With less than three weeks left of my fourth and final year of veterinary school, the reality of being a doctor is starting to set in. I may not be going directly into practice (internship), but I will still face many of the same challenges and responsibilities of any new grad. That being said, I need to start considering how I plan on surviving the next year and the rest of my life as a veterinarian.
Internships are tough. Much of my time will be spent in the hospital with a few days off each week. I choose a practice with a large breadth of specialists, so I can maximize my learning opportunities. This also means that each day will be full of challenging cases and lots of work. I’m ready to meet the challenge headfirst, but burnout is still a real fear. Fourth-year has been tough and I can only imagine my internship year being even more difficult. I’m thrilled to be thrown into a busy practice. I am happy to put in hard work and long hours to learn optimally, but this will put me at increased risk of being worn down. Some degree of exhaustion is expected but burn out can easily sneak up on us. For this reason, we need to devote ourselves to self-care.
Self-care is different for everyone. For me, it is sleeping in, exercising, beauty routines, nights out with friends, etc. I know some of these rituals may have to take the backburner for the next year, but I can certainly prioritize my free time and still make some time for myself. I will spend the next two months I have after finishing veterinary school to come up with a plan to stay healthy during my internship. This is crucial to a year and even a lifetime of success.