I suppose for most people, their last summer would be before they graduate college–but for most vet students, the summer between second and third-year is their last summer; the next time ‘summer’ rolls around, I’ll be starting clinical rotations. Beyond that, who knows what I will be doing?!
So what does one do with their last summer?
I think the answer should be: whatever they want.
Many of my classmates are traveling (either for study abroad opportunities, or for pleasure), many are also still working, researching and externing. Some are taking this last summer to get married. Some are decompressing from a grueling year with family and friends. All are valid ways to spend the last big chunk of time off that we have. Whatever way you find best to come back in the fall refreshed and ready to tackle another year of veterinary school is the best way you could spend your summer.
For me, I’m still working several jobs, but will also be completing a short research project, and taking a few weeks to go do an externship in Florida. I plan to start getting some NAVLE studying in as well. I was also able to head home for a few days to catch the Broadway production of ‘Aladdin’ with my family.
There is a lot more downtime than I am used to, which gives me the ability to do the more adult things I’ve neglected during the school year (like spring cleaning my room) but also more fun things. I have the time to take my dog on hikes and walks in the parks around our house, practice piano – a hobby I’ve had for almost 20 years, as well as drawing and painting.
Perhaps the largest ‘fun’ part of my summer involves my horse. My Morgan mare that I rescued in the midst of my undergraduate degree has accompanied me to vet school and is a huge part of my school-life balance. That being said, she is a large time commitment. Her training schedule during the semester revolves around my exam schedule, which leads to an erratic calendar at times. With my time a little less restricted, I’ve made sure that her training schedule is a little more regular. It has allowed me to take lessons with more frequency, and we are getting ready to do several competitions once I return from my externship, including a foray into Eventing, and a jumper championship show later in October.
So to all my peers facing their last summer: whether you are working, traveling, spending time with family and friends, decompressing, taking time to be creative, sleeping in, going out, or some combination of all the above, I hope everyone has as much fun as I am thus far, and comes back in the fall ready to blaze the trail to becoming a DVM!