We all endure hardship. Every single one of us. What defines us is the way we deal with them. The way we persevere. In vet school especially, it is easy to talk about our problems. This is completely normal. We are taking a crazy amount of classes, with intense hours and unforgiving expectations. The time we do manage to make for ourselves is met with suspicion from our peers, and comments like "I wish I had time to go running" or "I wish I had time to spend with friends". There is a guilt that surrounds self-care because in this time in our lives we are expected to be tired and overworked. Most veterinary students are found in the library every day, trying to keep up with the overwhelming course load. They over-study, shutting out many other aspects of their life; they have to be forced to take breaks, and they don't understand how anyone has time for a social life. 

This talk focuses on the polar opposite of those students: the students who under-study, not because they just naturally understand the material, but because they have a crippling fear of failure. Instead of channeling this energy into studying, they resort to procrastination and avoid even thinking about the approaching deadlines. These students often band together in solidarity, complaining about what they need to do without ever increasing their productivity. 

This talk approaches the topic of perception, and the way that perception affects our reality in everyday life. While venting is a healthy and relieving past time, often we as vet students do it so much that it negatively affects our lives. Cognitive Bias is defined as “a systemic error in thinking that affects the decisions and judgements that people make.” Specifically, the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy is “any positive or negative expectation about circumstances that may affect a person’s behavior towards them in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled.” It is my belief that if students can be made aware that they are falling victim to these biases, the smallest changes in their perception could have a drastic impact on their experience in vet school and, consequentially, their careers as doctors of veterinary medicine.

MBA, DVM candidate
(Louisiana State University, USA)

Overcoming cognitive biases in veterinary school

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