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  • Michael Krikorian

Navigating Your Second Year of Vet School: Goals and Strategies for Success

Happy New Year and Semester! To start things off in 2024, it would seem fitting to talk about goals, specifically for veterinary students continuing their second year. Second year students face a critical transition in their education as they move from foundational coursework to more hands-on clinical experiences. To continue and excel in their second year and prepare for their future as veterinarians, it would behoove students to learn to set clear goals and adopt effective strategies. Sounds simple enough, right?

Setting the Stage: Goals for Success

Academic Excellence:

Building a strong academic foundation is essential. Aim to maintain high grades in your coursework. Second-year courses often delve deeper into clinical subjects, so a solid grasp of the basics is crucial.

Clinical Exposure: 

Begin to immerse yourself in clinical settings. Shadow veterinarians, volunteer at animal shelters, or participate in externships. The more exposure you get, the more confident you'll become in applying your classroom knowledge. If hands-on experience isn't available enough, or even possible, then maybe an analog for the real in the virtual world like Exero Vet would be a good start. 

Time Management: 

With the increasing demands of your second year, time management becomes a critical skill. Create a study schedule, prioritize tasks, and set aside time for self-care to maintain a healthy work-life balance.


Building relationships within the veterinary community is invaluable. Attend conferences, join student organizations, and connect with professors and mentors. Networking can open doors to research opportunities and future job prospects.

Strategies for Achieving Your Goals

Specific Goals: 

Set clear, specific goals for each semester. Break them down into smaller, manageable steps. This will help you stay motivated and track your progress effectively.

Active Engagement: 

In the classroom, participate actively in discussions and ask questions. Engaging with the material will deepen your understanding and retention.

Seek Help Early: 

If you encounter academic challenges, don't hesitate to seek assistance. Professors, tutors, and academic advisors are there to support you. Early intervention can make a significant difference.

Clinical Skills Practice: 

Practice your clinical skills regularly. Even if you don't have access to live animals, you can engage in simulations or lab exercises to hone your skills and become familiar with veterinary tools and equipment.

Extracurricular Involvement: 

Join student organizations or clubs related to your interests in veterinary medicine. These can enhance your resume, provide networking opportunities, and offer unique experiences beyond the classroom.

Time Blocking: 

Allocate specific time blocks for studying, attending classes, and clinical experiences. This structured approach will help you stay organized and manage your workload effectively.

Review and Reflect: 

Regularly assess your progress and adjust your goals and strategies as needed. Reflect on what's working well and what can be improved to refine your approach.


Seek out mentors in the field who can provide guidance and support based on their experiences. Their insights can prove invaluable as you navigate your veterinary education.

Stay Informed: 

Stay up-to-date with the latest developments in veterinary medicine by reading journals, attending seminars, and following reputable veterinary news sources. This will keep your knowledge current and relevant.


Your second year of veterinary school is an exciting and challenging time, setting the stage for your future as a veterinarian. By setting clear goals and adopting some of these strategies, you'll build tools to excel academically, make the most of valuable clinical experience, and build a strong foundation for the rest of your veterinary career. Embrace the journey, stay committed, make the most of every opportunity, and most importantly, find out what works for YOU. The veterinary profession awaits your expertise and compassion!

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