Purpose: The objective of this phenomenological study was to explore nursing students’ emotional experiences in the school life. Methods: Twenty-four nursing students participated in the study. Data were collected from May 2017 to February 2018 using focus group interviews and later analyzed using the Colaizzi’s method. Results: In our study, 311 meanings were obtained from the participants, including 19 sub-themes and seven theme clusters. The seven theme clusters were; ‘looking back on the past,’ ‘face to reality,’ ‘recognizing me,’ ‘anxiety about uncertainty,’ ‘nursing student's way,’ ‘looking around,’ and ‘patting for my mind.’ The emotional experiences of nursing students in college life were classified into four categories: ‘self-reflection for growth,’ ‘discovery for growth,’ ‘hoping for growth,’ and ‘search for the growth.’ Conclusion: Although nursing students may be equally exposed to anxious and stressful situations, their activities, adaptability and levels of achievement vary depending on emotional experiences of each person. Considering the continuous curriculum of nursing, it is necessary to develop emotional management strategies and relevant training programs considering different types and levels of emotional issues for the nursing students.