Look on the Bright Side

Stay positive. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “With the new day, comes new strength and new thoughts.” The hot topic of the day is COVID-19, and with a national social distancing policy and a Texas state shelter-in-place occurring, Americans are staying indoors and, predominantly, at home.

Staying home can get very boring, very quickly, but one thing that I do is try to stay positive in light of this all. My key motivations during my last semester of senior year are staying active, keeping connections, and de-stressing.

During this season of quarantine, being active has helped keep me from eating an entire
tub of ice cream in the freezer. Working out helps me to feel productive and start off my day in a great mood. When COVID-19 is over (whenever that may be), I want to feel good about myself. I don’t want to gain a “COVID 19 pounds” during this time. I want to LOSE those 19 pounds.

Each evening, I take my dog out for a jog around the neighborhood. Every day is ab day, and one of the best things about this alone time is the freedom to reflect on the day. Though times are tough, my goal is to use this to my advantage and stay in shape in order to better my physical and mental health.

As a senior, I have made lots of new friends from both my undergraduate courses and from working at the Veterinary School. Another goal of mine is to stay in contact with those friends, despite the social distance policy, through virtual connections. With technology today, I can easily make a video call to anyone in any location through simple apps like Zoom, Skype, and Facetime (to name a few).

The people I have met from working as a BIMS Ambassador has given me lifelong friends. I work hard to stay in touch with those friends that are now either in their 4th year of Veterinary School or are already practicing veterinarians! Catching up with old and new friends during this time of quarantine is the best time to make time.

Lastly, I feel SO refreshed with all of my courses being online now. Not only do I have time to focus on my physical and mental wellbeing, but I also have free time to de-stress. During
Zoom online course lectures, I can pace myself through the recorded lectures. I am given the opportunity to be comfortable from my own home while watching a lecture on equine nutrition.

Organizations have cancelled their meetings and requirements, and my work and research are changing their hours to become more flexible for students that are still in College Station. With online courses, I am given an opportunity to focus on myself. I can study for the GRE, prepare for vet school applications for this coming cycle, learn a new skill, and even cook a recipe I have never had the time to make.

Although I did not know that March 6, 2020 would be my very last in-person lecture for my undergraduate years of college, I am thankful for the new doors of opportunity that have opened before me.

I get to bond with my dog that usually had to stay home alone for almost 12 hours at a time during the school year. I have the time to reconnect with old and new friends, as well as check in with family, from a distance and on a more flexible schedule. And I am way less stressed with courses online and organizational commitments canceled (don’t get me wrong. I love all of the organizations that I am in). All in all, I am looking on the bright side of this, as I am currently healthy and happier now.

Making Tough Decisions

Spring semester is a time for new beginnings and new chapters. As a senior undergraduate, this is the time to make plans for the future.

Over winter break, I made it a personal goal of mine to map out “what ifs” for my future.

I have decided to take a gap year before applying to veterinary school. My parents and quite a few people I know were disappointed to hear that I did not apply for veterinary school last summer; however, I felt relieved.

Mentally, I do not feel prepared for the rigor of vet school, yet. After working as an ambassador for almost three years, I have been given an amazing opportunity to work closely with veterinary students, veterinarians, and faculty members.

From hearing the students’ personal stories on how they got to veterinary school, whether it was applying early, on time, or taking a gap year or more, I made a decision for myself to wait at least one year before applying.

In the meantime, my “what ifs” consist of working full time at a vet clinic, taking online classes to bring up my GPA, doing a non-thesis masters, and/or graduate research.

The future is so unknown and so far from “tomorrow” that it is hard to know where I will be and what I will be doing prior to vet school. I still intend with 100 percent confidence to apply to vet school, but it will now be a matter of “when.”

By looking forward to the future, I also had time to reflect on my past to get me where I am today.

My college career has been full of laughter, tears, and passion. I started off my freshman year in six student organizations, whereas now I’m in four student organizations and working two jobs.

I have gone from a general member of Patriot Paws of Aggieland to president of the organization, continuing to serve in the training of service dogs for veterans in need.

I am a student worker in equine research, and I have gone from living in a dorm to living in a house off campus.

I also am in a serious relationship of over three years, and I own a dog now.

Reflecting on where I started my college career, loving where I am today, and anticipating the future ahead, I can say that despite the tears, stress, and mental breakdowns, I do not regret who I have become.

College has both challenged and changed me, for better or for worse.

What I know now is that this semester is my final spring as an undergraduate, and I couldn’t be prouder about it.

Celebrating Senior Year in South Africa

Senior year is finally here for me!


To kick off my last undergraduate year, over the summer, I went on a pre-veterinary internship to South Africa in May. Hannah, a fellow CVM Ambassador and friend, accompanied me on this life-changing experience.

We traveled to Chintsa, South Africa, to shadow and assist veterinarians from all over the world through the program Safari 4U. It was a two-week internship that included 100 veterinary hours of experience, and we were able to interact with exotic and domestic animals of various types. From community service to game capture, we did it all!



Each day, we would drive to townships, known as underdeveloped urban areas, and go around the community to
give medical treatment to the locals’ animals, which ranged from dogs, puppies, cattle, and others. We did our
veterinary services for free for the locals and even held a spay and neuter clinic. Hannah and I received hands-on experience in giving    de-wormer to puppies and Ivermectin to animals in need.



For game captures, we were able to relocate animals for safety and breeding, and we personally were able to assist in moving a giraffe to his new home! We saw zebra, impala, blesbok, giraffes, lions, warthogs, and so much more! Each day was an adventure with a veterinarian or veterinary nurse/technician.

After a hard day’s work, we would go to the beach, ride horses, quad bike (or four wheel) up a mountain, or just gather seashells on the shore. It was a beautiful place to visit, even though it was the beginning of their winter season.


Overall, the trip greatly impacted Hannah and me in our decision to become veterinarians. Someday, I would love to return to the program as a veterinarian and teach some of the courses that were taught to me.

Earning My Aggie Ring

Angelica's father places her ring on her finger during this year's Aggie Ring Day.
Angelica’s father places her ring on her finger during this year’s Aggie Ring Day.

Texas A&M University is full of traditions.

One of the most popular traditions, and therefore times of the year, is Aggie Ring Day.

The Aggie ring is a symbol of unity, family, tradition, and pride.

Both undergraduates and veterinary students are given the opportunity to earn their gold college ring by completing 90 hours of college credit, 45 of which have to come from A&M directly.

This past week, I earned my Aggie ring as an undergraduate!

Angelica and her boyfriend Colton, who also earned his Aggie Ring this year
Angelica and her boyfriend Colton, who also earned his Aggie Ring this year

It felt amazing the minute the ring graced my finger.

All of the hard work, chemistry courses, animal science electives, and long nights of studying paid off.

For both undergraduate students and veterinary students, it is a wonderful time of the year

that is a true symbol of why we do what we do and why we strive for our goals and pursuit of a professional career.

Having earned my Aggie ring gives me courage to keep pursuing veterinary school and someday become a companion-animal veterinarian.

Looking Forward to an Exciting Semester

Angelica F.Howdy! The school year has just begun for undergraduates as of Aug. 27, and, yet, I feel as though I am still in “summer mode.” This year will be my junior (third) year of college, and it will be the toughest one yet. I’ve faced many challenges these past two years at Texas A&M; however, my struggles freshman year with general chemistry and sophomore year in organic chemistry have all led up to preparing me for veterinary school and vet school applications. As a student geared toward a pre-vet track, I am always looking for opportunities to work with animals and get those last few hours of animal and veterinary experience under my belt.

This semester, I signed up for a class interning and working at the Winnie Carter Wildlife Center with Dr. Alice Blue-McLendon, and I am very excited to start working! Most of my life, I grew up working around dogs and cats; however, this will be my first opportunity to be around and learn about the behavior and nature of wildlife. I’m assigned to the pen of an ostrich named Sammy. Although he is quite large compared to me, he is very friendly and relaxed. In the mornings and evenings, we, as students, are also given a chance to work with and feed the other wildlife, such as whitetail deer, emus, llamas, and so much more!

I am excited to see the new challenges this semester will present, and, above all else, I look forward to working with such amazing veterinarians, technicians, and students! Best of luck this school year, and no matter what, stay positive and stay healthy!

My Fall as a ‘Veteran’ Pet Trainer

Angelica F.Fall finals are done and out of the way for undergraduates!!

Yay! I survived…barely. Finals take an emotional and physical toll on just about everyone.

But looking back on this semester, I would say the fall was, overall, successful. Throughout this semester, things got a little crazy in my house with my roommate’s two pets, an 11-month-old Great Pyrenees, Toph, and a 7 year-old-cat, Moo, as well as the service dogs I’ve been training that came in and out of the house.

Back in August, I started off with a white Labrador Retriever named Pokey. He got along very well with the other pets, rough housing and keeping Toph company and even bothering, with mutual respect, of course, Moo. Training a service dog during the semester can be difficult; however, what made it harder was my replacement dog for Pokey, who returned to the headquarters of Patriot Paws of Aggieland to learn more advanced training. He may graduate as soon as spring 2018 to a veteran in need.

In his place, I received a white English Golden Retriever named Woodward (or Woody, for short) in late September. Woody was a puppy of 7 months and only knew the command for “sit.” I had a handful in trying to balance training a puppy, keeping up with academics, and continuing my active involvement in my organizations like Pre-Vet Society and as an MSC Hospitality tour guide.

All in all, having to train a service dog, or even deciding to have a pet of one’s own, is a very difficult challenge while in college. It takes a lot of responsibility and time to care for a pet and, perhaps even more so, to train one. My word of advice is to wait before you get a pet and do some research on budgeting both the time and money that will be required to invest in one. If you already have a pet, look up ways to maintain your pet’s health by exercising, training, and feeding them healthy, correctly portioned food.

Best of luck to everyone still finishing exams and have a very Merry Christmas!

Starting Sophomore Year

Angelica F.Howdy! My name is Angelica, and I am an undergraduate biomedical sciences major from Sherman, Texas, but most importantly, I am the loudest and the proudest member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2020!! A-A-A-A-A!!! I am very excited to start my second year as a BIMS major, and with that degree, I aspire to become a small-animal veterinarian.

I have dreamed of becoming a veterinarian since I was in the third grade and have dreamed of attending Texas A&M since fifth grade. Being here at A&M is a dream come true, and I wouldn’t trade anything in the world to leave this campus. I am here because of my Terry scholarship, which is a full-ride scholarship to Texas A&M provided by the Terry Foundation, and I am blessed to be a 2016 Terry Scholar.

Here at A&M, I am quite involved with campus events and organizations. Geared toward a professional field, I am in the Pre-Vet Society as an active, distinguished member. Through it, I am given the opportunity to volunteer with animals and wildlife of all kind. I am in MSC Hospitality as a tour guide to give campus, MSC, and Bonfire tours. As a fun organization choice, I am actively a part of Patriot Paws Service Dogs as a puppy raiser. I currently am raising a 2-year-old Labrador named Pokey (who will eventually act as a service dog for a disabled veteran) and have worked in the past with two other dogs and dog sat for at least five dogs. Can you tell I like animals? Lastly, not only am I a Terry scholar but I participate and am a mentor for its corresponding program, ASPIRE (Aggie Scholars Promoting Incentive, Resources, and Encouragement), where I mentor incoming freshmen scholars in the Terry or Haynes Scholarship program. In the spring, I joined the CVM Ambassador program and worked over the summer giving tours of the Veterinary Biomedical Education Complex (VBEC) and helping in other ways.

Despite the heavy involvement, I am always making time to study and relax at the house with my roommates and their pets, an 8-month-old Great Pyrenees named Toph and a 6-year-old cat named Moo. As an undergraduate, I often have a lot more time on my hands than I know what to do with, so as a word of advice, I would tell all students to prioritize your needs over wants when it comes to academics and organizations.

Overall, I look forward to this year’s challenges and strive to work for that Aggie ring and degree!