We are nearing the end of a semester; for some this will be the break before the start of vet school and other’s are nearing the start of an(other) application cycle. No matter where you are in your journey, it’s always best to remember the real meaning of self-care and the importance of taking a break every once in a while. More often than not, pre-vet students (Hell, pre-med students in general) have this concept of what makes the perfect applicant.
What grade can I get, what can I do, what award/certificate can I win that will better my value to other schools? What will make me more competitive and well-rounded? What grade do I need on my final to get an A/B/C in the class? Where else can I apply for volunteering/shadowing/employment in a clinic? etc. etc.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. You can be the best applicant possible and someone is more preferred in some other way/shape/form. And, you can’t be successful in all your endeavors if you wear yourself down too thin. I almost did just that this semester, I fell behind in studying
Now, let’s not take this as I’m saying grades aren’t important; that it’s okay to glide by with Cs. That is not what you should take from this! School is still very important to me, it’s an experience, it’s my education, and I don’t plan on taking it for granted. My undergraduate courses have/are setting the foundation for what vet school will use to build my knowledge upon. But getting home after working 18 hour shifts has taught me that taking care of myself isn’t selfish. I shouldn’t feel guilty for taking
a day or two off to sleep, rest; do things I find enjoyable.
It’s when you don’t take care of your mind and body that your light burns out. There should be absolutely zero shame involved with taking a break or saying “no” to staying late. Take pride in your abilities and learn this lesson early, stop and take time for yourself. If you feel like your light is burning out, do not be afraid to reach out to people: family, friends, coworkers, professors, peers, etc. Heck, you could even find a veterinary professionals group online and feel free to reach out! We are all in this together and we’ve all experienced similar things before, utilize us and lean on us for support! We are in this field together.
With how much of ourselves we give to every client/patient, it is a necessity in order for our survival. Not only do our clients and patients deserve better, but so do we (veterinary professionals of all sorts).
We are at our best when we are well fed, rested, and refreshed. We cannot sufficiently serve from an empty vessel.