#8: Remember that veterinary medicine is what you do, not who you are.
Life balance is one of the biggest issues facing many people, and vets are no exception. We go into this profession knowing that we will work long hours and make a fraction of the salary as our colleagues in the human field. This is our choice, and one driven by compassion and dedication. However, the emotions that push us into the field of animal medicine over human medicine can also lead us to focus more on our job than our lives. Finding that balance is tough, and something that I'm still working on 12 years after graduation. But it's very important, even more so as my kids grow older. If you focus only on your work to the detriment of your private life, you will find yourself burned out and lonely. Go to work and work hard. But when you leave, truly try to leave it behind. You don't have to live, breathe, and eat veterinary medicine 24/7. It's okay to have a life outside of work, and even *gasp* put that life AHEAD of work.
So that's my last bit of advice (for now) for those wanting to or about to enter the world as veterinarians. I hope this has been a bit of an insight for the laypeople reading this into the mind of a vet, and useful for those who have yet to receive their degree.
Tomorrow I have a very interesting and unusual case submitted by a reader.