It quickly becomes apparent to even the most talented students that veterinary school is an immense challenge. During the first semester, I realized that everyone has their own way of handling stress. Some people need to be alone, and others seek camaraderie. It was my experience, as an extrovert, that finding friends is really important to success in vet school.
Each semester, vet students undergo a unique sort of hibernation while they study for a flurry of exams. After only a few weeks into the semester, I always find myself wishing there were another twenty-four hours in the day to accomplish everything to stay current with all my classes. After the first exam in each course, I usually find myself evaluating my study strategies and adjusting them for better success. Ultimately, my strategy always includes a study group with close friends. As easy as it is sometimes to believe that a few more hours studying alone are well spent, I realized long ago that I need someone else to change how I approach a subject. My strength is in learning material, but I’m not always the best test taker. Reviewing with friends helps me put the material in context so that I can draw from it proficiently on a test.
After exams I enjoy the relief in company of friends. It’s always refreshing to shift focus from academics and enjoy a social life. I like to have a good meal and try something new, whether that means cooking at one of our apartments or going out to a different restaurant. It’s important to reward yourself, because the rigidity of vet school life can make it easy to burn out.
In sum, vet school has been an awesome place where I have met lifelong friends. We’ve rallied in the difficult times and enjoyed the sporadic breaks from our responsibilities as students. Vet school isn’t a scary place, but it can definitely be overwhelming. Knowing that other like-minded folks feel similarly is reassuring. To all my friends at MSU, thank you for making these last three semesters such a great experience.