Hi there! My name is Kenzie and I’m currently at the tail end of my fourth year here at RDSVS and gearing up for final year prep and final year rotations.
As I’ve wrapped up my last semester of formal lectures, I’m really taking some time to reflect on how far I’ve come and the importance of celebrating my achievements, because I’ve worked hard to get where I am and it bears recognition!
One of the biggest things I would go back and tell my younger self is to really make the effort to feel proud of myself at each and every milestone. When I finished high school, I didn’t really think the graduation ceremony was a big deal because I’d already gotten accepted into university. When I finished my Bachelor’s degree, I almost didn’t even go to the ceremony. I’d already been accepted into vet school so I felt like that was what I had to focus on. The summer between finishing that degree and moving to Edinburgh to start vet school was far too heavily focused on “what do I need to do next” rather than recognizing the major accomplishment that is attaining a degree – any degree!
Those examples I just gave are biggies. Most people would and should celebrate graduations with a bit of pomp and circumstance. But when talking about celebrating milestones, I want you to celebrate EVERY milestone. Writing an exam, submitting a paper, your first time putting in an intravenous catheter, getting through a particularly difficult week with a lots of 9am lectures – all of those are worthy of taking a little bit of time to feel proud of yourself. Because all of the little achievements build up to the major ones.
“Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more.” – Louis L’Amour
The action of appreciating your small wins can take many forms. I’ve celebrating finishing a semester with a hike, a wine and movie night with friends, a trip to Germany, a pint of ice cream in bed and a reality TV marathon. And all were excellent! I also think that keeping a journal can help you reflect on how you felt at past moments and can help you recognize how far you’ve come.
A tradition at the Dick Vet is that on the last day of formal lectures of the degree, which happens in March of fourth year (third year for us GEPs), the entire class dresses up in animal onesies for the day. Because of the pandemic, this was the first time that (most of) our entire class was in one room for the last lecture and then all outside together to take a class photo, it was so exciting coming together for that day of celebration.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to let yourself feel some relief and joy in celebrating a feat of ANY size, before immediately stressing out about the next thing on the to-do list (which I know is so easy to do as an over-achieving vet student). For me, it’s easy to feel a bit daunted by the prospect of final year rotations and beyond as a new grad. However, I can think back on that one particularly difficult semester that I overcame or an EMS placement that challenged me but taught me a lot, and think about how I’ve made it through those and learned so much since then. So I can make it through what’s ahead.
By making a point to mark the little milestones you’ve hit, at any point in your veterinary journey and in life you should be able to look back and think “well look how far I’ve come!”
So celebrate those little things. 🙂