Dear First-Year Self,
I know you are excited and nervous, scared and have a full to-do list before embarking on this new adventure that you have worked your entire life for and I know you want everything to be perfect your first year, but the first thing I want to say is:
1. Don’t stress and celebrate with your family, friends and loved ones! Re-unite with old time friends that you haven’t seen in a while because you were studying for those grades to get into veterinary school. Go to the beach, the lake, hiking, SLEEP in and enjoy the things you didn’t have time for during school. In other words, enjoy your summer!
Once school starts you will find yourself surrounded by your new colleagues and making new friends (keep in mind these friends will shift during that first year or may not, but you are still getting to know each other so don’t hesitate) this takes me to the second thing I want to tell you:
2. Find yourself a good support group of friends. Many times your study group will be different from this, learn that your study group for anatomy might not be the same as for physiology. These will be the people you want to be surrounded by when times get hard and trust me they make everything better!
3. STUDY EVERY DAY! But study smart. I can’t stress this enough and I know you hear it all the time. You might think, “Oh I understood this material during the lecture, I’ll just watch Netflix for the night.” Wrong! You still need to study every day and stay on top of the material because it will eventually catch up to you…trust me!! Like a professor once told me, “This is your new full-time job! You are here to become a veterinarian and nothing less so give it your all.”
Find a good playlist that helps you concentrate (my favorite playlist is alpha waves or memory music), get into an everyday routine after school and stick to it. This will make a difference and you will see positive results.
4. It gets overwhelming at times. You might think about just giving up because you are tired and feel devastated with those first block grades, but ask yourself this: do you see yourself doing anything else in the future? No, right? In these moments you feel overwhelmed, it’s okay to take a break and breathe!
Studying is important, but your mental health is a priority. Meditation will become your new best friend (and I know it sounds super millennial, but literally meditation will open a door that you never knew existed and a quick 15-minute meditation can feel like a 30-minute nap). When you feel tired and mentally blocked find a method like going to the gym, cooking, watching an episode or 2 of a show (not the whole season) that will make you laugh/relax. If you just need to quickly unwind because the test is tomorrow: meditate!
5. And lastly, I want to tell you to enjoy every second of Veterinary School. Sooner than you think, you will be out of there starting your first job and you will regret only focusing on the academics. Get involved with clubs, be part of the e-boards, take pictures (many!) and just have fun with it because “future you” will appreciate it when looking back and “present you” will fall in love with the profession even more!
It’s an exciting moment in life, embrace it and get up when you fall. You are here because you are part of the best and will help make this profession a better one.
Happy new chapter and study smart,
Your Third-Year Self ❤️
Norma Rodriguez says