Sometimes, it’s healthy to be selfish.
To be successful in nursing school is to dedicate much of your time & energy to studying. It’s like a full time job. It was easily one of the most challenging times in my life. Having a great support system & being able to lean on some of the most important relationships in your life is important in helping you maintain your sanity & help you be successful. However, maintaining these relationships can also be difficult.
Being a nursing student can feel isolating at times. Missing out on gatherings, parties or events because a test is coming up is hard. Not wanting to say no, but knowing you can’t afford to slack off can wear down on you as you miss those interactions with the important people in your life. On the other end, people who have never gone through nursing school may have a very difficult time understanding why you never seem to have free time.
This was certainly something I struggled with. Not only was I a single mom to a baby, but I was also working & had recently begun a new romantic relationship. I attempted to explain that it wasn’t personal, but that I had to prioritize what was most important at that time. Passing school, supporting my son & making sure I was taking care of myself HAD to come first if I was going to survive that time & emerge victorious. I made time for loved ones where I could, but it was hurtful & frustrating that some of the people around me just couldn’t understand that I was making a sacrifice now that would benefit me & my child later. Instead, they made it about themselves.Many nursing students experience similar situations with family, friends & partners.
The bonds you make with your classmates during school can be very therapeutic as they also can relate to what you’re feeling or going through. To help maintain your relationships outside of nursing school, keep open communication & manage your time well so that you can plan study time & carve out leisure time for loved ones. While it may not be as often as you like, an hour or two for dinner, game night, a trip to the park or dates here & there are all examples of a little time you can dedicate to letting the people in your life know they are still important to you. If people around you are not satisfied with the time they get from you, it can certainly put a strain on the relationship & create added stress for you in an already stressful time.
One thing that I told myself often, when people tried to make me feel guilty for prioritizing myself & my son is that sometimes, it’s healthy to be selfish. Sometimes decisions we make for ourselves, to better ourselves, require a level of sacrifice we, or the people around us, may not be prepared for. Maintaining our relationships are important, but should not have to come at the expense of your success or happiness. If you have explained why you’re so busy, the people around you should be supportive & understanding. Especially in adulthood. People have other priorities & some of us can’t hang out every weekend or see the same friend every week. We get busy & life comes at you fast! If people can’t understand this & they want to guilt trip you, that’s probably a relationship you don’t need.
Let go of people who expect you to put yourself last & cherish the people who are supportive of you prioritizing yourself.