Imposter Syndrome: Too Early?

I’m in over my head . . . and they’re going to find out. That was probably one of the first thoughts that ran through my head when I got my acceptance call to vet school. It’s continued to play on repeat for these past few months, so I decided to talk to the doctors at work about my hesitation.

One doctor made me explore my feelings of anxiety, perfectionism, self-doubt, and the fear of failure. He made me examine the reasoning I had for such feelings about myself in vet school; especially when I practice as a vet tech almost every day. I’m working with patients every day, monitoring anesthesia and giving drugs that, if I’m not careful, could end badly. Every day I deal with a healthy dose of fear with what I do, but this is just an evolved version of this fear.

No one likes to fail, no one likes to make a mistake, no one likes to not know something. However, I think that those of us that decide to pursue our love of medicine may have amplified fears of the above mentioned. I know I’m not the only one whose recently expressed thoughts of self-doubt, not only in my class but I’m sure in the other schools as well. Right now a decent amount of c/o 2022 students may be falling down the same rabbit hole I am. Some of us may be expecting horrendous failure when we get into school, while others may feel as if their acceptance was a mistake; like on orientation day faculty will be waiting in the wings to swoop and inform us of the unfortunate circumstances.

I’m a solid two weeks away from orientation and starting my first quarter. Nerves and excitement are building and set to explode within the next week or so, I can only be grateful for my support system dealing with my chaotic mood swings; my vet school nesting. Every time I’m out and about, I can’t help but gravitate towards planners, school materials, notebooks, etc. wanting to make sure I’m the utmost prepared for vet school. Even though I know nothing can prepare me for what I’m about to face, I can try. In a sense, I feel trying also helps the imposter syndrome nerves; of course my SO is keeping those anxious feelings in check.

Just remember, we are all here for a reason, the committee saw something in all of us that said we’d not only be successful in vet school, but we will make great veterinarians! Don’t let the little voice in your head steer you wrong, the committee is experienced and has an eye for admirable qualities. Those qualities may be harder to see in yourself; you may find yourself thinking: “I’m so plain, nothing but white rice,” even though it isn’t true because, turn around and, sure enough, there it is. There’s the plum. So if you find yourself doubting, or even comparing yourself to your classmates . . . well, then, it’s probably because it’s easier to see the plum on someone else’s back than it is on your own.

 

Until Next Time,

The Importance of Self-Care

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.

 

Until then,