It’s springtime, which means first-year vet students are finding their stride, second and third-years have their heads in the books and are going pedal to the metal, and fourth-years have a serious case of senioritis. But one thing we all may have in common is that we’re pretty burnt out on the whole vet school thing. You may be feeling apathetic, beyond exhausted, or questioning why you started vet school in the first place.
Let me reassure you that this is a totally normal feeling. But just because it’s normal does not mean you shouldn’t address these feelings. Feeling like you’re over it can be the start of much more serious feelings and actions like depression, quitting school, and even suicidal thoughts.
Here are few ideas to help you get out of a rut. The sooner you realize you need a pick-me-up, the sooner you can start to turn it around.
Tip #1: Talk to Someone
Find a friend or mental health professional. One of the best things you can do is just let it out. Having someone listen to your thoughts and be a sounding board can make you feel so much better and put things into perspective. Forget any stigma you think there is about seeing a psychologist, therapist, etc. Check your ego at the door because these amazing mental health professionals can work magic.
Tip #2: Remember Your “Why”
Personally speaking, I have gotten down on myself especially when I lose sight of why I wanted to become a veterinarian. If you find yourself forgetting what energized you to get into this profession, take a step back and try to find that again. Putting thoughts to paper, talking to past and present mentors, and even talking to your parents can help reignite your “why.”
Tip #3: Be Selfish
First things first: look out for yourself. If you are not taken care of, nothing else you do can be taken care of. If that means turning down friends for a night out, do it. If that means asking a professor or clinician for a day off (aka a mental health day), do it. If that means asking to move an exam date, do it. Asking for things can be scary, but you’d be surprised how understanding people can be (especially in veterinary medicine).
Tip #4: Take a Break
Of all the tips on this list, this may the most difficult to do. Obviously, we don’t have the luxury to take a week off school, but even just a weekend doing nothing relating to vet school can give you the necessary recharge. But if you can even take a night off from the grind, do it. As vet students, we get so used to doing nothing but vet school all day every day. If this is you, you know how quickly this can lead to burnout. Try to have a night off every week. It’ll make a huge difference.
What do you do when you’re feeling down and out? Comment below!