Keep learning. Always keep learning. Never stop learning. As my parents would always say, be a sponge. Always be a sponge. Never ever stop being a sponge.
So, the textbooks are closed, exams are done, and the clouds of anxiety looming overhead before assignment due dates have finally cleared. All is sunny, all is calm, all is great. But not for long because the tropical thunderstorm of new knowledge and real clinical experience is fast approaching. The time to become a clinician – a mindful, analytical, tactful, inquisitive, slow-speaking clinician – is now.
Now is the time to remember, as you begin to weather the hurricane of your new veterinary career, that stagnation is the antithesis of growth. I can sit here and type out a handful of metaphors involving budding flowers, and “asking why,” and being lazy, and obviously sponges but they would all lead to the same powerful, aforementioned conclusion. I could also use the synonyms function on Microsoft Word and include words like inactivity, unproductivity, worsening, and failure but this, too, would lead to the same end. I feel you get the point.
As we can all understand, we cannot become expert clinicians without continuing our education, soaking up all the knowledge around us, constantly asking why, and doing all we can to avoid stagnation. If we do these things we will grow (quite easily, perhaps) socially, intellectually, communicatively, and professionally. So, with this in mind, go ahead and reopen those textbooks, subscribe to journals, join veterinary organizations, listen to podcasts, and open discussion with like-minded veterinary professionals. Be a sponge in a hurricane.
In closing, your clinical oeuvre is in its infancy and it needs to be constantly inundated with information and experience daily to become the masterpiece it is destined to be. So, try not to be a dried-up sponge after graduation. If you are asking yourself “now what?” just remind yourself not to be a dried-up sponge. No one likes a nasty, flaky, dried-up sponge and you probably do not either.