There’s no doubt about it, vet school is difficult. During my first year, one of my professors made the impressive analogy that vet school feeds you information, but from a fire hose. With the myriad quizzes and exams and additional activities that consume our lives, it’s subtle but very easy to lose track of what motivated us to join the profession. I think it’s important to be mindful of how easily we can become distracted and to take necessary steps to maintain our motivation.
As a fourth-semester student, I have noticed many changes in myself since starting vet school, some for the better and some for the worse. These observations have given me some important insight about the kind of doctor I would like to be, so I guess they are all positive changes. Getting back to the fire hose analogy, one of the changes I feel most disappointed in is my ability to truly focus on subjects. That wasn’t the case in undergrad. In vet school, I feel like my attention is hyper-focused on material for a looming exam, only to be forgotten and the trend continued in another course. By the end of each semester, my reflections always amount to having taken a ton of exams and the nagging regret that I cannot recall what I’d previously learned in more specific detail.
Perhaps you’re feeling the same way as a fellow vet student or chuckling as a recent graduate. Putting dissatisfaction into perspective, I think it’s somewhat of a growing experience. In the future, I know that I want to be the vet that when asked some specific question by a student or client can provide an accurate and thoughtful response. I want to have strong clinical skills and be able to mentor students. While I’m a little bummed now that I can perform on a test but not remember all the details a week later, I know that at least I have the basics and can access the information. While I haven’t yet reached clinics, I can imagine there will be constant distractions and things competing for my attention. From previous employment, I know this to be a reality for vets in general practice. From my exposure to other fields in vet med, I know that all vets engage in continued learning.
So my ability to access information and apply it will be of use. Vet school is giving me a few tools and will send me off into the wilderness. From there, it will be my job to create my own utopia. For me, this means that after vet school I will be able to manage my pursuit of lifelong education with the ultimate goals to use that knowledge to enhance my clinical proficiency and teach the future generations of veterinarians. But that’s just me keeping it all in perspective.