Reflections on 1st Year

Reflections on 1st Year

Time flies, they say, but for me the last year of veterinary school has consisted of a long string of transitions and new beginnings. I was ready to endure the long hours of work with limited reward, but there were a few other obstacles that I had to navigate my first year at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

School Life vs. Personal Life

One of the hardest parts of adjusting to life as a vet student is the constant battle to separate your personal life from your “work” life. Once you arrive at school, you’re immediately surrounded by 95 other students around the same age as you and with a common purpose. It’s a great gift to have a built-in community of people who are experiencing the same ups-and-downs you are, and it can make studying for that next anatomy test close to bearable. However, as with any close-knit family there can be disputes or disagreements, and it is imperative to remember to separate whatever happens outside of class from the professional endeavor that you’ve all agreed to be a part of. Remember that these people are going to be your friends, coworkers and colleagues for the rest of your professional career.


I put the question mark at the end because when I started school last fall I was entirely unsure of whether I would be able to hold down a job while also committing to the intense class load. However, I can personally attest to the fact that having a job during your first year of vet school will have its benefits. I work as a student representative for Cummings Voices and really enjoy being able to encourage students to share their stories while also stretching my creative muscles and sharing my own experiences. Some other opportunities include working in the small or large animal hospital, helping in the wildlife clinic, and assisting in the library. Cummings School offers students so many different ways to get involved with the community, why not be a part of it?


Here’s a sticky subject. Some people were 100% gung-ho about joining a club or running for a leadership position at the start of the year, but others found that clubs were difficult to work into their already busy days. I landed somewhere in the middle and belonged to a number of clubs, but was not able to participate in a leadership role as I would have liked simply because my attention was focused on classes. Near the end of this year I did feel comfortable signing up to take a position on the SAVMA committee, and since I know how much I can handle outside of my class load, I feel confident enough to take on that larger role. Keep in mind that even if you don’t want a leadership position, there are tons of field trips, wet labs and tours that become available to members of particular clubs. Don’t be afraid to try a few the first year and figure out which ones you’re most passionate about!


Sustaining relationships during veterinary school was definitely the hardest part for me. Relationships can be defined as parents, significant others, friends, children, really anyone that was a part of your life before coming to school. With vet school being such a time commitment I really had to be conscious and deliberate in keeping up with the people that mattered most to me. Sometimes it would mean choosing not to study for an afternoon to catch up with a friend, or skipping that extra hour of sleep to make sure my boyfriend and I could say goodnight on the phone. A quick pep talk from my support system outside of school was so beneficial to me throughout my first year, and it’s important to remember that these people helped get you to where you are today.