It was nearly a year ago today that I finished my first week of veterinary school. The emotions of one of my biggest dreams becoming reality were still fresh in my mind and I was surrounded by all the incredible new friends I made throughout orientation. As I watch the eager new First Years walk down the hallway during the first week of school, there are bittersweet feelings and I find myself reminiscing about how I was in those shoes 12 months ago. If you are anything like me, you were extremely hyped about the hands-on labs you got the first week, but are nervous about how to balance everything out. In an effort to help all of those struggling new student, I went ahead and compiled my best tips on how to survive your first year of veterinary school:
- Time Management. You have probably heard this one a hundred times by now, but this is truly a major key to balancing everything you want to get done in the day. What is helpful for me is planning the night before what I need to get done the following day in time blocks. By blocking my time, it makes sure I don’t spend too much time not being productive but also giving myself time to relax in the evening. By blocking my time, I can successfully study for an hour or two every night knowing that I will have a scheduled hour of Netflix before bed. Time blocking is just one way to practice time management skills, and there are so many different ways to make time for yourself.
- Study Ahead. During my undergraduate career, I was able to coast by just studying for the exam that was in front of me. I learned quickly that this would not work for veterinary school. With the fire-hose of information that is thrown at you every day in vet school, it is important to review the information often. For me, I go over the day’s material that evening and sort through the key concepts and objectives of lectures. This way I can organize my notes, make study guides and focus on the important information. By doing this the day of, I can use it as a review as well as freeing up some time on the weekends that I can have for myself.
- Make Time For Yourself. This one I believe is very underrated. Making time for yourself is so important. Whether it is an hour in the evening or a weekend with friends, it is important to remember your life doesn’t revolve around vet school. Get out there; enjoy yourself from time to time and it will prevent you from getting burnt out from the constant studying.
- Become a Morning Person. This one is definitely more easily said than done, but this one will help you not only in class but also when you get to clinics. By getting up earlier you are able to accomplish more in the day and you can enjoy your morning and get it off to a right start. By packing your materials for the day ahead of time you can tackle the day the moment you wake up and be more prepared for the lecture materials for the day.