Here at Cornell, we have lots of traditions. We have Dragon Day in the spring, Slope Day, Chimes Concerts, and epic Ice Hockey games in the winter. We also have some amazing legends and ghost stories here on campus, but those are for another time. One of the best vet school traditions is the annual “Dump ‘n Run” when the senior veterinary students donate all of the things that they do not want to bring with them when they move out of Ithaca. The donations go to a charity, and this is the second year it will be occurring. We are hoping to start a lasting tradition that will encourage giving while also giving the seniors a chance to purge themselves of clutter! While this is a great way to leave things we do not need behind, it is also a great excuse to reflect on non-material things that we are leaving behind and what we are taking with us.
There are many things that we learned during our time here that we will take with us for the rest of our lives. Sure, all the technical skills that we learned are extremely important. That is a given fact. I like to focus on the more important things that cannot be taught in a classroom in one day, but must be learned over time. I remember one clinician telling me to trust in my education and know that I will be able to solve the problems that present themselves to me. To me, this emphasized that while I may not remember every single fact, I know how to solve medical problems. That skill is worth its weight in gold and cannot be substituted.
What about the things we do not want to bring with us? I remember the complete and utter exhaustion associated with our class and clinics schedule. That is something I wanted to drop like a bad habit and I have now that our clinic rotations have settled down. The interesting thing is the residual sense of guilt about not working like a dog that made you forget about many things in life outside. I see many of my classmates still trapped in the cycle. Maybe they will never get out of it. All I know is that I look forward to a career of health and hard work, not exhaustion and despair.