I did not accumulate the most impressive GPA during undergraduate school, but I was still fairly competitive. When it came to the animal science courses specifically, I will be honest, I was pretty cutthroat. I was one of those cringy students that would argue for every extra point I could get, because I was determined to get into veterinary school. However, once I got in, I realized that they had handpicked a lot of students who were at the top of their class. And as Syndrome from Mr. Incredible says “when everyone is super, no one is.”
I had to get used to a few C’s REAL QUICK. For the longest time, I felt too guilty to go to the gym, to cook a real meal, to watch a movie or to get a full night’s sleep because I should be studying instead, right? It took me months to be able to wrap my brain around the fact that my grade does not directly correlate to how good of a veterinarian I will be. And (because I’m not pursuing a specialty), it is unlikely that anyone will ever ask what my GPA from veterinary school was. Once I had this epiphany, my blood pressure dropped substantially back to baseline.
Wellness discussions have become a hot topic in recent years in veterinary medicine. I mean, what is expected when Type A academically inclined students are selected and put through a rigorous four-year program then often sent out into the world where they are unlikely to be able to practice the level of medicine that they have been taught? It can be quite a stress-fest. This is something I wish I had prepared for as a pre-veterinary student. Looking back, I would have made it more of a priority to study for my future patients, not study for the grade. This switch in mentality as well as a few self-care practices have helped me substantially with my mental health through school.