Getting Along with My Classmates

Scenario #1

It’s your first day in the Active Learning Classroom and there are five strangers around the table with you. A few are talking to each other like they’ve been friends for a long time. You feel like no one knows you exist. What do you do?

Scenario #2

You’re in Physiology lab and it’s a new group. There’s someone in this new group who is always voicing his opinion. You want to tell him to “shut up!” He’s so irritating, but you don’t know how to handle the situation.


  • Smile at the person next to you.
  • Say hello to your neighbor and introduce yourself.
  • Think of others before yourself.
  • Bring food for your group to eat while you’re studying.
  • Respect each person’s privacy.
  • Be courteous to others.
  • If you have a car, offer a ride to your classmate.
  • Take time to go to the movie with your study partner or study group.
  • Do a good job when you do your group work.
  • Do not make unfair assumptions about the intent of others.
  • Ask questions tactfully if you’re not sure of something.
  • Actively listen and be non-judgmental of others or what they say.
  • Compliment others when appropriate.
  • If you need to be critical, provide constructive criticism regarding the behavior of the person.
  • Realize that different people learn in different ways; what may work for you may not work for the next person.
  • Be aware of time limitations; start on time and end on time.
  • Embrace the differences in all and respect ideas that may differ from yours.
  • Make the learning environment fun for all of you.

Consider this sentiment in working with classmates:

Hear and understand me. Even if you disagree, please don’t make me wrong.  Acknowledge the greatness within me.

Remember to look for my loving intention. Tell me the truth with compassion.

Participate with a global focus. Think possibilities, not obstacles.  Honor time limits.

Listen as my ally.

We will all learn from each other. Focus on issues, not personalities.



Professionalism is a critical characteristic of veterinarians, requiring treating everyone with respect, including peers, faculty, advisors, and especially patients. Remember that classmates will be peers and colleagues in the future; many will be life-long friends.

Vetschool unleashed : mean girls (and guys and faculty)

People I Can Talk To


You are never going to get along with everyone. When I am having a day where I feel especially annoyed, I sit in the back of the room or I [lecture capture]  from home. It is okay! Sometimes the stress filled environment of fellow classmates can be overwhelming and I can pick it up via osmosis! When my classmates are getting, stressy, I pick a coffee shop instead to learn and fill my environment with happy thoughts.”

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2020

“Surround yourself with people that are positive about vet school. We all have our hard days, from both universities I have attended, I have learned that there will ALWAYS be the people that complain about everything.Negativity is contagious. Of course having 3 exams in one week is terrible, but I try to take the stance, “I’m going to have to do it anyways, not worth complaining.”* note: we all do have our slip ups”

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2019

“Another important aspect of [med] school is “finding yourself” and where you belong. Once you have found the bunch of friends with whom you relate to and feel comfortable with in your class, the 4 years of school fly by because you are enjoying the learning process and experiences with friends.”

JABSOM Student, Class of 2004

“Studying in groups [with classmates] from other tutorials has been invaluable. In a curriculum in which every student has a different experience (because it is not rigidly standardized–different tutors, different …preceptors), collaborating helps normalize things.”

JABSOM Class of 2007


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Well-being Handbook Copyright © 2019 by Erin Malone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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