Time to reflect for vet students

Kirstie PicklesIn this blog, Vetlife Trustee Kirstie Pickles encourages vet students to take the time to reflect on their experiences, and to celebrate their achievements. 

As you come to the end of another year at vet school, albeit a disrupted and strange one, take time to reflect on the progress you have made. Progress, like people, life, and careers, can look different for everyone. You have had to find new ways to connect and learn and survive a series of extremely difficult and challenging situations. You will have completed many hours of lectures (probably all virtual this year), practicals, and study time. You may also have been able to complete placements around lockdowns and restrictions. You will have learnt so many new facts, practiced techniques, shared so many experiences with your colleagues that you have literally fired and wired new neuronal connections in your brain!

“What seems pivotally important now, will seem almost inconsequential in 10 years time.”

You may have just completed your first year, in which case, well done, you’re one fifth of your way to being a qualified vet! You may have just passed your finals and realised your life ambition, amazing! You may have failed your finals and be contemplating resits. I have known many great vets who failed their finals first time, don’t worry, you are in great company! And believe me, it will not affect your career. I know vets who failed their finals who are now Professors at University or working for the United Nations. What seems pivotally important now, will seem almost inconsequential in 10 years time.

Many exams this year have been open book. For some students, this has caused feelings of imposter syndrome. Have you really passed your exams if you had a book on hand? The short answer here is yes! Exam questions were formatted this year with open book in mind so that they required some assimilating information and interpreting it. You still put in the work and answered the questions. And guess what, you can use books in practice too! I was always popping out of the consulting room to look up the dose of a drug. It is far more important to get a drug dose right than to not want to look it up.

Whatever the stage of your vet school journey, take the time to congratulate yourself on all you have achieved this year.


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