Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Mysterious Scrolls

First test in each class went well enough. I did very well in Pharmacology and Lab, but only made an 84 in Med-Surg. (Not acceptable. Everyone always says C=RN, but I for one won't stand for less than B's. Going to have to change my study strategy.)

Everyone came out of the classroom with their eyes bugged out. "It was so hard!" Instructor Sarcastic grinned mischievously at these comments. She told me she was proud of my score, seeing as it was such a "good test". Argh! I asked my classmates about their grades. More than a few failed, and everyone else was in the 80's or so.... except for one of my good friends. She made a 104!! I was shocked, but very proud of her. I had to know her secret... how had she gained the advantage?

She and her partner looked at me with grins. "Butcher paper", they said.


I came over to their house later that evening to study. My friend went to the back to retrieve a tube of paper which she unfurled before me. The entire surface was covered in tiny, hand-written class notes. Drugs were organized by category and lines connected important information in a kind of hierarchy. The thing must have been 24 square feet. I was impressed. I can't see the thing being a useful reference in the classroom, but the very act of copying and visually organizing the information presented in the books and slides created an interesting mental map of the subject.
I laughed and asked if they planned to build an entire library over the semester. "You should hand them down to other students when you graduate. Call them the Mysterious Scrolls of the Second Order" (By which I was referring to the second level of clinicals). Of course, I have now purchased my own expanse of white paper to write notes on. It'll be an experiment for the next exam's material; can scroll-writing and diagramming help a visual learner like myself? We'll see.

I'm going to be honest, I have more than one motive for wanting to improve my grades. Sure, I want to be good at what I do. But part of me also wants to prove myself to Instructor Sarcastic. Most instructors say things to upset you once in a while. But when Instructor Sarcastic says them, I can really tell she's trying to push me, not discourage me. I just... like her. I don't want her to think of me as average. Whether or not she likes me back isn't such a big deal. But I want her respect. I want her to have confidence in me. She's one of those people you just want to please.
If I can earn her respect, I know I'll be a good nurse. If I set my standards at her level, I can't go wrong. Have any of you had a teacher like that before?


I can completely understand where you are coming from regarding wanting to get good grades, even though an RN who got all Cs and an RN who got all As are still both RNs at the end of the day.

I am in the same situation in my program. As long as we get 77% in each class, we "pass" and go on to the next stage. And like the nursing board exam, our exam is a pass/fail, and your prospective employers never see your score, nor do they care I imagine.

But I want to get good grades for myself. It is a personal measure on how much I have learned and retained. At this point, starting my second career, I want to learn as much as I can so that I become a good tech, not just for good grades. However, the grades are a measure of my learning, so when i get a bad grade, i know that i didnt put in the time and effort I should have to really know the material.

Long story short, I know where you are coming from. Good luck with your new studying technique, hopefully it will turn out to be useful. I am a very visual learner myself, and am considering a similar technique for my studying.

Good luck on your future tests.


By Blogger Dustin, at Sunday, February 5, 2006 at 1:36:00 PM PST  

Here at Mason, if you make a C, you have "failed" the class. They boot you out of the program if your GPA falls below a 2.7. I recently got my grades back and discovered that I have all Bs and 1 A, so more DELICIOUS pain for me!

By Blogger C.T., at Monday, February 6, 2006 at 2:22:00 PM PST  

A "C" is really bad in my program to0... If you fall below a 2.8 you are on probation for a semester. If you don't bring it up, you are dropped from the program. I scraped a 3.1 last semester... A-cal is the DEVIL!

By Blogger TrueToddlerTales, at Monday, February 6, 2006 at 3:02:00 PM PST  

Well, we don't have to do anything but pass the courses. No GPA requirement.

But, if you fail two classes you are kicked out. Failing is less than 80%, so the threat is always immenent. (We lost like 20 people last semester, and will probably lose another 10 this one. After that retention stays steady.)

Also, you just can't go do grad nursing with C's. And I want to do critical care before that. So. It's all 86's and above for me, baby. Hopefully 92's and up. And most importantly, a brain full of knowledge.

By Blogger esunasoul, at Monday, February 6, 2006 at 3:55:00 PM PST  

Though you must keep the certian GPA to stay in the program, in the end your GPA doesn't matter. You don't get your degree if you don't pass quals/comps. Which sucks a lot. And you only get 3 tries.

By Blogger TrueToddlerTales, at Wednesday, February 8, 2006 at 7:23:00 AM PST  

Hey thanks for the scroll suggestion! It's making pathophys ever so much smoother :-) Not to mention I just roll out another slice for the kids and they're quiet and happy the whole time I'm studying. Excellent!

By Blogger JennaRN2008, at Thursday, February 16, 2006 at 8:12:00 PM PST  

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