It’s that time of year again to make New Year’s resolutions and, more importantly, to stick to them.
I’ve done a commendable job of managing my academic goals and expectations through the first three semesters of veterinary school, but I can’t say the same for my personal health/fitness goals; every semester starts out with good intentions, but 10 weeks in, I start to slip.
Not this year!
2020 is going to be the best one yet. And how will I make that happen?
Finding a support system that helps you stay focused and on track is the key to success, especially during transitional times like starting veterinary school.
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor describes seven principles that will teach you to lead a happier, more productive life.
The seventh principle is about social investment—if your life was a football game and you were the quarterback, then your support system would be the offensive line. They are there to protect you, keep you in the game, and celebrate with you when the drive is over.
People have a tendency to keep to themselves when life gets tough, especially introverts like myself, so it’s important to remember your team.
My roommates and I have made a commitment to each other to stick to our wellness goals this semester. We cook together, workout together, and hold each other accountable.
My community has helped me reach the almost halfway point of veterinary school, and I can’t wait to celebrate with them at graduation as my happiest, healthiest self.
There’s a quote, attributed to Brian Jackman, that says, “Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same.”
Summertime for veterinary students is a time for us to get our hands dirty using the skills we learned over the last year in the areas of veterinary medicine that we are interested in. I used my time this summer to hop a plane and fly halfway around the world to South Africa on a faculty-led study abroad trip for conservation medicine and wildlife management.
Traveling abroad exposes you to new cultures and people. I was amazed to find at one of the ranches we volunteered at that the employees were from many different countries and cultures and spoke so many languages and dialects that they couldn’t even have a full conservation! Yet, somehow, they all work together to perform the very intricate operation of immobilizing, transporting, treating, and handling wild animals.
One of the best parts about exploring other cultures is the food. We were fed many dishes with proteins that are uncommon back home like lamb and a variety of wild antelope species. I’m personally not very adventurous with food, and especially proteins, but all of the dishes were amazing. You have to embrace the experience and at least try it.
The other best part was all of the animals we visited in the zoos; watching them run wild and free over there, without much influence from mankind, creates a whole new connection to nature that I never imagined. Since getting to work hands on with rhinos, lion, sable, roan, and so many more species, I am excited to learn more about our local wildlife and how veterinarians play a role in their management.
I look forward to my next passport stamp, hopefully somewhere tropical. You never know what kind of connections you will make when you travel—maybe you’ll find a way to use skills that you never imagined you might have, or maybe you will discover a new passion or job opportunity.
Remember that you’re not limited to what’s right in front of you; there is a whole world out there waiting for you to explore.