The Five-Week Countdown

Today marks the five-week countdown until fourth year. That’s right; in just five short weeks of my entire veterinary academic career, I will be entering into clinics. I’m pretty sure yesterday I was going through orientation for my first year of veterinary school, and I was eating, breathing, and living anatomy.

Yet, somehow, in what will seem like the shortest month and some change of my life, I will already be a year from graduating and becoming a veterinarian. When you’re entering into your four-year journey of becoming a veterinarian, everyone will continuously tell you to “enjoy it” because it will “go by so quickly,” and while you’re studying for a mountain of tests, working on homework assignments, and trying to balance your sanity, it is really hard to believe them. But let me tell you, from the perspective of someone who is only a year away from being done, yes, there will be weeks where it seems like class will never end—you are constantly busy and sleep is a distant idea of a future self that will never be—and, sure, there will be weekends that will fly by in the blink of an eye because you really needed that time to study and somehow a minute went from 60 seconds to 10 seconds; yet, with this rollercoaster of quick and slow, these past three years of my academic career have flown by. I blinked and I feel as though I’ve almost missed it.

I’m feeling a little nostalgic of my past years in school, during which things like Spring Break, Christmas Break, and summer existed and when I made small adult decisions rather than large ones concerning new jobs and contracts. So with these last few weeks of faux adulthood before entering into true adulthood and my last ambassador blog post, here are my pearls of wisdom to you:

Cherish your undergraduate years, when you’re living on campus with your friends or with friend access right next door; when you can skip class and not worry about missing a week’s worth of information—not that I condone that; when you can go to class in yoga pants or sweats; and when you have adult responsibilities but they’re cushioned by an environment where you can make mistakes. If you go to a professional school, like veterinary school, enjoy every moment, even the moments that are not at all enjoyable. You have around 130 other people experiencing exactly what you are experiencing and taking this journey with you, so get to know them, be involved, and understand that this is the last time during which you will be in an environment saturated with your peers. And lastly, drink up all the information you can; when you get out into the world you have to go searching for information that while in college is shoved into your brain at a rapid and alarming rate. The access to knowledge is so vast and to have it concentrated in one place is often taken for granted until you’re out in the real world.

And with that, I move on to my last few weeks of school. Soon I will be a clinician, and I wish all of you the best of luck in whatever your academic/professional endeavors are. The knowledge is out there; the opportunities are endless and so should be your dreams!


DVM Student
Class of 2018

Match Day

February 1st is always a significant day for pre-med students in Texas. For hopeful Texas medical school students, this day is known as Match Day and it is something that we look forward to with both excitement and anxiety. It’s on this day that we find out if we actually made it into medical school and where exactly we will be going for the next four years. As applicants, we begin work on our applications starting in May of the previous year and we spend the entire summer and fall waiting for and attending interview days at the various schools around Texas.

I’m very grateful to say that on Match Day I was lucky enough to be accepted into the Class of 2021 at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston! As one can imagine, I’m very excited for this opportunity, but I’m also proud of how I got here. I came to Texas A&M as an undergraduate Biomedical Sciences major in the fall of 2013. I had my mind set—or so I thought—on becoming a veterinarian. By the end of my sophomore year, however, I realized that I was not as passionate about veterinary medicine as some of my peers in my major.

I took a step back and reexamined my career goals, and I confirmed that I still wanted to have a career based in science and medicine. Then, I realized that I enjoyed being around people, and I was more comfortable around others than I had been before coming to college. The organizations that I was a part of focused on interacting with other people—and that helped me realize that I wanted a career in which I would be constantly working with and helping other humans. I began researching medical school, and after some shadowing and help from some amazing advisors, I realized that being a physician is my true calling.

I decided to share this story, not because I’m trying to dissuade others from choosing vet school, but because I want students to know that college can be a confusing time. You may not have all the answers, and your peers probably don’t have all the answers—even though some may act like they do! Use your undergraduate years to explore your passions and make new discoveries about yourself and the world around you. Never think that it’s too late to change your mind. If you’re passionate about something, then don’t let fear stop you from going after what you want. In the end, make sure that you’re living a life that you’re proud of—and you can’t go wrong!

BIMS Student
Class of 2017

Third Year Responsibilities

It is the beginning of the spring semester and already I have learned more information than my brain can process in each 24-hour period and have spent more time in school than I have at home. With no summer break to look forward to and the forlorn feeling of having finished winter break; it’s hard not to already want to check out. However, every day that we learn new things that build off of my previous years’ knowledge, I begin to realize just how far I’ve come since first year and how much I’ve actually learned. It really is incredible to think about my undergraduate days long ago and how much I thought I knew about veterinary medicine versus today and how much I truly do know. While I’d like to say that retaining information and studying for tests are the only things I have to be worried about this semester, I would be lying to you.

Third year is a special kind of stress—you have more hands-on time, more “out of class” time, less tests, and yet somehow—it is the busiest semester yet. This is solely attributed to getting ready for the usually untouchable fourth year that is months within our classes’ grasp. During third year you get to pick your track, vacation time, rotations, and externships. Most of the class will decide from select pre-scheduled tracks including small animal, large animal, mixed practice, and food animal. However, a select few of us decided that we would rather make our lives much harder than they should be and go the alternative track route. This means that you get to schedule around 20 weeks – that’s 5 out of 12 months – of fourth-year schedule, all while juggling the joys of third year. Don’t get me wrong, I love the freedom and I am ecstatic about the externships I have received so far, but the stress of working out the schedule just right is almost unbearable.

So, my little golden nugget of advice to you, whether you are going to be in third year in the near future or looking to get into veterinary school and one day become a third-year student, is to think about all this ahead of time. There are a lot of tasks to complete and other things to think about just for the application process alone and once you are in veterinary school the first year is a long learning curve year of how to juggle studying and being successful while maintaining your mental health. However, there is a small moment in second year where you finally get a comfortable schedule of balancing life and school, and this is where you should begin to look at the future. If you have any thoughts of tracking alternative, start thinking about where you would want to externship or what your career might look like once you graduate. And remember, have fun! One of the best parts of third year is finally having the freedom to schedule out your fourth year and tailor it to your specific interests!

So, before you go and write me off as a pessimist, just remember that I am a third year. I have had long hours sitting in class seven days a week for three years and sometimes this takes a toll on your body and mind. A fact of life you should be ready for if you want to be a veterinarian. Even with the endless chipping away at my sanity by playing the “How long can we keep them in a classroom before a mutiny?” game, I find little pieces of joy every day. I remember the application process like it was yesterday. I remember attending interviews like it was yesterday. And, I remember the pure and full-bodied joy I felt entering into school as a first-year veterinary student. So, every time I go through these rough patches filled with stress, I can recall those small moments in life that shook me to the core with happiness and it’s easy to remember why I’m here. So yes, school right now is incredibly stressful, and all of you at some time will experience exactly what I’m experiencing. But, come my next blog post, it will be later in the semester with my fourth-year solidified (hopefully) and the pessimism of these past three years will wash away as I prepare to enter into the grand adventure of fourth year.

DVM Student
Class of 2018