Week One: Induction & Welcome

Week one of 135, let’s do this!

It’s almost 9 months since I applied to study Adult Nursing. Time has flown and suddenly I’m registering for my course, providing evidence of my DBS check and collecting my student ID card. In return I get a planner (useful) and a notebook complete with campus maps (extraordinarily useful). It’s a beautifully sunny Saturday on a relaxed and friendly campus in an historic city. It’s also the start of the next three years – or 135 weeks – of study, practice and placements. I have no doubt some of this will be difficult but I’m equally certain it will be enormously rewarding.

Induction week begins with a welcoming speech from a very senior academic. He’s enthusiastic, refreshingly geeky about health science, and especially encouraging of student nurses. He acknowledges we’ve chosen a tough course and emphasises it’s hugely worthwhile because we’ll make a tangible difference, from our first placement through to graduation and everything beyond.

At Tuesday’s session I recognise a couple faces from summer school. There are perhaps 100 of us in the lecture theatre so it’s impossible to do anything more than wave. I get a couple of minutes to ask a little about my neighbours but there’s a lot to take onboard and none of us wants to miss key points. Social chit-chat becomes a second order priority for the moment.

Social media, however, is something else. My phone ping, ping, pings from pre-7am until lectures start, during breaks, and again as soon as teaching finishes until late in the evening. Every time I pick it up there’s a tsunami of multifaceted and miscellaneous Messenger soundbites. Enthusiasm, excitement, hopes, concerns, bewilderment, anxiety, and oh so many questions! It is constant, it is chaotic, and in a bizarre way it’s connecting us as a group. People are already helping each other, sharing information and offering support.

The week progresses well and I start to get to grips with the timetable. I’ve always been okay with scheduling but unlike other courses we have three timetables to juggle. Thankfully there’s a pattern, it just takes a while to join the dots. Keeping an eye on room changes is also essential but there are no issues to report. We’re a large cohort, too large for meaningful seminars or group-work, so sub-groupings will be announced soon. Watch this space.

By Thursday we’ve already encountered a lot of new technology and faster than the speed of sound it starts to fuel the pinging Messenger melee. Most messages are something to do with IT. Confession time… I’m an ex-technologist, I generally get technology, but the software equivalent of a pointillist painting viewed at three paces simply makes no sense to me or any of my peers. The picture isn’t clear. Software/app design folks please take note: suggesting we download an app that varies significantly from its web counterpart e.g. chunks of core functionality are missing or don’t work properly creates two things. Frustration and confusion.

By Friday I’m able to put a few names to faces in my cohort and have met some good academics who are obviously enthusiastic about us, about their specialist subjects and how much we’ll learn. I know what my modules are, when and where they take place and have refreshed my memory about Harvard referencing. I’ve met my personal academic tutor, module leaders and representatives from all of the support services. Everyone exuded positivity.

Highlight of the week: Bumping into and getting the biggest hug imaginable from the third year student nurse who was part of my selection day, just as she was about to sit her final exam! Keeping everything crossed for you lovely lady.

Learning point of the week: Try not to overthink things. Most of the niggles and worries I’d created in my mind we’re unnecessary and unfounded.

Hopes for next week: Getting stuck in to the modules.

Final thought…

There’s no next time. It’s now or never.

Celestine Chua