The worst thing to forget in vet school is not a fact. It is not a treatment plan for a laminitic horse or a vomiting dog. It is not even something you will find in a textbook. The worst thing to forget during vet school is how to exist outside of the veterinary school.
We put in a lot of hours during our time in school. Late nights with emergencies at the clinic and early mornings completing our patient’s treatments all accumulate into quite the experience to say the least. Throw an overnight shift in there and the next few days can turn into a fog very quickly. There is no real substitute for sleep, no matter what your coffee-chugging colleagues may say. No matter which way you spin it, our jobs as students in vet school can get a little hectic if we do not focus on what we do with the time we have. But what do we do when we have free time?
We do have some rotations during our clinical year that provide more free time than usual. The dermatology rotation is one of them, as is the clinical pathology and the primary care surgery. These rotations are a nice break, but it can be a big change when you go from working full 12-hour (or longer!) days to 6-hour days! I have heard many students complain about this, stating that it is a waste of our time to have these “easy” days. I think of our classmates that have children and families here with them, and what these rotations mean to them. They may get to spend more time with their kids, save some money on daycare, and take the workload of everyday life with the family off of their partner. These rotations are a godsend for some of us. Sure, it is not like real veterinary practice, but neither is school. In school, we have a few patients for each of us to care for, and we get a lot of guidance from clinicians. We spend very long days in the clinics. In practice, we have a ton of patients to see every day, and we work more regular hours. The difference is huge. So what do we do with all of this variability?
We need to focus on being adaptable. Not just in our school or with family, but in every aspect of our lives. Long days and short days are not to be complained about, they should be taken as they come and handled as they should be. We cannot forget how to relax and not exist in school, the same way that we cannot forget how to perform at our best in the clinic.