Introduction

Hey, my name is Jason Sanchez. This is my first year at NOVA and I’m pursuing an electrical engineering degree. I’m interested in helping other students realize their potential with school-related research projects through the STEM Club at the Manassas Campus. I’ll be your guide to reporting on STEM and Nanotechnology events at NOVA. Let’s make our dreams into workable ideas!

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Adjusting to GMU Online from NOVA In Class

As most of you know I graduated from NOVA May 2014, simultaneously this ended my learning experience in the physical classroom. A huge part of my transference into Mason was adjusting to completely online classes which in essence is not hard; however, it requires much self discipline and planning. For people like me who have never truly taken a whole semester of purely online courses it was a huge change.

Think back to SDV 101/100, remember the lessons of your personal learning style, making a schedule, time-management. All of that is now going to be put into application. I love calendars and folders, so I created a folder for each class on my laptop and I wrote down each of my assignments, tests, due dates etc. on my 3 calendars (yes, I’m one of those people). I have 1 on my computer, 1 on paper that I keep on my desk at home and 1 dry-erase board calendar on my fridge that I constantly update with work schedules, appointments and events. So far it’s been working, I’m halfway through the first semester and I’ve never been late on an assignment.

Believe it or not, with all this new scheduling I still have time for my knitting and crocheting, playing with my kitties, the chores get done and I’m getting enough sleep.

Take your readings one day at a time. I try to focus on one subject a day so that I don’t fry my brain. Life happens though and this plan is far from perfect, I still procrastinate from time to time and pull off all-nighters as the price. If you like breaking down time daily, I like using the rule of 8′s: there’s 24 hours in a day, 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work, 8 hours for me. You’ll find your own system that works for you when you go through your transfer whether it’s to a university or changing to extended distance learning. Good luck!

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Transition from Student Nurse to Registered Nurse

Happy September NOVA students and staff!

We’re already 4 weeks into the first 8 weeks of the semester, congratulations to your success thus far. Pardon my absence over the past few months, currently I’m transitioning into the working world as well as continuing my education through NOVA’s GAA policy with George Mason for my Bachelor’s in Nursing. For those who wanted to follow a similar path I wanted to share my experiences for a few reasons:

1. Believe it or not, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you will reach it.

2. You can do it.

3. It’s not easy but a little hard work goes a long way.

4. Keep at it.

NOVA’s Traditional Nursing program is not for everyone. It’s a rigorous, exhausting 2 years of study and application and has been described as harder than any 4 year university degree. I got my acceptance letter in 2012 and I could not wait to get started. By the time I finished my first test I was shocked how much studying I really had to do. 2 weeks worth of up-to-your-eyeballs in reading materials, online case studies, lab practicums and let’s not forget the 12 hour shifts of clinical application on actual patients. But wait, there’s more, passing grades were considered 78 as a C, and anything below that was considered failure since students needed a 78 average in each class to pass. Then mix that all together with group projects, practice tests for your practice boards tests, research, job fairs and other assignments and voila! A Nursing degree from NOVA.

Transfer to George Mason. Easier said than done as is with any transition. George Mason offers 3 different RN programs, the one that I chose was RN to BSN, requirements are simple, have an active Registered Nurse License and the required pre-pre-requisite courses. After about 1 month of freedom, you now have to buckle down and study again for the biggest test of your life because this determines whether or not the state of Virginia as well as 24 other states deems you safe enough to practice nursing. All those 2 years of fundamental, basic knowledge had to be critically analyzed and asked in the form of application questions. Not to worry too much, Aunt Marlene Hurst helped some of us prepare for the test through Hurst review or Kaplan review for those who chose that option. So after the biggest test of your life, you wait 2 days and check the Virginia Board of Nursing website for your social security number and see status of your license as either active or not.

Now you get to sign up for George Mason classes! Woohoo! The great thing about RN to BSN at Mason is that it’s easier to get slots for classes because there are fewer enrolled in that specific program. What’s even better is that now all the commuting is over and you get to enjoy doing assignments from the comfort of your own home in your pajamas if you wish. I decided that I was going to work part time as a Flu and wellness screening nurse while I went to school full time because many hospitals would not hire me due to the fact that I did not have any previous experience and that I was only an ADN. More good news though, RN to BSN program is only 2 semesters so you can earn your BSN in 3 years (ADN + 1 year).

It’s a lot to juggle but it will be worth it. You’ll feel proud of yourself and all those late nights at the Johnson Center will just be a funny memory. Stay strong and it helps to pick up a healthy crafting habit or two. Lean on your nursing friends and love your family. Good luck this semester!

 

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Summer!

Summer has the innuendo of taking a break from life and having fun. As children, we were so excited to hear that last school bell ring for the year so we can rush home and play video games, stay up late and go to the pool all day long. The fun of just laughing about no homework to be done, no tests to study for and no curfew for bedtime made life that much more exciting.

For some of us that still hasn’t changed (lucky!); the rest have to grow up and get jobs and evolve into working adults. I spent the first half of my summer studying for my Nursing boards exam and luckily it paid off because I passed and am now a Registered Nurse in the state of Virginia as well as 24 other states. Essentially, this may very well be the last summer I get to have as a college student so I want to make every day count.

I have a bucket list, one of the more timeless goals is to watch a drive-in movie with my husband. Yes they do exist and they are absolutely wonderful. Make the most of your summer because you’re not getting any younger!

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We’re Not Cavemen! We Have Technology!

img-1622127-1-RbfzfIndeed Patrick, we do have technology and it’s marvelous. Recently I had an upgrade from a dinosaur QWERTY slide phone to a Verizon HTC One. Huzzah! Who knew there was an app for just about anything; I can now do my blogging on the go with “WordPress” app, get an update on all my emails and social media, keep track of funds and organize my life just how I want it. Whilst perusing the seemingly infinite world of apps I came upon a couple that would be great for students.

The NOVA App: keep in touch with all of the events on your campus! Blackboard app, although I’ve heard good and bad things about it, I’d rather skip the middle man of opening up my internet browser and just get right to the site. I have my NCLEX exam coming up in just a couple of short weeks so I purchased the NCLEX Mastery app to help me with my core content and practice questions. Just for kicks I also downloaded Pinterest app for all of my creativity things like knitting, crocheting and more recently I’ve added bracelet making to the list.

Alas, the one thing that I have not evolved from was my neanderthal tendency to break things. July 5th was the day I broke my first smart phone.

 

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