Serving as a Veterinarian

At the end of my first year of Vet school, I am that much closer to reaching my career goals. This semester marks a huge milestone for me, for more reasons than one. Obviously, this serves as the quarter mark in my time as a vet student, but with the end of this year also comes the increased confidence in both my ability to survive vet school and the reassurance that I am where I am meant to be.

This semester also marks the end of anatomy courses. While these classes have been fun, extremely educational, and are taught by some of the smartest professors I’ve ever had the privilege to learn from, they have certainly been my greatest challenge during my brief time here.

Aside from these highlights, the end of this semester provides another huge milestone for me. I have recently had the honor of being accepted into the Army’s Health Professions Scholarship Program, and with the ending of this semester, I will now be signing my contract and will officially be commissioned as an officer in the United States Army.

Much like my application process to get into vet school, the application process for this scholarship program was a very long and difficult process. It included physical and educational requirements that I needed to meet, as well as personal and professional references. All of this was then followed by an extensive background check and interviews, in which I had to answer for everything down to traffic tickets I received in high school! The selection process was a grueling one, but this makes my acceptance into the program that much more rewarding.

Growing up in a military family as the son of a Marine, a career in the military was always an intriguing one that seemed to call to me. This route will allow me to fulfill this dream of serving in the military and following in my father’s footsteps while incorporating my passion for animal health and biomedical research. I’m excited to embark on this new chapter and look forward to the new experiences, challenges, and opportunities that this journey will provide. Having fully paid tuition, a monthly stipend, and full benefits starting in the fall is also a perk I’m definitely looking forward to.


Vet School and Day Care

As the first semester of veterinary school comes to an end, leading to a much-needed break from the seemingly endless onslaught of tests and deadlines, I’ve taken a few breaks to reflect back on the semester and evaluate things.

Which study methods worked for me? Which ones certainly did not? What did I learn from this semester that I can carry into the spring and use going forward so that maintaining a balance between school and life isn’t so difficult in the future?

Certainly, maintaining that balance has become a huge aspect of preventing burnout among my classmates. Everyone seems to have found something outside of school that allows them to decompress and focus their minds. For everyone, it seems to be something different.

It’s obvious that in order to succeed in this program, it is important to take time away from the program, as backwards as that may sound.

Some of my classmates spend time with their pets (other than using them for palpation and physical exam practice) while others focus on exercise or hobbies. It may even be an activity such as sitting in a quiet place alone for 20 minutes. Anything to relax and reset your mind, so you can continue on and push forward.

For me, the escape I need to stay motivated has come in the form of my 2-year-old daughter, Camila.

Normally my wife is the one who picks her up from daycare in the afternoons, but when I’ve had a long day or I can feel the stress building, I let my wife know that I will be picking her up on that day, which saves her the trip on her way home from work.

When Camila sees me walk into her classroom, the reaction is always the same. She will instantly drop whatever toy she is playing with or game she is part of and yell with excitement, “Daddy!”

This reaction is exactly what I look forward to, and it is the quickest way for me to forget whatever is stressing me out or what exam I could have done better on. At that moment, just seeing her light up with excitement is the only thing that matters.

We collect her things and get in the truck while I start asking her about her day and what she did. Most of the time her response is some new song she learned or telling me about a book she read. It really doesn’t matter what she says, as long as I get to listen.

From there we go to a park, stop for ice cream, or sometimes just drive around for a few minutes before heading home for the evening.

Once we get home, it is back to business as usual, which usually consists of studying for me and dinner and a bath for her. She doesn’t know it, but the time it takes us to get home from daycare is the time I use to recharge and remind myself what’s really important.

I may have many motivations for deciding to come back to school to pursue a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, but one of my greatest motivations doesn’t even know how to tie her shoes yet.