Recently, I had to give a twenty-minute presentation as part of one of my favorite rotations thus far in veterinary school: Equine Sports Medicine. One would think that during a rotation I was so enthusiastic about, presenting on an interesting case that came through our service during that time would not be so nerve wracking.
However, the week before the presentation, I was having difficulty sleeping. I would dream about pericarditis (the topic of my presentation), and various echocardiographic images would play over and over in my head. I have never been a nervous speaker and have always considered myself to be pretty confident when it came to presentations. But something about standing up in front of the doctors I had worked with so intimately over the last four weeks gave the presentation that much more power in my mind and probably caused me to be so nervous.
After the presentation was over, I was immediately relieved. My hours of research and rehearsal paid off and, more importantly, I felt as though I had truly learned and understood what my presentation was about.
As veterinary students, often we get so wrapped up in worrying about earning a certain grade or impressing the “right” people. However, when it comes to post-graduation (so-called “real life”) there will be no one to impress and certainly no grades to earn: only clients to please and animals to help.