As the fall semester of my third year comes to a close, I’ve taken a little bit of time to reflect on this year and this semester. If someone had told me when I started veterinary school in 2018 that my third year would be conducted mostly online in the face of a pandemic, I wouldn’t have believed them. But here we are, and I have nearly completed this strange semester. Here are my survival tips for the classes to come who may also face more semesters of online school.
- Invest in good technology. Even when things were “normal” I spent many hours of my day in front of my computer. But now that many lectures are online, exams are paperless, and learning is virtual, I can’t explain how much easier it is to have a computer with the processing power to keep up. One of my biggest pieces of advice for incoming first years is to not skimp on buying a good laptop. They can be expensive, but you can ask friends and family to help donate to the cause, and student loans can help cover the difference. Not worrying about running audio lectures at the same time that I’m trying to take notes and check my email is well worth the extra money.
- Set a routine. Whether you are in all virtual classes or doing a mix of virtual and in-person, try to make a routine that works for you. For me, that has meant getting up with my alarm at the same time every day, whether it was my week to go to in-person school or not. I also try to eat meals around the same time each day and plan my studying around those times.
- Take time away from your computer. This might be the most important one for me. After a morning sitting at my computer watching lectures, then immediately to an afternoon sitting at my computer to study, it gets very overwhelming trying to keep going. I have to remind myself to get up, stretch, take my dogs for a walk outside, or do something other than stare at my screen. Taking some time for YOU is the most important thing to keep going during this weird year.
Having to do vet school online is not anything I ever would have expected when I started this journey. But, I am finding ways to make it work. These are my tips for making it work for you!