Surviving Your First Year at Vet School

They say that getting into veterinary school is the hardest part. But it can be a huge adjustment transitioning from your undergrad years. With more responsibilities to juggle this time around, and a very rigorous workload, making sure that you have a healthy work/life balance is key to being successful.

Make the most out of your first year with these vet school hacks from veterinarians who remember the struggle all too well (and what they wish someone had told them sooner!)

  • laptop study stationCreate a Study Plan. Kienan Gold, DVM, a recent graduate from Harris Boulevard Veterinary Clinic in Charlotte, NC, says that time becomes your most valuable asset in vet school, so make sure you are prioritizing your studies. Don't abandon all of your hobbies – but some of them may have to take a back seat while you figure out how to prepare effectively for classes and exams. You can also look for study groups to join to help keep you on track.

  • Balance Work and Play. Molly King, DVM, another recent grad and veterinarian at Oaks Veterinary Hospital in Gainesville, FL warns you’ll go nuts if you don’t take some time to enjoy yourself and relax. Have fun getting to know your classmates and make new friends. You’ll miss them after graduation!

  • Put Good In. Eating well while studying and on the go can be tough. But if you keep healthy snacks on hand, like nuts, granola bars and fruit, you can help keep junk food at bay. Meal prepping and making sure that you always have a healthy breakfast can also help to set you up for success.

  • Get Plenty of Sleep. You will retain more information and focus better if you get in your Zzz’s. Even if it’s just for a 20 minute nap, or a full night’s rest, make sure your room is dark and that your screens (phones included) are turned off, so there are no distractions.

  • Learn From Others. Another tip from Dr. King is to always take the opportunity to learn from your professors, house mates, technicians and anyone else you may come across. Their experiences and insight can help you choose your own path, like which externships to take. They may even help you land your first job out of school.


Remember that you aren’t alone! It can be hard adjusting to first year at vet school, but there are plenty of other students that are probably in the same boat. Believe in yourself, and you will go far. 

Good luck, and keep pursuing your dreams!