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“When you feel like you’re stuck in the chaos of second grade, stop, breathe, and look around you.”

Last week I submitted my final graded work for the second year of my nursing degree. It will still be many weeks before I find the mark again, and in the meantime, I still have other work to do.

I have a simulated internship to complete, a report to write, conferences to follow and much other learning to do. However, the hardest part of the second year is well and truly done!

Every student nurse I know has heard of the “second year blues” – the stage in our degrees where we are no longer fresh and new as we were in first year or so close to qualifying and working as we will be in third. year.

“We survived the worst of sophomore year and beat the sophomore blues”

In the second year, we have the impression that the difficulty of the theory has increased, that we are asked to take on more responsibilities during internships and that mission deadlines continue to advance.

I really had the sophomore blues this spring. I felt the exhaustion of placement, assignments, trying to work and caring for a family. There was a time when I thought nursing wasn’t for me and that I wasn’t strong enough. The feeling of having to juggle multiple assignment deadlines while completing the internship became too overwhelming. I spoke to my peers, who felt the same way.

But I asked for help. I encouraged others to reach out as well.

And we succeeded.

We survived the worst of sophomore year and beat the sophomore blues. We are in the home stretch of our third and final year.

And that’s what I learned along the way.

First of all, be kind to yourself. I can sometimes be my own worst critic and constantly feel like I should be doing more or better. On the last block of placement I had to sit down, cry and drink a cup of tea, and remind myself that I was really doing my best and that would always be enough.

It’s good to struggle; many of us do. This degree and the profession we are going into will test and push us, and it’s okay to feel that way. Self-compassion can do wonders to make us feel a little more human.

Second, the support is still there. I was lucky to be supported by my personal tutor at university, the student liaison officer within the trust and the team around me on placement. Every university has a wellbeing team, and they are a fantastic resource to contact.

Whenever you feel like you need a little help, I invite you to reach out to someone. I was amazed at the support I received from those around me and the feeling of ease it gave me.

Finally, don’t forget to smell the roses. I can’t remember which family member told me to “always stop and smell the roses,” but it stuck with me. I don’t want you to walk to the park and start sniffing the roses, but if it helps, then go for it.

What I mean is, even if you feel like you’re thrown into the chaos of sophomore year, stop, breathe, and look around you. You are a second year nursing student. You started managing patients. You worked as part of a team. You have passed your first year and are working to pass the theory in your second. The “you” who applied for your nursing degree two years ago would be so proud!

So if you’re still battling the sophomore blues, keep fighting. You have this.

Jess Pidcock is a second year children’s nurse student at Sheffield Hallam University and student editor of Nursing Times 2023-24.