You don’t truly appreciate the level of function you are working at in veterinary school until you slow it down and then speed it back up again. The way of daily life in veterinary school has been the biggest change in my life in the past year. You don’t sincerely know what hard work is until you begin pushing yourself in your courses and your studying. After a while of the new higher level of functioning, you eventually get use to it, go numb in a way. No longer are you realizing that you just spent eight hours in class and lab, an additional hour at the gym, and two hours of studying. It becomes so routine that you no longer feel the dread of fatigue and just prepare for another day of the same.
And then summer break releases. Suddenly, you don’t know what to do for the first few days. You feel the desire to do something. With no longer having a goal to reach or a test to take, I found it difficult to deal with the lack of pressure and stress and to just r e l a x.
After a couple weeks of trying to use my free time to relax, I started my summer job learning the goals and operations of veterinarian’s roles in food safety and inspection. With demanding hours of waking up at 4 am and mentally taxing tasks, I found myself enjoying the work and fulfilling my desire to work towards something. But the crazy morning hours and the demanding work came with fatigue. Coming home after only eight hours of work but being completely exhausted was something new to me. In vet school, I still had the energy to finish my studying, go to the gym, cook dinner and set an hour of free time to the side for myself – but finding that energy now seemed nearly impossible.
Vet school changes you in more ways than you think. Slowly, I was able to adapt to the demands of school and run on an adrenaline-like high for nearly eight months as I pushed myself. Veterinary school will change the way you think, the way you problem solve, the way you communicate, and the way you prioritize, but most importantly, the way you handle stress.