Students on celebrating
By MAS Team | 13 January 2020
This time of year is all about celebration, but how important is it to weave celebration into our personal and professional life all year round? The outgoing Student Association presidents, Georgie, Fraser and Ming, tell OnMAS about the importance of celebrating your big and little wins.
Success often comes following hard work, which can be mentally, physically and emotionally tiring. Being extroverted, I recharge by surrounding myself with people. Consequently, I love to celebrate with family and friends.
Put simply, celebrating wins in the veterinary profession is extremely important. It improves mental health and wellbeing, but it’s also crucial for maintaining motivation. We are motivated by our successes. Celebrating reinforces the reason for our hard work, reminds us goals are attainable and increases our drive to set more goals.
The industry has celebrated big successes in a variety of veterinary sectors for many years. This generally consists of annual awards at national and regional levels. However, I think smaller wins are starting to be recognised and celebrated more at other levels, such as within clinics, staff teams and the vet school. This movement is associated with the increasing awareness of mental health in the profession.
Veterinarians and veterinary students are crippled with mental health issues. Being encouraged to celebrate wins, no matter how small, is a mindful habit that boosts wellbeing. It creates a positive mindset and positive emotions that can build resilience when faced with adversity.
Working over periods of celebration as a veterinarian is often inevitable, but it’s just part of being a member of a team. These responsibilities are divided amongst your team. Remembering this can be a motivator because the next holiday someone else will be working while you are celebrating. During these days, taking regular breaks and connecting with other people can also help distract you from feeling as though you’re missing out.
President / New Zealand Medical Students' Association
I think in medicine we don’t always have a lot of time to celebrate our wins – there’s always more work to do and more patients to treat. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, though, since we’re not in this line of work for our own personal success. The most important thing is to help our patients and their families. If they are able to celebrate, then that is satisfying enough for us!
I’m graduating in November and can’t take annual leave over Christmas so I’m searching for these tips as much as anyone! The hospital tends to go into festive mode around this time of year, though, which helps us feel like we’re not missing out. Planning regular breaks around this time of year can make up for missing out on the big public holidays too.
I'll be leaving student life behind and starting work as a PGY1 this summer! I'm looking forward to starting the next chapter after medical school, even if I have to say goodbye to university holidays. I've just spent the last half of my elective in Rarotonga though, so I feel like I've probably had my fair share of the sun.
President / New Zealand Dental Students' Association
It usually involves my family and a few of my closest friends out at dinner with a couple of drinks. What is success if you can’t celebrate it with your family and friends? Usually wins come after a period of long and gruelling work, so I also like to celebrate by treating myself with a weekend away with a couple of close friends.
The wins in dentistry come from providing honest, good-quality care to patients. The wins can be as little as seeing a patient's oral hygiene improve after teaching them how to brush and floss properly, to delivering a set of dentures restoring a patient's smile and confidence. You celebrate these wins with the patient and your dental team, and nothing is more rewarding than seeing your patient leaving your clinic healthier and happier than when they came in!
On every special occasion, make sure you treat your team with some delicious sweet treats to celebrate the festivities (but not too much sugar!). Burnout is a very common issue within our profession, so it is important that we set some time aside to spend it with our friends and family over periods of celebration.
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