This is hard to do. This summer, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the past two years of my veterinary education, and, it’s been interesting. On one hand, I feel I’ve learned so much in just two short years, and on the other, I feel I’ve forgotten even more than the amount I’ve learned. It’s not, forgotten, really, I suppose, but, on the back-burner. I’m not just talking my undergraduate knowledge and skill set, but even little facts and figures from a year ago here in vet school. It really takes lifelong learning to be successful as a veterinarian, and, as daunting as that seems, what a joy it really can be.
As a student who came to vet school with a humanities degree, I value so much the things I learned as an undergraduate. I learned not only to respect all disciplines of learning as fuel for my creative side (I think, a worthy quality to strive for in the kind of collaborative environment that is veterinary medicine), but also to communicate and receive communication in ways that I found both beautiful and so enlightening. It was the fact that I had to, for my degree, create, and not only create, but evolve what I already knew into something more beautiful, more telling, more creative, that prepared me so well to be a veterinary student and a veterinarian. Sure, I needed a little push to catch up to the scientific rigor of vet school, but not because I wasn’t prepared for the way of thinking. And, hey, I caught up just fine.
I am so happy to be working toward a profession that lets me exercise my creative side, whether it’s in dealing with patients (or, let’s face it, their owners), solving illnesses with medicine, or simply in the diagnostics of everything. I am lucky to be able to draw parallels between my undergraduate education, my veterinary education, and my real-life-human-better-figure-this-life-thing-out kind of education all with the same kind of creative thinking. It makes things fun. It makes it easier to study in the summer what you might have forgotten from your first year. It makes veterinary medicine just a little brighter and a goal that much more worth reaching.
So, to all you future, student, and current veterinary professionals (or animal lovers in general for that matter), don’t be discouraged by lifelong learning, embrace it! Give it a great big hug and say “yes, my eyes might be tired from reading so many books, but look at how many animals I can help!” Remember all the people you can help, too. And don’t underestimate those humanities classes or experiences. Love them and cherish them. Let them do what they do best, and where science only goes so far (but let science teach you, too), let them teach you a thing or two about being human.