Do You Get Free Time in Veterinary School?

One of the most common questions I get while giving tours to prospective students is about veterinary students’ schedules, especially regarding free time. In fact, one of my close friends asked me this question a few weeks ago, since she will be starting veterinary school in the fall!

So, I decided to talk a little bit about how I schedule my time.

First, this picture is of my schedule for the past week. Here’s a quick key:

  • Dark green: Class lectures
  • Yellow: Class labs
  • Light green: extracurricular events (no, I don’t go to every one!)
  • Dark blue: my scheduled study time
  • Light blue: time with friends
  • Pink: time with my dog

Each weekend, usually on Sunday afternoon, I plan my week. I look at what exams I have coming up and what projects or quizzes are due, as well as think about my personal progress in each class.

I usually get home from school around 5:30 p.m., and then I give myself about an hour and a half to eat dinner and relax.

First thing Saturday mornings, I walk my dog around the nearby park. On Sundays, a friend and I are committed to going to church together. On Monday nights, another friend comes over and we watch “The Bachelor” together!

Now, you may be looking at this and freaking out. Let me say that no, I don’t stick to this schedule 100 percent.

Sometimes you just don’t feel like studying, and that’s OK! Sometimes, your friend texts you and invites you to go eat or to see a movie that starts in 30 minutes, and that’s OK too.

Part of taking care of yourself during veterinary school means doing what’s best for you, even if that means going to Raising Cane’s instead of studying for anatomy.

“But Tabitha, you only have time with friends scheduled once a week. Do you never see people outside of school?”

Good question! Often, my weekend study time is with another person. Study dates at Starbucks, or group study time at the house of the only person in my friend group who cooks, are common occurrences.

It’s all about balancing school life and social life, and it is possible!

Last, I would like to say that if you’re looking at this and worrying because you have never used a planner in your life—don’t.

Most people aren’t as… intensely nerdy as I am.

I have a friend who plans his week on a notepad and another who just goes with the flow and never schedules anything.

All sorts of people are in veterinary school, each with different learning styles and structures.

If you are currently applying to veterinary school, or planning on applying, I hope this helped you know what to expect, and I wish you good luck!