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There Is No Time for Self-Pity

I am officially four weeks into my third year.  I look around, and it's like I never left. Third year is buzzing. It is fast paced, it's ever changing, and it's exciting.  Everyone (and by "everyone" I mean first- and second-year students) want to know, "How is third year? Is it better?"

We are all told every year it gets better. I told myself during second year that they must say that to keep us going. Third year is better, but I think it is acceptance rather than ease.  That question is not so much a question but rather a plea, "Does it become easier?" The plain answer is no.  I am not trying to be a "Debbie Downer" I am answering the question honestly. Perhaps the better question to ask is, "Did we think vet school was going to be easy?" Each year has its benefits and its downfalls.

First year is great because you are officially in vet school, you are in anatomy, and you are meeting people just like you! Bluntly stated, you made it! On the other hand, it's long hard days, long nights, and challenging tests.

Then second year comes along, you come back from your first (badly needed) summer break and you come in at 9am and you leave at noon or maybe 3pm on most days. Frankly, it's a breeze.  A breeze with a storm brewing: it catches up in a hurry. It hits you-there is so much material-but luckily for you there is time to study.

I was talking with a second year one hour before her parasitology exam. She asked me "What will he ask?" My unfortunate response was "anything and everything." Parasitology is known for being loaded with material that seems nearly impossible to keep straight.  I told her "you know more than you think; this year is all about time management."

She stated "We all felt like we are still on vacation, but after this test I want to go home and cry."  That statement made me smile (as odd as that sounds). I smiled because I also felt that same way first year, and second year, and I know I will feel that way in two weeks when we have both small and large animal medicine exams only 24 hours apart.

I simply said in return, "In vet school, there is no time for self-pity."   As much as you and I will want to go home and sulk, there is no time. Lecture keeps going and assignments still have due dates. You must treat even your academic defeats as lessons. Crazy, right? It's a learning experience, all of it. Each year is exciting and new, and each year you start to realize you know more than you think. Each year is better, but it's not "easier." You are more knowledgeable, but that is not easy; that is hard work!