Vet school is a surprisingly humbling experience. Even if you’ve worked in a vet hospital for several years or been an avid equestrian since the age of three, there is so much we, as vet students, don’t yet know. No matter how many science courses you have taken, you will still be overwhelmed by the wealth of information presented in various classes. Even if you’re used to working full-time while raising a family, I can assure you that you’ll plumb new depths of fatigue while in vet school. That’s how it feels for me and my V’18 peers, at least.
Sometimes, it can be hard to maintain your self-confidence in the face of so much hard work, fatigue, and informational processing. You start to doubt your studying habits, when that last pathology exam had you wondering if you had wandered into the wrong lecture hall and instead taken a second-year exam. You begin to question if you learned anything at all during your hundreds of animal experience hours, when you struggle to contain an overly exuberant patient or to remove a halter properly. You start reevaluating the value of the five different clubs you’re a member of, when visiting clinicians and lecturers begin harping about the importance of distinguishing yourself as a veterinarian and how it’s vitally important to spend every waking minute on things that contribute to your resume, experience base, and ultimately, your career.
The stress of vet school can take on many faces. For some, figuring out how to study for such complex subjects as histology, physiology, and anatomy is extremely challenging. For others, learning how to juggle a home or work life with the constant academic demands is more stressful. For still others, focusing for long periods of time or avoiding the traps of procrastination is the real trial. For me, my personal demon of vet school is self-confidence. Constantly monitoring my self-esteem (and attempting to rebuild it when necessary) is stressful and exhausting, but I know how important it is to keep trudging onward. Onward and upward, as they say!