How to Learn Anything: (Even When You Think You Can’t)

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Have you ever sat beside someone in class and became transfixed at how smart they “appeared”? Ever wonder what they were doing differently from you?

Recently, I was talking to a follower of The CRNA Chase who was relaying to me they were worried about the didactic portion of CRNA school. I let him know this was definitely a valid concern but not one that couldn’t be addressed and overcome. I explained I also struggled in CRNA school until I created my own study system which I describe in this 4 part series. And not just a way to study but it was a successful no fail way to learn anything.

This series covers not only the system I created but also several other critical things I discovered about the learning process and myself during my CRNA journey. Looking back on that time, it has definitely shaped me into the unlimited thinker I am today. This topic is important because it could be the determining factor in you graduating with your nurse anesthesia degree in your hand.

My time as a student

As a CRNA student, I often sat in the back of the class amazed my peers were quick to answer every question and then brag about how they got an A on the exam. I often retreated to the back of the class hoping the professor wouldn’t call on me or acknowledge me. But anyway that is for another day. I also dealt with adversities within my CRNA program. Overall, I really just wanted to know how people mastered the material while others like myself seemed to struggle or were just “average” Joes.

So it was from my need to figure this out which propelled me to find a way to make sense of it. I was stressed out and seeing a counselor because I was not doing well at all in CRNA school in the first few months. I eventually was given a leave of absence. And during this time, I decided I had to put in the work on myself first.

Address your issues

First, I began by defining my core principles to be successful in my CRNA program which I would turn to starting right then and continue to live by till this day. Core principles are defined as the unwavering guiding principles that determine your decisions, actions, and help you pursue change. The great thing about defining your core principles is it forces you to address your limiting beliefs simultaneously.

Now with my core principles defined, I would further research why I wasn’t getting the grades I should have after studying day in and out. Of course I thought my problem had to be I was not smart enough, right? But after my research, I realized not only was I just as smart as everyone else but my own limiting beliefs and methods for learning the material were all screwed up.

I also realized, in spite of multiple degrees prior to becoming a CRNA, I never really had to study much. I could just read something the day before the test and pass it. But not in nurse anesthesia, you need to really have a solid understanding of the concepts and the coursework is rigorous even from day one. Basically, I had no clue how to learn or study. And what you don’t want is to get all the way to CRNA school and have to figure it out.

Up next

Before we get into what study system I created, we must first look at my defining core principles. I believe establishing your core principles are critical not only in your nursing career but in your life. So,  what core principles do you live by? In the next post I can’t wait to break down the core principles I defined which are still in the forefront of my life today.

P.S. Check back for Part two of this series on defining your core principles and much more. Also the membership site + community forum is in the works. Get on the waiting list right now to be the first to know when we launch AND receive a special launch discount!

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