Whether you are a crammer, procrastinator, a “gunner,” or just a combination of all the above the first round of exams are difficult in veterinary school. (A word to the wise if you’re applying to veterinary school, learn to manage your time proficiently). It’s not like the material is too complex or difficult to learn, although primary afferent neurons aren’t quite a piece of cake, it’s that the amount of information can quickly become overwhelming. So here are some tips I would like to share based on how I’ve adapted to manage a challenging course load.
Your brain is a machine that needs the right fuel and maintenance to perform optimally. I’m sure you’ve heard your parents tell you to get to bed early and eat right; but trust me, it makes all the difference. After my first week of three tests I felt like a zombie in the Walking Dead. It took me a few days to recoup before I figured out that balanced meals, hydration, exercise, and rest were the limiting reagents in my weekly routine.
With the next round of tests this week I didn’t have much time to change my approach, but I’m making the effort, and it’s helped. I’ve blocked my schedule by the hour to allow time to hit the gym, study for Histology (just a bunch of pink and purple squiggles!), and have cut down on my coffee consumption. The result, I did really well on my first exam this week and have felt a lot less anxious. What’s best, I feel like I have more energy to listen and retain information in class instead of going home to consult doctor Google.
I encourage you to make the effort to take care of yourself. The profession is demanding and this first lesson in self-care is an important one. Besides, vet school is the coolest place you could be. Let yourself enjoy it!