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
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!