As summer begins winding down, I can’t help but think of all the things I wanted to do this summer. It left me reflecting on what I did the summer before veterinary school and the things I wish I did before diving head first into this demanding profession. Here is my top 5 list of tips on how to spend your summer before starting school.
- Travel. I don’t care where you are going but get out there. You will find it increasingly more difficult to get away and travel once you are in school. Get that travel-bug out of your system, or at least suppress it, before you head back to school. You’ll be finding yourself begging for the sweet relief of a spontaneous vacation in school, so going before it starts will give you something to think back on. It doesn’t matter how far or spontaneous it – it can be a local hiking trip not to far from home or a trip halfway around the world. Regardless, it will help you feel refreshed as you enter a new chapter of your life.
- Spend time with family. For most cases in vet school, you are not very close to family. Even if you had the chance to experience being far from home, expect veterinary school to be different. With the new workload and having to make priorities when it comes to time management, it becomes easy to let family time slip under the radar. For me, I never got really homesick, but when I came home for a holiday, I quickly remember how great it felt to be home. Take that time now to spend with your loved ones as the time you will get to see them while in school is fleeting.
- Try something new. Take that time now to pick up that hobby you always wanted to try or that new experience. If can be anywhere from trying a new food to picking up a new language. Giving yourself something new to do will not only give you something to possibly look forward to in your free time in vet school, but also break up the monotony of exams and studying. I found it great to start picking up French and taking time every evening working on it for just 10 minutes to give myself something different to do other than study. By trying something new, you may find yourself making new friends, falling in love with a new activity, food, place, or experience and giving yourself a greater appreciation for things you may have never thought of.
- Volunteer. There is never a bad time to volunteer. But if there is a great time, it would be the summer before you started vet school. With the ‘last great summer of free time’ ahead of you, volunteering is a great way to give back. You may find great joy out of giving back to a community or love to experience new things. Volunteering is a great gateway to do just that, and you can do it just about anywhere. You can look into local volunteering through a soup kitchen, volunteering at a national park, wildlife rehabilitation center, or international opportunities as well.
If you are just too excited about getting started with school…
- Reach Out. There is an incredible community waiting for you when you get to vet school. Your new school may have a Big/Little program where you will be paired with an upperclassman to begin to show you the ropes. Reach out to fellow students in your class and upperclassman to begin making lifelong connections and answer those myriads of questions you may have about life in vet school.