Second semester of the first year of veterinary school is very challenging. We are in class more often than first semester, and there are many more exams, quizzes, and assignments. We also have to balance academics with involvement in the myriad of vet school organizations. Fortunately, the college offers several resources to support students when they feel discouraged.
One resource that helps students’ transition to vet school is the mentorship programs. Each first-year student is paired with a second-year student mentor. My second-year student mentor gave me great advice about studying as well as a collection of past exams and assignments to study from. The college also has a faculty mentor program, where students are paired with faculty mentors. Each month the school pays for faculty mentors to take a group of students to dinner. Mentor dinners are a great chance to relax and ask questions about life after obtaining a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
Another resource for stressed vet students is Student Counseling Services. The college has its own office of the Student Counseling Center for our professional students. Having an office at the vet school is helpful because appointments are scheduled around our classes. The counselor, Lanice Chappell, does a wonderful job helping students who are struggling with academic or personal situations.
Classmates are a great resource for students who are overwhelmed by school. Whenever someone is out sick, we will share notes. We share study guides and organize study sessions to prepare for exams. Classmates also provide moral support. Since I’m with my classmates at least 40 hours a week, they have become some of my closest friends. Over the past few weeks, we have had several birthday celebrations, and later this month there will be a baby shower! Our class officers also do a great job providing fun ways for our class to bond, such as game nights, intramural sports, and a breakfast potluck.
Even though vet school is stressful, there is nowhere else that I would rather be. I’m grateful for the students, faculty, and staff who are always willing to lend a helping hand. It’s hard to believe that I’m three quarters through the first year of vet school! I’m excited to learn as much as I can in the last eight weeks of first year!
Winter break has reminded me how fortunate I am to be a veterinary student at Texas A&M University. During finals, it’s difficult to remember to enjoy the journey of becoming a veterinarian. Winter break is a perfect time to relax and get excited for spring semester. Many prospective DVM students have visited Texas A&M over the holidays. It’s great to be able to share all of the things I love about our college, from our top-notch hospital to our fantastic professors, clinicians, and administration. Especially around the holidays, the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences feels like one big family.
Winter break is also an exciting time for the future DVM Class of 2019. I can vividly remember getting ready for the admissions interview last year, and so I really enjoyed giving tours to the interviewees when they visited this weekend. Many current veterinary students volunteer to welcome the applicants and make the interview process as stress-free as possible. The applicants have been dreaming of attending vet school for a long time, and I can’t wait to see their hard work pay off when acceptance letters arrive!
For part of break, I returned to Corinth Vet Clinic, where I volunteered as an undergrad. It’s amazing to be able to apply what I learned in first semester to help actual patients. I was able to identify fractures on a radiograph of a dog with a broken foot, identify abnormal cells on a cytology microscope slide of lymphoma, and restrain a rat for a physical exam. These were skills I learned in my small animal anatomy, histology, and physiology courses respectively. Helping at the clinic also reminded me that I have a lot to learn before I graduate! I am excited to see what skills I can learn in the second semester.
While I was in Denton, Texas, I came across a newspaper article that I have saved since 2007 as a memento of when I decided I wanted to become a veterinarian. As I was re-reading the article, I realized that it quoted Dr. Bonnie Beaver, my animal behavior professor during the first semester of vet school. It’s incredible to realize that I am taking classes taught by people who inspired me to become a veterinarian. I hope that someday I will be able to encourage the next generation of veterinarians, but right now I am enjoying the journey of becoming one myself.