Throughout the entirety of my first year, I questioned everyone and everything.
Which classes are the hardest?
What’s the best way to take notes?
Where’s the best place to get coffee?
How should I approach studying for Biochemistry?
Do I really need that delicious panini for lunch from the store down the road?
…again? (Just as an FYI the answer to this question is yes. Always yes.)
How many organizations should I join?
How much should I be paying for rent?
Can I afford to go out tonight? (No, but go anyway.)
Tomorrow? (No, but go anyway.)
After every exam? (…)
I was the most inquisitive I had ever been in my short 22 years of life, and it was an eye-opening experience. The students in the years above me were full of valuable knowledge, which I attempted to absorb. It seemed impossible that my tiny brain would be able to not only memorize lectures, but the secrets on how to memorize those lectures, and the secrets that those lectures were trying to teach me. Somehow, I was also supposed to be balancing an actual life and maybe calling my Mom somewhere in between.
It was not until about mid-way through the first semester, after what I describe as a lackluster performance on my first exam, that I got the best advice I have ever received in my entire life:
Don’t listen to anyone’s advice.
This poignantly perfect piece of wisdom came to me just when my brain was full to the brim with otherwise useless factoids and advice, and only a semblance of understanding the complex scientific concepts I was being taught. I don’t recall if it was a friend who gave me this advice or if it came to me in some sort of dream, but it changed my entire approach to school from then on.
I started attending lectures and labs with an open mind, rather than a mind clouded by the advice of others. I began to understand concepts with greater ease and was no longer bogged down by the worry that I was not directly following in the footsteps of my second-year peers. My grades improved, and so did my mental being. I learned to enjoy school again, as I had in years past.
So, if you’re looking for that perfect piece of advice on how to approach your first year of Veterinary School, take my advice and do NOT listen to anyone’s advice.
Maybe it isn’t the best advice you’ll ever get- but it certainly helped me.
At the end of the day, you have to do your own thing. You got into Veterinary School for a reason.