One of the most important strategies for avoiding burnout is “maintaining a healthy work-life balance.” That phrase encompasses many things and means different things to different people, but to me, it means not feeling guilty and allowing myself to recharge while pursuing activities outside veterinary medicine.
One of my favorite things is organizing free on-campus arts events. Last year we hosted a Middle Eastern dance demonstration, a mime workshop, and a wind orchestra concert, among other events. Many events we held during the lunch hour, so students and faculty could drop in after a morning of medicine to think about something completely different. Art also helps us keep in touch with our emotions too, which is important for our mental health.
So far this year we have sponsored an improv theater workshop, a talent show, and a make-up workshop held prior to the vet school’s annual winter ball. I really enjoyed the talent show, mainly because it engaged a huge portion of the 1st and 2nd years whom I rarely get to see. (And it’s always a treat to watch the V’19 dance group—I always laugh so hard at the ridiculousness.) I also enjoyed the opportunity to flex my acting muscles at the improv workshop—I had forgotten how much fun it is! But the best part about investing in an extracurricular so divergent from veterinary medicine is that it helps me remember who I am outside of being a student. For me, part of work-life balance is work-life separation, both in the physical and mental sense.