For those who are new here, my name is Sarah and I am currently in my 4th year here at the Dick Vet. I am originally from Canada, but have now lived in Edinburgh for 3 years, and am loving it!
This week is filled with exams for 4th years, including practical and written tests. I thought that since this is a stressful time for us, I would share how I deal with stress throughout vet school.
Stress is definitely a factor in any degree, and unfortunately something that is present in most life stages. I have found that I needed to make more clear strategies for myself throughout vet school in order to get a head start in dealing with stress, as the veterinary career will continue to have trying events.
Recently, I have begun getting into meditation, and although I am still learning I have already found it helpful. I particularly find it useful before exams, as it resets my breath and helps to focus in on something other than school. In addition, with spring starting to make an appearance, outside time has been a constant coping mechanism throughout my degree. I especially enjoy going for a walk after stressful exams, in order to calm myself and put the events of the exam in the past. It is incredibly easy to continue to mull over what you wrote/ did during an exam (which I still do!), however walking outside helps me to clear my mind and focus on the outside.
Although schedules are helpful for some people, I personally find them quite restricting and they increase my stress if I fall behind on them. Instead, I like to have a rough idea of all of the material I need to cover, and work through it methodically and go at a pace that seems sensible. Similarly, I find planning my day helpful, in which I incorporate regular breaks (especially during COVID), that help me stay sane.
Lastly, I think it is important to say that stress is normal, especially during a professional degree. If you are struggling with the level of stress, likely some of your friends are as well. It is always helpful to relate to friends who are going through the same thing, and can complain with you!
I hope that you can also head outside for a walk, or do whatever brings you peace to help lessen the stress!