Transitioning from a Relaxing Spring Break to a Crazy Week

My philosophy during veterinary school has been to put 100% into whatever I do. If I decide a certain day is a study day, then I study like crazy and accomplish a lot. If I decide to take a Saturday off to go see some Fighting Texas Aggie Football, then I enjoy the game and shut out any thoughts of studying and school and live in the moment. This attitude towards school has worked for me thus far in my career, but might not be the best option for everyone. It has some great aspects, such as being able to have a life outside of vet school and not having to put my social life on hold for four years. However, it also comes with its drawbacks. This type of approach can cause a lot of stress during those “study” days because I’m forced to review a ton of material at once, usually close to the test date. But for me, it is the best balance and has made veterinary school bearable.

This spring break I didn’t touch my books the entire time. I got to spend quality time with my friends and family, who I don’t see often while in school. I also got to see a lot of live music at South by Southwest, one of my favorite spring break traditions. Since family and friends are so important to me, I spent a lot of my spring break driving and trying to see them all. I first drove to Dallas to see an old undergraduate friend and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by going to a huge parade that’s famous in Dallas. I then made my way home to Austin to visit family, old friends, and my boyfriend. I did lots of shopping and catching up with girlfriends. My boyfriend and I both took “free” days (he’s in law school and has to deal with the same school/life balance) saw some shows at South by Southwest. (Side note: if you do South by Southwest right, you get to go to a lot of shows for free, which often include free drinks and food—the perfect date for two professional students.) I then made my way to Houston to visit my college roommates, and we saw Brad Paisley at the Houston Rodeo.

I got to recharge during spring break and spend time with loved ones, which is extremely important to me. I’m now back in the grind of things and feeling overwhelmed, like I can’t come up for air. I just have to remember that this temporary stress is worth the time that I took to invest in my relationships. Vet school is only four years, but I hope the relationships I have with the people I love will last much longer.

Third year electives

Winter break went by way too quickly! I’ve only been in classes for two weeks, and I already feel super behind.

The first two years of veterinary school were similar to undergrad: you take certain classes for an entire semester, and then you have a final at the end. In third year, you have some core/mandatory classes with everyone in your class. These include small animal medicine, practice management, radiology, and correlates. Then you have electives. The core classes go though the entire semester, but the electives are only four weeks long. As a result, your schedule changes every four weeks. It’s nice because you take these mini one-hour courses and then move on to new ones within a month. The downside is that you never can really get into the normal rhythm of school. I guess it’s helpful that they’re getting us used to change, because in fourth year, we switch rotations every two weeks.

This block I am in quite a few electives: echocardiogram, small animal nutrition, dentistry, and emergency medicine. Even though my schedule is busy, I’m loving each of my electives. In echocardiogram we learn more about ultrasounding the heart—something we barely covered in the core small animal medicine course—and we get to actually scan patients with the echocardiogram. I really love the hands-on aspect. In dentistry, we get to clean and extract teeth. Having this experience will be great for when I’m in my dentistry elective fourth year because I’ll have some background in the subject. Nutrition isn’t hands-on, but I really enjoy learning about it because it’s something that interests me in both human and veterinary medicine—and many of the things we learn are applicable to ourselves and how we should be eating. I also enjoy it because I’m the Hill’s Student Representative, so I’m the liaison between Hill’s Pet Food and the college. In this position, I assist faculty and students by providing information about Hill’s products, so I’m glad that I will now have a better background in nutrition relating to my job.

Well, I better get back to studying on this Sunday afternoon, so I can get ready for my busy week ahead.