As veterinary students, most of us are accustomed to doing well all the time. To even get accepted into vet school is a major feat — a culmination of hard work, success, and future promise. But now that I am in vet school, things aren’t always so rosy. So far, a major theme in school that I have become accustomed to is not doing as well as I expected.
There are many reasons why this is the case. First, there are so many new things being learned every day that there is no way you can pick up everything immediately. Second, school is very stressful and you need time to do other important things in your life. The list goes on and on, but no matter who you are, the path to becoming a veterinarian is a struggle.
One such occasion occurred at the pig farm the other day. I had my first opportunity to work with pigs. And from the way things went, it may be my last time working with them. Our first task was to catch the pig and snare it. Having never done that before, it didn’t go well. After my friend and I finally caught the pig, our next goal was drawing blood from vessels on the ear and from the jugular. Of course, neither of those blood draws went as planned either. The pig jerked once I got my catheter in the ear, and before I knew it, things were a bloody mess. Afterward, I was able to get a few drops of blood from the jugular but not enough to fill the entire tube. Despite my friend saying I did a good job, I left feeling very disappointed. And I won’t have another opportunity for a while to try again.
Although these situations are not ideal and it is always nice to be successful on a first attempt, they are the best learning opportunities. For me, I learn best by trial and error, with a huge emphasis on the error part. But after a few tries, I eventually get it down and am ready to take on another challenge. And I know that next time I encounter a pig, I’ll be ready to do better than the first time.