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   Any new endeavor is often approached with both excitement and reticence. I felt this way as I began my course work last week. While I was thrilled to be starting the final leg of my academic journey, I was fearful and overwhelmed by all that life was throwing at me. Course work, family, professional life, Thanksgiving holidays—all coming at me to add a great deal of stress. As I completed discussion posts and began working on assignments, several thoughts occurred to me and questions arose. The first of these questions was how I could best manage my time to maintain a successful work life, school life, and personal life balance. One component of my time management plan was to approach my manager about changes to my work schedule that will optimize my hours worked in relationship to pay (working shifts that provide a shift differential) and allow me to work fewer hours overall. Another component of my time management plan was to plan specific days for structured schoolwork that I schedule away from my house where I would have many distractions from laundry to leisure reading to video games. By spending this structured time at a coffee shop or library, I will be able to get the most benefit from my time. A third component of my time management plan is to budget my time as I would my money by scheduling time for school, family, personal time, etc. In budgeting personal time, it is important to allot adequate time for sleep, exercise, and time with friends and family (Roque & Handing, n.d.). I am curious what strategies my fellow students find beneficial in budgeting and managing their time. One of the people I listed on our network assignment is my academic advisor. In the video “The Walden Journey to a Masters in Nursing: Strategies and Resources for Success,” the use of our academic advisors is emphasized as a valuable resource (Laureate Education, 2018). While I know from my online courses at the school where I completed my BSN that your academic advisor can be helpful in navigating your program and overcoming obstacles, I am unsure of what the interaction with an academic advisor looks like here at Walden. I am sure some of my fellow students completed their bachelors degrees through Walden and would already have experience working with a Walden academic advisor. I would love to hear about your experiences with an advisor and suggestions on how to gain the most benefit from this resource. There is one final concern that I am evaluating following my first week as a student at Walden. As I was exposed to many of the resources available to me here at Walden, I was given the opportunity to become a part of the Facebook group. I joined anticipating great benefit as I remember the Facebook group I participated in during nursing school was especially beneficial. One study of university sponsored Facebook groups demonstrated benefits including the sharing of research, volunteer opportunities and academic requirements (Malouff & Johnson, 2015). Despite my initial positive feelings about the Facebook group, I began to be overwhelmed and panicked as I would read posts. “Did I miss something?” became a repeated thought as I read post and comments alike. I am usually a student who is confident in my abilities to read the syllabus and assignment instructions and rubrics and then complete the tasks, but as I read the questions posed and the replies, I found that I was doubting this ability. I was overthinking every assignment and going back again and again to the course material to make sure I hadn’t missed something or done something incorrectly. As a result of this, I have contemplated changing the settings on the group so that I am not following all of the posts and they are not just randomly populating my Facebook feed and adding stress to my life. Has anyone else experienced this? In addition, I am concerned that people are utilizing the Facebook page to query peers instead of actually using Blackboard and reading the course material. This will inevitably lead to failure because the way to be successful in any course is to meet the requirements laid out in the syllabus and assignment rubrics. Does anyone have any suggestions for how this should be approached? In addition, do you think the potential benefits of the group outweigh the potential for stress and misinformation? This new endeavor will certainly have its challenges, but I am already starting to feel more comfortable with the path that lies ahead. Already, one of the people I listed on my networking template has offered the availability of using her organization for a clinical site. In addition, I have received excellent advice from two of the people listed in terms of how to approach my assignments and keeping from feeling overwhelmed. The path ahead will be full of challenges, but the end reward will be worth them all.

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