Starting the New Year Right

Jan. 5, 2023

With a new year comes new possibilities. Discover how you can start your year off on the right foot.

dog sunrise

To ring in the New Year, we asked our University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine staff to share their top suggestions for making 2023 our best year yet. Whether you plan to apply to veterinary school or are already a VetCat, start the year off right with these insights into veterinary school applications, learning styles, and mental health.  

Preparing Your Application 

We asked our Director of Admissions, Katie Beringson, for insight into crafting an application to be proud of. Here’s what she shared. 

What should applicants keep in mind as VMCAS opens for 2023?  

  • Start the application now! VMCAS requires a lot of preliminary information aside from general college-specific requests. The deadline to apply to your desired schools is not until September, but it will sneak up on you quickly. Utilize your time to work on required sections and update your application as needed. You can start the VMCAS application now and still volunteer or work at clinics or offices with a veterinarian. 
  • Reach out to prior institutions and ask about their official transcript process. VMCAS will want to see every class you have ever taken at a university or community college. Sending transcripts to VMCAS is a timely process, so the sooner you send them, the less worry you will have as deadlines approach. Also, be sure you know your application GPA. Visit VMCAS to learn more about how your overall and science GPAs are calculated. 
  • We do not require a completed degree to apply, but we strongly emphasize our prerequisite and GPA requirements. Applicants should only have two prerequisites in progress when they submit their application. If you have questions about our requirements, ask us! Our website also has course guides for Arizona community colleges and universities.  

What advice do you have for applicants as they start their application process?  

  • Researching why our program best fits your interests and values is essential to the application process. Veterinary school is a significant investment of time and money, so it’s important to love the school you choose to spend your next three years.  
  • Register to attend one of our virtual Information sessions or campus tours. We love to talk with prospective students and provide information about our program. Visit our website calendar to find a time that works best for you!  

Start Your Application Today

Enhance Your Learning Skills  

We believe it is essential to support students in their efforts to set themselves up for success, so we talked with Amy Rowe, our Student Support Specialist, about steps individuals can take to grow and improve their learning habits. Amy understands that students need to be strategic and mindful about their approach to academics to be at their best. Here’s what she had to say. 

What advice do you give applicants and students working to improve and prepare themselves for a graduate program?  

  • It’s essential to find someone who believes in you at school. This can be a faculty member, upperclassman, administrator, or staff. Having someone who understands the curriculum and the pace and who you can count on to be supportive and encouraging is vital to overall success. 
  • Open yourself up to new learning strategies. Watch YouTube videos for veterinary AND medical students on how they learn. Familiarize yourself with study strategies like spaced repetition and interleaving, look at various notetaking techniques, and think about how you will adjust your studying to be less focused on short-term retention and more focused on long-term. A great book on learning is Make it Stick by Brown, Roediger and McDaniel, and a great mini course is “Learning How to Learn” through Coursera (it’s free!). 
  • Prime your brain for learning. Start by listening to veterinary podcasts, reading case studies and journals, and reverse engineering cases you see in clinics back to the foundational principles that cause things to happen.  
  • Recognize that you are a unique learner and what works for everyone else may not work for you.  Think of things you learned well and efficiently – what strategies worked for you?   

Reset Your Wellness This Year 

With a new year comes new opportunities to grow and refocus our well-being. With wellness as an essential part of our program, we asked our mental health and wellness team for tips to stay mentally healthy throughout the ups and downs of veterinary student life. Shawna Chesley-Kroh and Melanie Epstein, mental health providers at CVM, shared some strategies for creating a great start this year.  

What are the best tips for starting the year with a positive frame of mind?  

  • Re-evaluate social media and remove unhealthy people or groups.  
  • Exercise your mind and body! Remember to engage in mindfulness and physical activity. 
  • Talk about your feelings.  
  • Set limits for time on electronics such as phones, computers, and video games. 
  • Challenge yourself not to compare yourself to others. 

How can applicants and current students refocus on their well-being to start the year?  

  • Keep a gratitude and/or accomplishments journal. 
  • Start a new healthy and fun hobby. 
  • Practice self-care! Remember to sleep, eat healthy, hydrate, take breaks between studying, spend time with family and friends, and give yourself time alone if needed. 
  • Create a vision board for 2023. 
  • Practice goodwill. We often feel good when we do something nice for others. 
  • Create short-term (1-2 months out), mid-term (3-5 months out), and long-term goals (6-12 months out) that are realistic and doable to feel a sense of accomplishment and direction. 
  • Implement healthy boundaries between school, work, and personal life. 

With these insights from our incredible staff, we are excited to make 2023 our best year yet with our amazing VetCats! Stay healthy, plan effectively, and look out for all the upcoming occasions to put your best foot forward in our New Year.