Finals week is upon us!
There is truly nothing like a finals week in veterinary school, where it seems you learn an entire semester in one night! There is so much to remember and never enough time, so you are forced to learn as much as you can, do your best, and still be satisfied with never knowing all of the information.
Third-year vet students are lucky and only have three finals this year—but they are all worth a LOT of points, so they cannot be taken lightly. The first final exam is in “Large Animal Medicine,” over 29 hours worth of lectures. No pressure, right?! Our second exam is in “Small Animal Medicine” and ranges from placing external fixators on bones to how to tell if a female dog is pregnant. Our third exam is over “Radiology,” and since it is cumulative, we have to study things from all the way back in August.
Finals week and veterinary students are like hibernating bears and winter. We stock up on food and supplies, wear our comfiest clothes, and lock ourselves in our rooms/library for a week straight, only emerging from the cave for refrigerated items and the scheduled cup of coffee at 6 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m. Our hair always seems to be disheveled, no matter how much we comb it down. We may be sensitive to sunlight and show signs of aggression. Every now and then a friend or family member will check in to make sure we are still eating and sleeping an acceptable amount.
The end of the semester is when we really appreciate those gift cards for Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A that we get in our stockings every year (hint hint, Santa). While it is OK to cry during finals week, I encourage relieving stress in ways like yoga, running, singing Adele songs unapologetically loud in your car, or studying
outside in your favorite park. Resist your innate hibernating instincts. The good thing about December in Texas is the low temperature is usually around 65 degrees and sunny; you basically have no excuse NOT to go outside. It is also important to find a reliable friend who will share their dog with you; hugging a dog will increase study motivation by 200 percent. I have tested and proven this scientific fact my entire life. You also may want to keep the TV playing in the background while you study to stay minimally connected to the outside world.
One thing I have noticed about vet school is that every finals week seems to get better:
- First year was the hardest: between anatomy, immunology, and histology, there’s a lot of nuances to learn, and you’ve never done it before—therefore, it is completely intimidating and foreign.
- Second year gets easier: the material is quicker to master and you also have gained the confidence that “if I survived first year, I can get through anything.”
- Third year we are barely even phased: we have done this MULTIPLE TIMES before, and there is also the hope lingering in the air that this is the second to last finals weeks we will ever have for the rest of our lives!
It’s amazing that another semester of vet school has flown by so quickly; nevertheless, I do not yet wish for it to slow down. Although we may emerge from our caves on Dec. 8 sleep-deprived and wired on caffeine, we also emerge smarter, more resilient, and one step closer to being the veterinarians we were born to be.
Wish us all good luck!