Trying Something New

Hayley M.Everyone in veterinary school, and even most who are not, knows that vet school requires an abundance of study time.

However, the piece of advice that I heard the most from veterinarians, current students, and professors before and during my first year in vet school was to always make time for myself and do something that I wanted to do at least once a week, no matter how much studying I needed to do or what test was coming up.

That sounded fine and all, but during my first semester, I found myself wondering how in the world I was going to make time to do that when we have two tests a week for the majority of the semester!

As an undergraduate, I was the person who was able to study the night before a test and still get a great grade on it. I knew that was definitely not going to be the case when I got into vet school and that I would have to make some major adjustments.

So, I thought there was no way that I was going to be able to take their advice and make time for myself between studying, taking care of my pets, going to the gym, and making time for my family and boyfriend. I thought it was a lost cause and I didn’t even attempt to plan something out for myself each week, instead burying myself in my notes and study guides, because after all, school has to be my priority for the next three and a half years.

But this past week, my friends and I decided to actually take that advice and try it out to see if it might affect our grade on our upcoming anatomy test. Instead of vigorously studying the entire week, every single chance we got like we had originally planned, we took a break one afternoon and decided to go out and eat at one of our favorite restaurants and not talk about school.

We talked, we laughed, and we had a great time while eating our favorite meal—chips and queso of course—and finally took a breather and a moment for ourselves. It was definitely a needed moment, and I instantly understood why so many people had given me that advice before I started vet school.

For the remainder of the week, I felt like I had a second wind. I was able to retain more while studying and I didn’t feel so burnt out. I found myself legitimately enjoying my week instead of stressing about what to study next.

Now, I think it’s safe to say that even if my grade goes down a point or two, I will definitely begin to plan and set aside time each week to do something for myself.

For the rest of my vet school career, I will put value on self-care to make sure I make the most out of my time in school; by trying to thoroughly enjoy vet school instead of thinking about it as the time I had to study for four straight years, I know I will look back on the experience as I time I really did enjoy and remember how appreciative I am that I’ve had this awesome opportunity.