Tips for Surviving Veterinary School

We know that veterinary school is a challenging time for everyone to endure. It can be scary for some but exciting at the same time. While in the midst of it all, sometimes it even seems overwhelming for most. The first year, however, is rigorous and demanding. You may even wonder “how am I going to make it through this?” or “what did I just get myself into?” This blog is all about tips for surviving veterinary school. 

 1.     Time Management

Everyone has heard this tip before, but it’s important to remember that time management looks different for everyone. Keeping a physical planner may work for some, while a digital calendar can be more useful for others. Either option can be a very effective technique for scheduling out your semester. A personal favorite is the Outlook calendar because it’s directly compatible with our school’s academic calendar, but Google calendar and Apple calendar are great options, as well. However, you choose to schedule your time, remember to leave yourself time for the activities that make you happy! 

 2.     Be Intentional

Remember to be intentional with the time you’ve scheduled. This can seem obvious, but it is so important to know what keeps you focused and what doesn’t. Social media can be an incredibly useful tool, but it can also be very distracting when you’re trying to study. If you’re finding yourself consistently sidetracked, Focus Keeper is a great option to help keep you focused. It follows the Pomodoro method giving you 25 minutes of study with 5-minute breaks until you’ve finished 4 study sessions. After you’ve completed 4 study sessions, you’re rewarded with a 30-minute break. The times are all adjustable, so you can customize the app to make it work for you! 

3.     Join Clubs and Organizations 

Get involved! There are so many clubs and social organizations at your school that can give you more experience in areas that interest you. Wet labs and meetings are incredible opportunities that give you access to hands-on experiences that you won’t be offered in your academic courses. Participating in these events will also give you the chance to meet other people in your program that share your interests. If you’re feeling like you want even more involvement, don’t hesitate to apply for leadership positions, they can be a fulfilling way to get even more engaged with your program! 

4.     Take a Deep Breath Before Exams

Don’t forget to breathe. The moments before you start an exam can be some of the most stressful times in your didactic year. Remember that you were accepted into your program, and you bring value to your school regardless of how you do on this exam. This one test grade will not make or break your veterinary career. The 4-7-8 technique is great to help with test anxiety: inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds.  

5.     Know When to Ask for Help

It is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed when you’re in a professional program, and you are not alone in feeling that way. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your personal support system for help when you need a reminder of why you’re here! It is also a great idea to establish a relationship with your CVM’s counseling service. They are there to help you succeed, whether that looks like developing better time management strategies or discussing your personal struggles. Remember: everyone wants you to succeed and arming yourself with a strong support network will definitely help you do that!

Tips are Always Helpful! 

While there were only a few different tips that were covered in this blog, we hope that it will aid and motivate you throughout your first (and following) years of veterinary school. There are many resources available to veterinary students; know when to ask for help in finding them. The connections made throughout you are in the clubs and organizations can also be extremely helpful to ease the stress that you are going through. Remember, if you have a question, someone else probably is too. Ask the questions that you aren’t sure of the answer too. Veterinary school is a time to learn as much about your future career as possible. We hope that this blog was helpful in learning about five different things that could help you be successful in veterinary school.


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