Nursing is a challenging major. Takiyah Muhammad knows that all too well. As a nursing student at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, her schedule is quite demanding. But, even with the overload of exams, internships and practical application, Takiyah loves what she does.

“I chose to pursue nursing due to my love for helping people when they are at their lowest,” the 22-year-old said. “I love learning about the human body, and I love that patient interaction and bond that I can gain with each one of my patients.”

One of the challenges of being in nursing school is realizing that your schedule can drastically change each semester. For Takiyah, since she’s in an accelerated program, her semesters are divided into two 10-week segments. 

“A typical week may look like this: Mondays I have class from 8-5p.m. Tuesdays I have my Acute Clinicals from 6:30a.m-3:30 p.m at various hospitals in my city. Wednesdays I have Skills Lab from 1-5p.m. Thursdays I have my Community Health Clinical at various locations and times. Fridays are my exam days and off days. So, I am constantly moving and on the go,” she said.

This is why Takiyah carries her planner wherever she goes. It keeps her from sinking into her workload.

“I honestly would not survive school without my planner,” Takiyah said. “My planner is literally my life! I put my meetings, assignments, appointments, and even my class schedule in my planner just to make sure I do not forget anything. I also love making to-do lists on sticky notes to cross off when I have completed an assignment.”

Through her busy schedule, Takiyah has figured out the best and most effective way to study.

“I start by taking detailed notes during class,” she said. “I highlight what the teacher emphasizes or repeats. Then, I go and read over their powerpoints and my notes out loud. Next, I write out key points to know about the specific disease or procedure. I erase it, and try to rewrite the information from memory. I also make it a habit to study something every day to better help the material stick in my mind.”

For greater success while in college, Takiyah suggests students do the following things:

1. Make it a point to attend every class. If you make a habit of skipping class, you also make a habit of skipping information that you need. 

2. If you can make your schedule, try not to pick 8 am classes. They are quite hard to make if you’re not used to waking up very early. Don’t make things harder for yourself than you need to. 

3. Choose your friends and study partners wisely. Even if they’re just acquaintances, people you spend your time with can either lift you up or bring you down. 

4. Study a little bit every day, and try not to cram for the test the night before. The more you study of a longer period of time, the better the information will stick. 

5. Gather all of your due dates for exams and assignments and write them in your planner. This will ensure that you will not miss any assignments that are scheduled during the semester.  

For more college and studying content from Takiyah, you can follow her on Instagram at @lifewithkia.


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