Adapting to Life in Vet School

I know it may seem ironic that I am posting about adapting to life in vet school when I have less than 1 month remaining in my first year of vet school, but nevertheless, here it goes…

I think this term I have demonstrated my ability to live my life happily and successfully while managing many other activities, distractions, all the while still managing to be successful in school.  I will admit that I was slightly concerned that I would not be able to manage all of the activities I filled my schedule with in the beginning of the term (rock climbing, swimming, skiing, and joining a bowling league in addition to my increasing involvement in clubs, symposiums, etc.) It turns out that, just like back in high school, I still manage to thrive when I pack my schedule. And I still manage to sleep (always a priority for me!).

Compared to last term, I’ve noticed that I’m doing at least a few things differently:

First of all, I am no longer attempting to study while working out. Rock climbing, skiing, swimming, etc are all breaks from school. The hours I spend engaging in those activities are mental breaks for me that help me regain focus when I get back into study mode.

Second, I’ve learned that hanging out or even being in the presence of non-vet school related people makes me feel better. I love my classmates and think highly of them, but the fact of the matter is: we spend way too much time together! Talking to and hanging out with people outside of the vet med world is refreshing and helps keep me grounded.

Lastly, I’ve changed the way I study. I’m no longer listening to podcasts and going through lecture slides. In fact, I am not even going over my notes at all. All I’ve been doing is reading the syllabi for my classes in print format and highlighting them. I definitely struggled with listening to podcasts and studying powerpoint slides on my computer as my computer is a huge source of distraction with email, facebook, chat programs, etc. Having learned that over the past few terms, I decided to give the whole reading thing a shot — shocking to most who know me as I am a very slow reader and generally fall asleep within 10 minutes of starting. Needless to say, I was pretty shocked to find that it worked for me! I am able to focus better with the printed material as I am free from distractions. And what’s even better is that I can take it with me without worrying about having an electrical outlet to plug into. That means that I am studying outside more and more (something I did with a computer but just not with the same ease) and being able to vary my location more frequently. It’s really working for me and I’m glad I discovered this methodology! I just hope I will remember how well it worked in the fall when I start up again!

Perhaps it goes with the change in study habits, but I’m stressing even less about exams. I start studying on the weekend before an exam without any sense of panic that I’m never going to learn the material in time. I have confidence that I will be able to learn the material and perform well on exams and that confidence helps me be able to buckle down and focus on studying rather than spending more time than necessary worrying that what I am doing isn’t enough and will never be enough. Granted, I’ve never been much of a worrier or one to stress about these things, but the fact that I’m noticing my attitude change even more positively is wonderful!

I may have less than a month left for many more exams, finals, projects, papers, quizzes and more, but I know it will get done.

Things will work out; they always do.