By now just about everyone should have already forgotten about last week’s chem lab test (no one found the new equilibrium section easy, so don’t fret!) and the cells lab theory test on Monday (multi-choice questions, YAS!). And as well as that most of us should have just about finished our last lab classes and have tucked those tattered, stained lab books away somewhere safe. Or, alternatively, if you’re extremely messy like me, they’re strewn across the living room floor in such a way that it’s impossible to walk in a straight line from one side of the room to the other without stepping on one.
*Coughs* Ah, back to the main topic. I’m sure you all have already heard how much you need to study and how important it is that you start doing it right now, so I’m going to reinforce that idea just one more time. Start your study now! We only have to keep working extremely hard for the next three weeks and after that we’re free to do whatever we want – we can watch all the YouTube videos we like, we can stay up past midnight to watch TV shows instead of trying to revise for lab quizzes or finish our online physics quiz, and sleep til noon every day without having to get up for lectures.
But here are also a few things that are just as important as revision to ensure that you’re in tip-top condition from before your first and up until your last exam!
When we think of winter, we think COLD. And possibly the movie Frozen – who doesn’t love Frozen? But then after that, maybe we think of short days, chilly wind, endless rain, maybe even snow (though the last time we had snow in Palmy was 5 years ago and that only lasted for less than a day). So, we have to dress warm!
- Wear two layers of socks (a layer of thin socks with a pair of thick woollen socks over the top makes for the best feet warmers) if you are prone to getting chilblain like I am every winter – chilblain is not fun. And you don’t want your toes to be itchy during your exams.
- Also, slippers! Time to bring out the cutest/craziest/fluffiest slippers you can get your hands on – or rather, your feet into. Ha. Ha.
- thermal tops and leggings,
- hot water bottles wrapped in blankets that you can cuddle,
- extra blankets and duvets to cocoon yourself in,
- and most importantly – gloves! The blood circulation in my hands isn’t amazing (so chilblain again), so on a winter day you’ll most likely find me trying to warm up my ice-cold hands with gloves in vain. If your hands are always warm all year around – no worries here then! But for those prone to getting cold hands, you’ll need to carry gloves around with you everywhere – more importantly, to the exams too! Nothing’s worse than trying to answer your exam paper when your hands are too cold to even grip your pen properly.
Wow this looks like a camping gear list…
Having downtime in between study sessions is important – it is in no way healthy to study for 8 hours a day without having any breaks. You’ll just burn yourself out and make yourself too tired to study the next day, which in turn means you’re losing precious study time.
Do something creative – learn to knit yourself a scarf, colour in a page from an adult colouring book, learn a new piece on the guitar if you have one, or watch half an episode of your favourite show (and then finish the second half after you study for another 40 minutes or so).
Doing some yoga is also a good idea. Not only will you be keeping yourself in shape, you’ll feel much more awake after doing some nice cat poses or downward dog poses (because since we’re pre-vets we’ll tend to like animal-related things more, no?). There’s also the option of going out for a short walk – the cold will definitely wake you up.
Also, if you have a pet, be it a chicken, grumpy cat, hyper dog, or antisocial bunny, go and cuddle them and you’ll end up calming your exam nerves too!
3. Healthy Things
You know the drill – lots of fruits and vegetables! Vitamin C supplements are also good for helping to prevent colds. You know what else is good on a cold day? Tea! Especially green tea – you will never hear the end of the benefits of green tea, including improved brain function, bacterial infection prevention, boosting your metabolic rate to help burn fat, and also slowing down signs of aging in your skin (including the prevention of wrinkles from forming). If you tend to get hungry while studying, snack on a banana, or keep a bag of scroggin on your desk to munch on (don’t put too much chocolate in there though! Try replacing chocolate with dried fruit – much more healthy).
Yep. Sleep. Sleep is not for the weak. “Sleep is an investment in the energy you need to be effective tomorrow.” We all have something called a sleep debt, which basically means that every hour or minute you lose of sleep continues building up until you sleep it off. The greater your sleep debt (i.e. sleep deprivation) is, the more and more difficult it becomes to concentrate, socialise and stay awake. If you’re sleep deprived you become a lot less productive too. So the moral of the story is to get enough sleep (7-9 hours for most adults 18-64 years old)! However, oversleeping is not an option either. Oversleeping can lead to the same problems as being sleep deprived, so make sure you force yourself to get up as soon as your alarm clock goes off after 7-9 hours!
Pre-Vet has certainly been a very interesting ride, filled with the good times and the bad, but you can’t spend every waking moment stressing yourself out with worries about whether or not you’ll make it in. You get to meet many people from all over New Zealand as well as overseas, all of whom love animals as much as you do, so be sure to make friends and enjoy uni life! All those rumours of pre-vets sabotaging each other haven’t been proven to be true during my 11-ish weeks, so don’t get too caught up by rumours.
If you get in, it’ll be entirely the result of all of your good organisation and hard work. If you don’t, that just means that you didn’t spend enough time preparing yourself for all of the lab tests and quizzes, semester tests, and the final exams. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of your potential successful veterinary career! There’s no limit to the number you can retry, and I’ve heard from 4th year vet students that it isn’t uncommon at all for many people to get in on their second, third or even fourth time. So next semester I’ll be back, hopefully as a successful pre-vet student who’s made it to the next round!
Good luck with all of your exams, and take good care of your health!