Finding ‘Balance’ as a First-Year Vet Student

Caitlin with her mom at a football game
When Caitlin’s mom visited for the weekend, Caitlin and took her to an Aggie football game.

Going into a professional program, you hear that all you will be doing is studying and going to class. Say goodbye to sleep, friends, family, etc.

I heard all of these things coming into veterinary school, and, honestly, it was really discouraging. I didn’t want my outside life to be put on hold for four years while I pursued the education that would shape my career.

Vet school was preceded by three days of orientation in which my classmates and I received many reminders to have a school-life balance. That was the first realization that school might not be as daunting as I thought.

While I had thought that I would go in and four years from now I would see my friends, what I was hearing day after day was that I would still have friends as long as I made the choice to see them outside of school. Sometimes studying would have to be put on hold and I would have to make the conscious effort to see the people who matter to me.


Caitlin and her friends
Caitlin with the friends who have helped her make it through her first semester of veterinary school

This doesn’t mean that I have time every day to sit at a coffee shop and hang out with everyone. I am in class from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and I still want to learn the information and make sure that I understand what I am supposed to know so that four years down the road, I can be the best veterinarian I want to be. I also was reminded day after day that my school could not be my entire life, so I’ve taken opportunities this semester to have some fun by celebrating with one of my roommates on the day she received her Aggie Ring, spending an entire weekend with my mom and going with her to an Aggie football game (which was so much fun!), and taking study breaks by spending time with the friends who have helped me make it through my first semester.

I just also have to remember that on those days that are tough to get through that I don’t have to go at it alone; I can take a break and have a meal with friends because they are important, too.