well I looked at the calendar and discovered that my finals fall the last night of pesach!
p.s. spoke with nursing school and their response was how many clinicals are you going to miss? To which I responded from what I can tell on the calendar, I am only missing one clinical. They responded, lecture finals can be taken at another time just be open with the professor.
May I suggest that you prepare a written outline of when the yomim tovim occur and you will not be in school. Even better, I think, is if you have a calendar from a Jewish organization (synagogue or Federation) which shows all the relevant dates on our calendar. Then, sit down with you student academic advisor and go over it together. Explain about yom tov and Shabbat not being an option - you are absolutely prohibited from work and therefore from school, as well. Explain the days that are 'optional', but when school/clinicals will be especially hard (fast days). Make it clear that if required to, you will come in and do what's needed; but that fasting may effect your performance. (I had a Chief Flight Nurse who is a Muslim and fasted daytimes all of Ramadan, so I couldn't feel too sorry for myself!)
Explain everything up front and ahead of time. Make sure that your academic advisor knows, as well as any affected instructors. You will have to remind them again shortly before each holyday, because they will forget. You will have to assure them that you will make up any work, etc. Many schools have a rule about automatic failing for missing X number of clinicals, but they may adjust that for you if it is a matter of a day or two and the reason is solidly religious. After all your explaining, they may not get it or forget.
I was in Israel for Pesah during school and got an email from an instructor, 'where are you?'. I reminded her that I had notified them that I would miss the whole week of Pesah, plus travel time. She emailed back, 'Oh, I didn't understand that.' In the end they were afraid to make a fuss over religious issues, so it passed over. Even though I had brought it up way in advance; they started to give me trouble over it. Just be ready for such things, and if trouble occurs, take it in stride and calmly work it out with them.
Nursing schools can appear quite strict. They often are; but they don't want problems over things like disabilities or civil rights. Be respectful, and clearly let them know now about any concerns and needs you have. They expect you to see school as a regular, demanding job; and be there come hell or high water. You'll probably have to educate them a bit, unless they've had many frum Jews as students or staff. For your part, you'll have to be flexible and show up at times that you might not if you had a choice - school on a fast day or Purim or Friday afternoon, etc. Save the demands and requests for things that are truly necessary.
You'll do fine. We've all done it. Some places are easier than others, but we all got through.
I do have to add that a couple of friends of mine did graduate from nursing school a semester or year late, because of a certain semester where they were going to miss too many clinical days. They took off that semester and like I said, finished their degree a little later. So sometimes, the way it works out isn't exactly how you'd like, but they do have to work with you.
I found it definitely helps to be the top student. I didn't find it difficult - I was older, more serious, more consciousness. They had a hard time refusing the "4.0-who-has-5-kids-can-you-believe-it?" student. They actually started recruiting in the local Jewish girls' high schools after I was there b/c they found the first few Orthodox students to be more serious about their studies than the average student. Current frum students always joke about how to this day when certain teachers find out they are Orthodox, they immediately ask if they know me. I guess I was the groundbreaker.
Malki, just stay HEALTHY- you and the whole family-
did you take a flu vaccine? Busy mothers who have your schedule have no time to be sick so be sure to get plenty of fluids, your daily fruits and vegies- dont start skipping meals etc,
take your husband or one of your kids out for a quick 15 or 30 min walk almost every day- good for you and the quality one to one time will help maintain the Shalom Bayis you will need over this period,....