My stay in China has come to a close. It was a meaningful trip on many levels, and I think back to my time there with fond memories of all the wonderful people I met and places I saw. Now back at home, I am struggling with jet lag. Considering that I have only nine days at home with my family until the semester begins, it is unfortunate that many of them have been spent sleeping. My aunt and uncle, whom I love dearly, came to my house twice this week, and both times I was unable to visit with them as I would have liked, simply because I could not keep my eyes open. It is almost laughable how acute the symptoms are and how unable I am to stay awake at certain hours of the day. Although I feel bad that I’m not my usual self, I recognize the necessity of my body’s circadian rhythms readjusting from being thrown out of kilter after being on the world’s eighth longest non-stop commercial flight. When I am awake, I try to make the most of my time by actually visiting with my family and sharing meals together. The one entity in my household that is able to keep up with my schedule is my dog. As the entire neighborhood sleeps in the witching hour, Daisy and I have gone on long walks!
Thinking ahead to next semester, I know that time management will be key. The first year of vet school posed a big challenge to my ability to optimize my time. From attending lectures to studying in the library to burning the midnight oil in the anatomy lab in the days preceding big exams, it was difficult to strike a healthy balance. I also sought to have room in my schedule to attend talks, participate in clubs, and kick a soccer ball around with friends. When I wanted to stream a soccer or basketball game online or do something completely unrelated to to my education, I would often think back to a quote in Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.” It usually would not prevent me from carrying out my guilty pleasure altogether, but it would help limit the time spent on that activity. For example: I would not start watching a soccer game until the second half began, making sure to study before then. Or I would bring my notes to the gym and try to consolidate information while doing different exercises. Making small sacrifices here and there amount to something much larger, and I think vet school presents a great crash course in making students aware of their limitations and how to best allocate their time.