That is what an undergraduate student said to me as I said “Hi” to one of my veterinary school classmates after we exchanged a smile and a “thumbs up” sign. Signs like this are a simple acknowledgement that we both understand the process we’re experiencing as we become veterinarians. On this day, the pre-veterinary club from the University of Vermont (my alma mater) was visiting Cornell University for the weekend. After a day full of advice from professors and current veterinary students, I am sure the undergraduate students’ heads were spinning. I remember how much information I took in during my veterinary school tours and interviews. It was very enjoyable, but trust me, it was a marathon in itself!
Of course, the topic of stress and mental wellness during veterinary school was a flagship idea during the whole day. I could tell that the undergraduate students were thinking about it. The “deer in the headlights” look was obvious to me. This is understandable. Before entering veterinary school, maintaining mental well-being while keeping up with a graduate curriculum can seem like a mystery to many.
Despite the fear, stress, and associated feelings that can be part of a professional curriculum, my veterinary school classmate and I still said “Hello” to each other and exchanged feelings of happiness. Why did we do that in the midst of all the apparent chaos of veterinary school?
The answer lies within the question. We are in veterinary school. We are in the big leagues now. We get to study and help animals every single day of our lives. School is challenging at times, but it is not hard. One of my great mentors once told me that “Hard is doing what you are not.” In that case, I think in this manner:
We are veterinary students. We chose this path. There is nothing hard about that.