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A day in the life: a nursing school day

Last time I did a day-in-the-life post, nursing school hadn’t started.

My days have changed a LOT since then, so here’s a peek at a day in nursing school.

cat looking out the window.


I woke up, laid motionless in bed in the dark for a while, then checked my phone (I know, I know….the routine of champions.)


I got up, threw some clothes on, did a bare minimum hair/makeup thing, and ate a bowl of shredded wheat.


I walked to school, carrying nothing except my little school-required calculator.


There is a nursing school rule that says if your phone goes off during a test, you will immediately be demoted to a 75 as your best possible grade.

This has terrified me so much, I do not even bring my phone with me to school on exam days.

On this day, I left it at home, under my pillow.

Why under the pillow? Well, my earbuds were plugged into my phone, and I figured it would be safer to hide the whole mess under a pillow because of the cat criminal who lives here. 😉


I arrived at school and chatted with classmates until our exam room opened at 8:00.

We take our exams in a big room with individual computers for each of us. We get a pencil and a scratch piece of paper, and nothing else.

We even have to leave the lids of our calculators at the front of the room.

I’ve heard that there were some cheating issues with another semester recently, so that explains why things are verrrrry locked down in the nursing program these days.


Test over! Time to walk back home.


At home, I:

  • showered
  • got dressed and did my hair/makeup (which, as I always say, is not a big ordeal because I am lazy in the beauty department)
  • made my bed
  • started a load of laundry
  • wrote this post up to here 😉

And except for during the showering/writing part of that bulleted list, I listened to a chapter on hypertension in my earbuds.

The amount of reading that’s assigned to us is wild (this particular week, it was 22 chapters), so I listen to the book’s computer voice read the chapters, at 2x speed, whenever I am walking, driving, cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, and so on.


coffee pot.


  • made coffee
  • listened to part of a chapter on diabetes management
  • filled out a med card for humalog insulin
  • texted with a friend from my support group who is having frustrating troubles with her ex-husband
  • texted with a friend who was about to take the math test (we’d studied together a few days prior, and I quizzed her on a few things/encouraged her)



  • posted the day’s blog post on my Facebook page, my Facebook group, and sent it out to my email subscribers
  • switched my laundry to the dryer
  • made a salad for myself, using lettuce, ham, dill Havarti cheese, and a cucumber (while listening to more nursing chapters)

green salad.

  • ate the salad with Chiquita

Kristen eating a salad.

  • texted with Sonia (our conversations largely consist of sending each other pictures of our cats)
fluffy orange cat.

Sonia’s fluffer

  • got ready to head back to school



  • walked halfway to school and realized I had never put deodorant on after my shower
  • quickly walked back to my house and rectified the deodorant situation
  • had to change plans and drive to school because now I was short on time
  • found a parking spot so far back, I might as well have just walked to class after all


We had a lecture on chronic diseases (like diabetes, hypertension, COPD, and heart failure).

notebook with lecture notes.



Break time! I spent it socializing with my classmates.

Annnnnd we got our math test scores at this point in the day.

20/20 math test grade.


Next up, we had a two-hour lecture on perioperative nursing, which is nursing done before, during, and after surgery.


School was out for the day!

Kristen in her van.

You might remember this shirt from my ThredUp goody box (but haha, the photo in that post is from when we wore lower-waisted jeans!)

As I was walking out to the parking lot, I saw a classmate who was repeating semester 1 because she hadn’t passed the math test last semester. She has faced some hard challenges this semester (like one of her parents dying unexpectedly), but she told me she’d passed!

I screamed a happy scream with her and gave her a big hug and my goodness, I almost cried because I was so happy for her.


I picked up some paperwork at home and drove to go drop it off at an office.

leafy sidewalk.

the office sidewalk was pretty crunchy

Did I listen to nursing textbook chapters as I drove?

(Yes. Yes, I did.)

On my way back, I popped in at Safeway because I needed some tomatoes for a salad.

And that’s when I picked up the free pound of butter I mentioned in a previous post.

Kristen with a pound of butter.

butter = a very good freebie


I made chipotle chicken and grilled it. I also made the sauce, and a green salad, and we ate the chicken on the salad, with the sauce as a dressing.

chicken salad.

I got some croissants out of the freezer and toasted those for us to eat on the side.

Since I’d been gone most of the day, I chatted with Zoe over dinner and got caught up on her day.

By 8:00, dinner was cleaned up and I sat down to catch up on writing down my day.


I worked on finishing up my blog post for the next day and I scheduled it to publish the next morning.


I was pretty tired by this point, so I didn’t have much energy for anything brain-related.

I did text with Sonia to figure out a time for her to come over for FAFSA help.

Then Lisey called on her way home from work and while we chatted, I folded my laundry and got ready for bed.

piles of folded laundry on bed.


I did my Duolingo lesson, applied my dry-eye mask (you can read more about the eye mask/my eye issue here), and went to sleep.

You know that Calvin and Hobbes book titled, “The Days are Just Packed”?

That’s how I feel most of the time lately!

Except my packed days do not involve hanging out in a tree. 😉

By the way, nursing school days vary tremendously, so it’s hard to share one that is emblematic of this period of my life. This particular day had an exam (we don’t have those every day!), and several lectures.

But there are also days when I don’t spend much time at the school building, and more of my time is spent doing homework and studying.

And soon, some of my school days will be clinical days.

Sooooo, when I do another nursing school day-in-the-life, it probably will be nothing like this one. 😉

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Friday 10th of November 2023

Oh Kristen, reading about the phone and testing scenario made me shiver. On the very first day of school (as an older returning mom student), my psych professor announced that if our phones made a noise, we would be ejected from the lesson and EVERYONE in the classroom would get an immediate 50-point deduction from our grade. I was terrified and started turning volume off, silencing notifications and then turning the whole thing off. I was so afraid that the phone would somehow turn itself back on! I don't blame you at all for just leaving it at home. Yikes.

Katy @ The Non-Consumer Advocate

Wednesday 8th of November 2023

How amazing to be able to walk to school, almost like living on campus! My college had an enormous campus, so I mostly rode my bike to get to classes when I was in nursing school.

And that chicken dish looked goooood!

Fru-gal Lisa

Wednesday 8th of November 2023

You have such an interesting life! Congrats on another perfect test score!


Wednesday 8th of November 2023

Thank you!


Wednesday 8th of November 2023

Most of my communication with adult children is cat texts! When nothing special is going on, at least a cat picture is a way of keeping in touch.


Wednesday 8th of November 2023

Yep. Heck, I even send pictures of Chiquita to Zoe, and Zoe lives with me. ;)

Elaine N

Wednesday 8th of November 2023

My only nursing school experience was through my lifelong friend (since we were 10 years old) who went to a three year residential program at a Virginia hospital in the 1970's and earned her RN. She LOVED being a cardiac rehab nurse for many years and her patients still love her. Anyway, my picture of nursing school is summed up in a letter she sent me during her second year: handwritten in blue ink on toilet paper, it basically said "We have to make use of every available minute because nursing school eats up your life. Gotta flush, love you, bye! Kristen, I'm glad technology has progressed to the point that you don't have to communicate with your friends and family on toilet paper!

Fru-gal Lisa

Wednesday 8th of November 2023


I know they are putting you through your paces. But you're meeting every challenge with flying colors.

BTW, pls. tell your profs that I love the school's cell phone testing policy -- that if you have your cell phone in class, the highest you can score is 75%. As a teacher (OK, former FT teacher and current substitute), I wish all schools did that! Kids are so addicted to cell phones, it's not funny.


Wednesday 8th of November 2023

Man, it does feel like that! You work so, so hard to just barely get it all done, with little time for anything else but the essentials.

Good thing nursing school doesn't last forever!

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