Let’s discuss the best ways to not feel overwhelmed in Respiratory Therapy School.

One most the most common complaints I hear from students is the feeling of being overwhelmed. And for good reason.

Respiratory therapy school can definitely be very stressful. Trying to balance multiple tests each week with twelve hour clinical days, while finding time to finish your projects and homework in between is tough. How are your supposed to not feel a little crazy?

I mean, we here at Respiratory Therapy Zone do our best to help you finish your busy work egan’s workbook and also prepare for your exams, but there’s still so much more that is expected of you. It’s taxing. Well, hopefully, this article will ease your mind a bit, because I am going to explain exactly how not to feel as overwhelmed in respiratory therapy school.

So how do you get everything done while also keeping your sanity?

Give yourself a break

You deserve it, after all. It’s okay to take a night off without feeling guilty about it. Chill out and go do something fun. Maybe you need to catch up on the new season of ‘Game of Thrones’ or you want to go out to dinner with your friends; go for it! Tap a nap. Go the gym.

If you force yourself to study when your brain isn’t rested, you’re not going to retain any of the information anyway, so it’s better to just go ahead a take that break you so desperately need.

Even if you aren’t tired, it’s still important to take a mini vacation away from the books every now and then.

Plan out your schedule

This is a must.

Even if this requires purchasing a physical planner, or If you are like me you can use Google Calendar to stay organized. Find whatever works for you. You just need a way to keep all of your due dates organized so that you can stay on top of them. Make sure to record each of your assignment’s due dates down on your calendar. You can even list the dates for your classes and clinicals as well. List every exam date, project, and even homework. The more organized you are, the better.

Using a daily planner can help you stay organized with your classes and clinical rotations.

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Just by having everything written (or typed) out will give your brain a road map of what’s to come. This will surely ease your anxiety so you can physically see what you have to do and start to build a plan to complete each task. Have you ever heard the phrase, “How do you eat an elephant?” You eat it one bite at a time.

Assign priority to how you study for each test on your calendar. Usually, the highest priority will be the test that is coming up first, but sometimes you will need to assign a higher priority to a more difficult subject. Just follow along with your planner and make sure you have an adequate amount of time to learn the necessary concepts for the exam.

Study while you’re not studying

This is one the best productivity tips there is. It is natural to feel that, in order to study, you need to set aside a huge chunk of time out of your day (i.e. multiple hours). While this may sometimes be necessary, it’s not always the case. You can study in small intervals, anytime and anywhere.

For instance, say you decide to take the break I recommended earlier and you go to the gym for a workout. You can flip through flash cards or read your notes in between sets. You can even upload your lectures to your iTunes and listen to them while you exercise.

Driving to and from school, or just riding around the neighborhood? You can listen to the lectures in your car. Even during breakfast or lunch you can read your notes or find helpful YouTube videos to watch on the subject you are studying for. Just find something to do that is related to respiratory therapy school.

Change up your routine

Humans are creatures of habits. It is natural for us to form patterns for everything that we do, including studying. This can be good or bad.

If you are not getting the results you want, it’s time to change it up. Make a note of how you typically prepare for an exam. Do you study alone or in a group? Do you make flash cards, read powerpoints, or dive straight into your textbook?

Figure out what you are doing, and if it isn’t working, then it is time to change it up. I found that I make much higher scores on my tests when I studied alone as opposed to in a group with other people. I could focus and retain the information better that way. Maybe you are like me, or maybe you learn better by working with others.

Just figure out what is working and what’s not, and make the necessary changes.

Use your clinical time wisely

I can’t stress this enough.

I can recall when I was a student in clinicals. At first, I just wanted to do whatever I could to get through the day and make the time go by as quickly as possible. I would play games on my phone, check social media, and even read books.

This is an awful strategy.

You’re tired at clinicals, I get that, but this is some of the most valuable time that you have. It is an opportunity for you to see the information you are learning about in class first hand. This is exactly how I was able to understand the material better for my exams.

For instance, sitting through Mechanical Ventilation lectures in the classroom was like a foreign language. But when I actually worked with a ventilator (in real life) at my clinical site, everything changed. I could touch it so I could understand it.

This goes for every subject you cover in class. Use your time in clinicals to watch and learn. Make the most of it. Once I actually started doing this and got off of Twitter, that’s when I started to make the best grades.

At the very least, use your downtime to study your notes, however, I still recommend learning first-hand knowledge from you preceptors while you are there.

Final Thoughts

Time management. That is the key to not feeling overwhelmed in respiratory therapy school. You have to learn to manage your time effectively. Remember to stay organized. Plan ahead to study for your upcoming exams. And when you need it, for Pete’s sake, take a break!

Now you know how not to feel overwhelmed in respiratory therapy school. Do you have any time management tips you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments.