Exploring the positives of the pandemic

August 7, 2020
Harris Fitzgerel

A third-year veterinary student shares the upside to starting clinical rotations during COVID-19.

When presented with an unfortunate and unexpected turn of events, we tend to become angry, confused and downright impatient. However, being in quarantine taught me that while there are many obvious cons to this situation, there’s also some silver linings.

In my article, “Coronavirus: a ‘novel’ situation for veterinary students,” you’ll quickly learn that third-year students have started clinical rotations in a very unorthodox way. I also shared some of the fears and anxieties that we faced during this pandemic.

In this article however, I’ll discuss some of the positives about this new clinical experience.

A closer-knit environment

With the inability to treat actual patients, rotations primarily consist of rounds and case-based discussions, allowing us to closely interact with the clinicians. Usually students aren’t able to establish these close relationships, mainly because clinicians typically discuss treatment options with interns, residents or house officers. But due to the current state of affairs, we have the opportunity to not only gain a better understanding of why the clinicians’ select certain treatments, but we also can form a stronger bond with them.

A smoother transition

Because of the pandemic, clinics are now a cross between the traditional clinic setting and a classroom. This new learning environment allows us to ease into things instead of just being thrown into the “lion’s den.”

Improved adaptability

A key trait in veterinary medicine is adaptation. We are constantly adjusting to many new situations — whether it’s a different animal species, varying client financial situations and sometimes limited resources at some hospitals. During this pandemic, we are continually learning to adapt in an unprecedented manner, which I believe will be beneficial in the future.

Increased personal reflection

Having more self-reflection can help you obtain a clearer view of your overarching goals. We now have more time for introspection, and thus can discover what truly peaks our interest in this field.

New hobbies

If you’re like me, it’s been challenging to find things to fill my time. Discovering new hobbies and passions outside of the world of veterinary medicine is a great place to start.

The takeaway

Although cliché, looking for the positives during trying circumstances helps to promote happiness and sanity. If we continue to focus on the few yet valid positives, we will feel more productive, less angry and will realize that the time spent in quarantine was not all bad.

Harris Fitzgerel is a current third-year veterinary student at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. He is interested in small animal medicine with a particular emphasis on dermatology and general practice.