We are less than a month away from school, and for all of you future 1st years—congratulations! I’m sure you are excited and nervous to start this new journey. You will love it, maybe not at times, but it will be an incredible experience, and you are moving toward your life goals and future careers.
It seems like not long ago, I was not enjoying my last summer before vet school, because I was SO EXCITED! I felt like I couldn’t relax and wished time would go faster. Are you feeling like this now, too?
If you are—STOP!
You will get there soon, and the time will go by fast. After that, for roughly 5 months you will be slammed with a swarm of information that you will try to retain until it feels like you literally cannot stuff any more information inside your head, your neurons will seem to be in overdrive, and you will feel as though your brain may very well turn into sloppy mush! It is likely that any outside friends you had may get pushed aside as you spend countless hours in the anatomy lab trying to remember all the meticulous parts of all the bones, muscles, vessels, and nerves with your classmates who actually understand the pain you are going through.
Since completing my first year, I have decided this summer to become a master relaxer, and here is how I’m doing it:
I have been spending almost every nice day that I can outside. Although we get a bad rap for being flat with a lot of corn, Iowa is truly a beautiful state, sometimes you just need to get outside the cities. I have been hiking, camping, kayaking, birding and I even bought a fishing license and watched YouTube videos on how to string a line (but I haven’t caught anything…yet).
You will have absolutely no time to read anything unrelated to veterinary medicine during school (and if you do, I bet you will feel guilty about it), so the summer is the perfect time to do so. Although we all love animals and that is why we are here, you will be bombarded with so much animal information, I suggest reading something totally unrelated. I recently finished The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish. She was inspiring and hilarious, and I absolutely recommend her book.
Summer is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby, such as crafting, learning about a new topic, playing a new sport, learning how to meditate—the list goes on and on. I recently decided to start pressing flowers and creating art from this. I love walking around the Iowa prairies, picking native flowers and preserving them as a keepsake and decorating my study space. It takes practice to get it right, but I have a month to learn!
Don’t forget about the friends you have who are not part of the veterinary medicine field. In school, there are a lot of gatherings and events exclusively for us and it can be challenging to find a time to see those outside friends we have, but they are so important! I have tried hard this summer to keep in touch with old friends, whether visiting or just sending a text to remind them I have not forgotten them and still care.
In this career path, it is easy to become consumed by our jobs, which can negatively impact our livelihood. Taking the time now to find the things outside of veterinary medicine that you love, can help you later on. So future first years–take some time for yourself, and enjoy your summer before you start this new expedition in life!