we may need other tactics to help us thrive and manage our stress. A couple things that really help me are my faith and family. They keep me grounded and remind me that there is more to life than school and a career. Relationships matter, the way we serve and care for those around us matters, and school doesn’t measure our success in those areas. Sometimes we may not be doing well in one area of our lives, but we may be deeply enriching a friend who needed ice cream and time to vent. We may be serving our parent who needs time to talk, or a sibling that needs help with an assignment. While I’m still learning how to balance my life well, I do know that enriching my relationships around me has seriously blessed me with greater capacity and confidence to deal with the rest of my life. Life also isn’t perfect, and it’s hard to see the good things sometimes, especially if we’re running from class to meeting to errand to homework to test. All. Day. Long. But on these days, especially when I’m irritated about all I have to do, I often feel impressed to take a second look around me. I see the beautiful mountains to my east and south, usually a gorgeous sunset. I’m reminded of how blessed I am to study at such an amazing university. I’m reminded that life is beautiful, even when it’s busy. And I’m filled with gratitude and a new reminder to, even in my haste and rush to accomplish all I need to do, to slow down, take a breath, and remember what’s most important. Life is so difficult sometimes. The stress and pressure to perform and do and achieve is so high. It can be so difficult to compare ourselves to classmates or friends and feel like we don’t measure up or that our life sucks. I’ve been there so many times. But, when we sacrifice some time to take care of our relationships and to reflect on the good things going on, I think we’ll have a new perspective on what matters most, that stress may dissipate, if just for a moment, and remind us why we’re doing what we’re doing in the first place. -Allison Biggs
Back to School: 5 Tips You Didn't Know You Needed for Remote Learning/Work
Written By: Brianna Zhou Brianna Zhou is a third-year student at the University of Washington. She is currently a biochemistry major looking to work in the field of medicine and research when she graduates. "I remember back in high school, I didn't know who to go to, or what resources I could use outside of school to navigate my way into college. Hey Mentor gave me the comfort and guidance when I needed it, so with my experience, I want to do the same for those who currently feel the same way as I did a few years ago." 1. Prepare Yourself like a Normal Day - or more! As if Covid hasn’t put a lot of our plans to an end already, we’re now looking at a much longer time in Online Work/Learning than expected back when it all started. That’s why it’s important that we take whatever we can still control in our hands and make the most of it, starting with our daily routines. Set your alarms early as if you need to reserve time in the morning to get to where you need to be. Put your alarm somewhere far enough that you need to get out of bed to reach and still be able to hear it. Change into an outfit you’re not embarrassed to wear in public, make yourself coffee, breakfast or whatever gives you energy, etc. - just anything you do as your normal morning ritual. This will help keep you in the mindset of work and stay on top of things you need to do during the day, so that you don’t feel tired in bed all day and get your body moving. 2. Turn off your phone Wi-Fi Ever since quarantine started, I found myself scrolling away my time even more thanks to all that’s going on in the world right now that’s all over my feed, and my newfound entertainment, Tiktok. But after many laggy Zoom calls and sharing the Wi-Fi with my housemates, I’ve found a great way to stay focused and connected - by turning off Wi-Fi on your phone. It’s a win-win situation really, since you’ll stop getting so many notifications or be able to access social media and games during your online class, AND you’ll have one less device taking up bandwidth. Say goodbye to distractions and unstable connections! 3. Invest in a Physical Planner/Notebook Technology is convenient nowadays, where you can pretty much download an app for anything. But with almost everything being online now, there is barely anything physical to experience. Writing stuff down on paper has also been proven to help retain more information! Just go to your usual office/school supply store, pick out a planner that suits your organizational style, and maybe some colored pens as an extra touch of coordinating! I usually pick one that’s got bigger space for daily/weekly planning and a simple design to keep it neat and straightforward. Try to set specific time blocks for when you can work the most and finish around the same time everyday. 4. It’s okay to take breaks! While we can’t stress enough about the seemingly-endless amounts of assignments we get, it’s important to balance that out with something relaxing or a sense of joy. Between each productive time block you set in your planner, also plan out the times you can take a break. You can follow the Pomodoro method where you strictly work for 25 minutes and take 5-minute breaks on repeat, or create a more individualized schedule that works for you, as long as there’s more time put in your work than your breaks. These activities include, but are not limited to: taking a walk around the neighborhood, eating a snack, or have a moment of checking up on your family and friends. 5. Connections Are at Our Fingertips We’re all going through different challenges, but one thing that’s among the most valuable we have more or less of, is time. It’s never too early to start reaching out to people you’ve been wanting to connect with, and our generation depends on it more than ever. Whether you’re in high school, college, or out in the workforce already, it’s important to make as many connections as you can. This can range from your social circle, teachers/professors, to professionals of your interested field. Remote work has made it harder for us to see people face-to-face, but there’s also online platforms like social media, LinkedIn, or even direct contact information. A small greeting and introduction can go a long way, and will open up future opportunities that might be waiting for you at the end of this remote work journey.
Back to School: Preparing for a New School Year!
Written By: Katayoun Daneshjoo Katayoun Daneshjoo is first-year student at the UW. She currently is in a pre-science track, with plans to major in Neuroscience. "I was born in Iran and moved to the U.S. when I was in sixth grade. Being the first in my family who wanted to pursue higher education, I didn’t have anyone I could talk to about the college admission process and college life. So, at the end of my junior year when most of my friends were talking and researching about the universities they wanted to apply to and writing their personal statement, I realized how unprepared I was for my senior year. That’s when a friend of mine introduced me to Hey Mentor. During my senior year, my mentor helped me gain a better understanding of the admission process and how to write an effective essay. Having a mentor had a big impact on my transition to college. So, I decided to become a mentor for HM to guide students with the similar background as mine to the path of success." Starting college can be exciting but terrifying at the same time. For many freshmen, the new level of academic freedom at college is something that they have been waiting for. However, if not managed well, the workload that piles up can become very overwhelming. The key to becoming successful, no matter if you’re a freshman or senior, is a good preparation for the school year. Here are some tips, that work for me personally, to start the new academic year in the best way possible: 1. First and foremost, recognize the importance of having some time to yourself: Although being able to study on your own is crucial in college, you don’t want to burn your brain out. Find some hobbies, extracurricular activities, or anything else that helps clear your mind and have some fun. Classes are very important, but your mental and physical health should always come first, especially during these difficult times. 2. Do research on available resources: Use your university/college’s website to find resources that are available to you as a student. This could be from advising to clubs and sports. Colleges offer numerous resources to students considering the size and diversity of their student body, but there’s not really a person that will tell you all about it. So, make sure you do some research before it’s too late. 3. Set up a meeting with your advisor: Make sure to meet with your advisor before the school year starts, or at the beginning, to plan an academic plan for the upcoming year. By doing so, you can make sure you are using your time properly and are on track with classes you are required to take. Advisors can also help you find resources and/or programs based on your interest. 4. Make a personal calendar/planner: This might not be something that works for everyone, but I personally find it to be very helpful. Creating a daily checklist for things I needed to do helped me remember things that were important. I highly recommend making an if not daily, weekly planner to help you keep track of things you need to do and stay organized. 5. Erase the phrase “I’ll do it later” from your mind for good. Period. 6. Lastly, start the year with an open mindset: Do not think about failing a class or not being able to do an assignment before it has actually started. Be optimistic. With an open mindset, you can achieve all of your goals. I know freshman year can be overwhelming and scary, but when it’s over you will turn back and laugh at things that scared you. These are just some points to help you have a great high school to college transition. This year can be challenging for many students, but remember we are all in it together. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions. Make the best out of this year.