Using Exercise To Avoid Burnout

By Freya M. ’26, M.S. in Biomedical Engineering

Exercise equipment including sneakers, weights, and a jump rope against a blue background.

As a future veterinary student who has already faced burnout during undergrad, I’ve learned that it’s never too early to understand your limits and find time to step away from your academics.

Throughout undergrad, I always made time in my schedule to go to the gym and relieve stress from studying. After learning that I had a passion for fitness, I was inspired to become a fitness instructor to encourage others to do the same.

The Student Rec Center at Texas A&M offers group classes in multiple formats to all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Those of us who are fitness instructors often gauge how many participants should be in each class, choose the best location, and consider any feedback participants may provide that would help us improve our classes.

Every semester, there is a Fitness Instructor Training to recruit new fitness instructors and teach them how to lead a class in the multiple formats we provide. I was fortunate enough to do my training in Fall 2023 and am now teaching kickboxing and dance in Spring 2024.

When I decided to stay at Texas A&M for my master’s degree, I knew I had more time to pursue my passions and step out of my comfort zone. I started out as a very shy person who wasn’t very vocal when speaking to large groups. When I learned that our classes can have up to 50 participants, I had to work on my public speaking skills to get better at leading classes. Through teaching high-intensity class formats, I have learned how to engage the participants by having high energy and encouraging them to be as enthusiastic about the class as I am.

Becoming a fitness instructor has taught me to use my voice to help others. I was able to overcome my discomfort with public speaking and now I enjoy teaching others to become comfortable in a group setting as well. Using exercise as a personal outlet to avoid academic burnout has been the best thing I could have done for my physical and mental health. I cannot recommend enough using the campus rec center’s fitness classes or just going with a friend when you need a study break.

Maintaining a Seasonal Job While in Veterinary School

By Sarina M. ’26, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Student

A nighttime photo of a woman driving a horse-drawn wagon at a Christmas theme park.

Two years before getting admitted to veterinary school, I became interested in a rather unconventional job opportunity: being a horse carriage driver at Santa’s Wonderland. Santa’s Wonderland is a Texas-themed Christmas amusement park that brings hundreds of thousands of people from all over the state to College Station to experience good food and millions of Christmas lights. Within the park, they have a mile-and-a-half-long “Trail of Lights” that visitors can see either with a tractor-pulled hayride or a private horse and carriage.

Before hearing about this opportunity, I had no experience with draft horses, much less any knowledge of how to drive a team of them. I devoted hours to learning how to properly harness and hook up a pair of horses to a carriage or wagon and how to drive them safely. I had only ever ridden horses before, but I soon fell in love with this new experience.

Thanks to working at Santa’s Wonderland, I was able to handle many different breeds of draft horses, including Percherons, Clydesdales, Belgians, and Haflingers. This was my first hands-on exposure to any of these breeds and it opened my eyes to how different these huge horses can be from standard riding horse breeds, like quarter horses. Handling and controlling two horses at one time were also brand new experiences that I found challenging in the beginning.

This past winter marked my fourth season driving horse carriages and showing visitors the “Trail of Lights” at Santa’s Wonderland. Now, two years into veterinary school, it is harder to carve out the time to work around classes and studying; however my biggest motivation is the excitement I have developed for the job that now truly feels like a passion.

A young woman practicing how to drive a team of white horses.

Learning to drive a draft horse team also opened the door for other opportunities I would have never thought I’d have. For the past three years, I have been able to drive a horse and wagon in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade in downtown Houston. In 2023, I was even the driver for that year’s Grand Marshal, leading the parade and being able to meet Leon Coffee, a rodeo clown and bullfighter who is famous for his contributions to the rodeo industry.

Many people think that veterinary students aren’t able to maintain the hobbies and interests they had as undergrads, but striving for a healthy school-life balance has afforded me many unique opportunities, a means of income, and has even allowed me to develop new passions that I will take with me even after I leave Texas A&M.

Getting Involved With Swine Vets

A cute piglet in a field of green grass.

By Marco R. ’25, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student

With over 25 organizations specifically available for veterinary students, there is a place for you thanks to the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) at Texas A&M University.

SAVMA is an umbrella organization that supports smaller student organizations related to all aspects of the veterinary profession, ranging from radiology to equine medicine to business and more, making it easy to get involved with all kinds of veterinary specialties. SAVMA also offers financial resources to students through awards and scholarships.

Growing up, I showed pigs through FFA. This activity ignited a passion for caring for pigs and other animals.

During my undergrad program here at Texas A&M, I continued to develop that passion through my Animal Science major and time spent working at veterinary clinics. So, when I was accepted to the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, I knew I wanted to work with pigs and other food animal species as a mixed animal veterinarian.

During my first year of vet school, I joined Swine Vets, a student chapter of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and have held a member position and two officer positions, including secretary and vice president.

During my time in Swine Vets, I have helped organize lunch meetings on topics ranging from “Pet Pig Medicine” to “Being a Swine Veterinarian in Industry.” Additionally, Swine Vets is part of the Food Animal Wetlab in the Spring, providing students with hands-on opportunities to work with pigs.

Getting involved in student veterinary organizations provides opportunities for leadership and learning more about aspects of veterinary medicine that specifically interest you!

Studying Abroad As A Veterinary Student

By Mary C. ’25, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Student

Image of a canal in Burano, Italy, showing the colorful house colors.

One thing that I truly enjoy is traveling. I have had the opportunity to travel to many countries and it is something that I am very passionate about. Traveling to different places allows you to understand different cultures, different people, and different ways of doing things compared to your everyday life. There is so much to learn from people of different backgrounds, which is why when I learned that there are study abroad opportunities for veterinary students, I knew I had to go on one.

During the summer after my first year of vet school, I had the opportunity to go on a study abroad trip to Italy. Every year, Dr. Christine Budke, one of the public health and epidemiology veterinary professors, coordinates a study abroad trip with the veterinary school in Padova, Italy, during the summer — typically in June.

During this trip, I had the opportunity to stay with Italian veterinary students for a week and attend lectures at their school. The first week was online through Zoom and the second week was in-person learning in Italy.

While we were in Italy, we attended lectures in both the morning and afternoon with the Italian veterinary students and also did various labs with them. For example, we had one lab where we tested mozzarella cheese to see if it is, in fact, made from 100% buffalo milk, as some companies mix in other milks because it is cheaper. We also got to do a chicken necropsy in their anatomy lab. In addition, we went on field trips, touring a chicken farm and a seafood packaging plant in Venice; on the last day, we were even able to tour a zoo in Italy.

A large group of students gathered under an Italian pavillion for a photo.

This trip allowed me to learn not only about veterinary topics such as public health and food safety, but it also allowed me to learn how other veterinary schools work and it helped me learn about an entirely new culture. I was able to make lifelong friendships with people halfway around the world whom I still talk to today.

The VMBS also offers other study abroad trips for veterinary students. For example, every summer there are two different trips to South Africa that veterinary students are invited to attend, and I have heard great things about those from other vet students. Studying abroad is truly a life-changing experience. If the cost is a deterrent for you, there are scholarships available to help offset the expense of travel. For example, everyone who went on the Italy study abroad trip received a scholarship specifically to go on the trip. If you ever have the opportunity to go on a study abroad trip while in veterinary school, I highly encourage you to do it.

Starting Veterinary School As A Non-Traditional Student

By Amanda M. ’27, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Student

A young woman with a cute gold-furred puppy.

Unlike most veterinary students, before applying to veterinary school, I served as a veterinary practice manager at Tabor Road Veterinary Hospital here in Bryan, Texas, working alongside an Aggie veterinarian for a total of nine years.

Each day consisted of surgical procedures, vaccinations, and caring for sick animals. On top of that, I handled day to-day-operations that included managing other employees, ordering supplies, and ensuring top-notch patient care and customer service. This meant working long days and sometimes having few breaks.

I loved many parts of being a veterinary practice manager. I enjoyed working with owners and their pets, mentoring my coworkers, and seeing veterinary medicine through a business perspective. I also enjoyed communicating with the Spanish-speaking community and bridging the language barrier that many of these clients face. The biggest challenges I faced were client financial constraints and staff shortages. I think those were my least favorite parts of the job.

I know many undergraduate students are worried about not being accepted into veterinary school right away. However, I waited 10 years, got married, and had kids and a career before deciding to re-apply, and I would not change a thing.

I am so thankful for the time I had to be able to gain clinical and business experience while working in a veterinary hospital. Now, as a veterinary student, I use a lot of the time management, organization, and communication skills that I acquired during my time as a practice manager. Once I graduate, I can continue using those skills along with what I’ve learned in the veterinary program to hopefully open my own clinic one day.

How To Navigate An Unexpected Injury In Veterinary School

By Marisa M. ’25, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student

Five individuals, one in a wheelchair, pose for a photo with Reveille, a dog who is the Texas A&M Mascot.

In the middle of the fall 2023 semester, I had a very unexpected injury. I broke my hip and was out of class for a month. When I was finally able to join my classmates again, I was in a wheelchair for the remainder of the semester.

As a third-year veterinary student, this sort of unexpected disability threw me for a loop. I didn’t even know where to start in order to continue on in my veterinary school curriculum. Thankfully, Texas A&M made it possible for me to 1) finish my semester without delay and 2) gain the same education as my veterinary classmates!

In light of my experience, here are a few tips to help you if you run into anything unexpected, including a disability, while going through veterinary school.

Tip No. 1: Communication Is Key

The first step in adapting to vet school in my wheelchair was communication, which also happens to be one of the most important skills in veterinary medicine! Whether you are communicating with an owner or with colleagues, making sure everyone is on the same page is critical to ensuring animals receive the best care.

This injury allowed me to practice communicating with colleagues on a massive scale, and fortunately, Texas A&M professors and staff are extremely receptive to open communication.

At first, I was worried the school would tell me I would just have to postpone my education until I had recovered. This was never the case. Every single professor, associate dean, and staff member I talked to was open to making things work for me.

As long as everyone was in the loop, we were able to work as a team to get me caught up on exams and the material that I missed while in the hospital.

Tip No. 2: Be Flexible

Veterinary school is often a practice of being flexible! Regardless of disability, unexpected schedule changes and the multitude of different teaching styles one encounters in veterinary school ensures you are ready to take on whatever walks into your practice.

My injury reinforced the lesson that there is always a way to continue on, as long as you are willing to adapt!

For example, one clinical skill we learned this semester was how to “pull a calf.” This means to help a mama cow deliver her baby if problems arise during labor. This is typically something done standing in order to manipulate the calf how you need to. Working with my professors, we were able to modify how the teaching model was set up to ensure I could learn the same skill while sitting in my wheelchair. This minor adjustment and flexibility by all involved meant I didn’t have to wait to learn an important skill!

Another way we were able to adapt my learning was via Lecture Capture. This is a system that records all veterinary school lectures and makes them available to the class afterward. Many vet students use it as a study aide to go back to portions of lectures that they didn’t quite understand. This was very favorable for my situation because the school allowed me to watch lectures through Lecture Capture while I was in the hospital. This ensured I kept up with material and got the exact same education as my cohort, rather than falling way behind.

Tip No. 3: Lean On Your Support System

It is often said that your veterinary school friends will be friends for life. We go through a lot together. Between stressful exams, tough labs, and spending all day together, we become extremely close. Of course, we also do a lot of fun activities together too outside of class.

I always believed that having this support system while in school was important, but now I have proof that it is more than that. It is 100% necessary. While I was out of class, they visited me in the hospital to keep my spirits up, planned a coming home party, and brought teaching models for me to practice skills I had missed! One friend even made mini videos of how she learned a specific knot tie to make sure I was able to master it.

Once I returned to school, they pushed my wheelchair through the halls to give my arms a break and helped me at every turn when things got challenging. Texas A&M students are some of the most caring and genuine people I’ve met, and their support was invaluable during this unpredictable semester.

So, if you are going to take one thing from this blog, remember this: when you get to veterinary school, build that support system, or better yet, become a part of someone else’s, because you never know when you (or they) might need it. 

Tip No. 4: Accessing Disabled Parking

Lastly, one very practical aspect of returning to the school was where I was going to park. All students get an assigned parking lot with their parking permit. My lot was about a five- to seven-minute walk from the school.

I usually enjoyed this time to be outside and get a little exercise. After my injury, that far of a walk (or roll, which would be more accurate for my wheelchair) was going to be a challenge.

Fun fact: If you have a valid Texas A&M parking pass and a disabled parking placard, you can park in any disabled parking space across campus!

Unfortunately, it took me a while to get my temporary disabled parking placard form the DMV, but once I was able to return to school, our Dean’s Office helped me get access to a much closer parking lot until I received my placard. This enabled me to be much closer to the building and not have to worry about getting to class on time, since rolling takes a heck of a lot longer than walking!

While I know, in general, most people going through veterinary school won’t become temporarily disabled, a lot of my classmates have dealt with uncontrollable life hardships that had the potential to derail their schooling. I am proud to say that, using the skills I formed in my first few years here (such as communication and adaptability), Texas A&M was able to help me through my tough time without impacting or delaying my veterinary degree.

Balancing Life As A Veterinary Student

By Makayla R. ’27, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Student

A photo of a sunset.

My biggest fear before starting veterinary school was not having enough time to enjoy my hobbies and talk with friends and family. When I first glanced at my class schedule, I remember wondering if all I would have time for was studying!

I spent the first month of veterinary school solely studying all day and night, feeling horrible in the process. I decided to make a change and started including my hobbies into my schedule and immediately felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders.

After taking time to reflect on my first month of veterinary school, I figured out that having a balance in my life between school and my hobbies actually helped me perform better on tests and avoid burn out.

Making Time For Your Hobbies

It’s easy to become engulfed in the thought that you must spend all day and all weekend studying, but it’s simply not true. One of my favorite things to do during school breaks and on the weekends is reading fantasy novels. With proper schedule planning, I can read my favorite books at least five hours a week!

Allowing my myself to take time to still do the things that I love gives me a morale boost before studying.

A young man standing beside a young woman on a basketball court.

Staying Active

Blocking out time every week to remain physically active is very important in maintaining physical health. I do this by scheduling time every week to take outdoor walks, go to Orange Theory workout classes, or take rowing classes. One of my favorite parts of the weekend is going on long walks during the sunset.

Spending Time With Loved Ones

Another way to avoid burn out and balance your life as a veterinary student is staying connected with your family, friends, and significant others. For example, I make time to watch my boyfriend’s college basketball games every Wednesday and Saturday night. I even drove to watch him play in Houston last semester!

Sometimes it can be hard to avoid thinking about the studying you could be doing in place of enjoying your hobbies or spending time with loved ones but the sense of satisfaction I get from these activities is critical to maintaining my mental health.

If I could give two pieces of advice to any professional student, it would be to not lose yourself in studying and to live in the moment! Life is about balance, and maintaining this balance resulted in a better performance in the classroom and being happier in my free time.

How To Get Started Thrifting in College Station

By Grace B. ’27, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Student

I have always had a love for thrifting and having unique pieces to wear to class. Even on the first day of veterinary school, I had people commenting on my jeans, jacket and shirt that I wore to class.

After sharing with everyone that I thrifted them, I decided to make a guide to the places you can thrift shop for clothes and vintage outfits in the Bryan-College Station area, because looking sharp for any exam while saving some extra dollars on your clothes is something every student can do.

The entrance to a vintage clothing store in an old downtown building.

Local Thrift Shops By Style

Western

  • Burr’s Boho
  • Stage Left

Basic Pieces

  • Alice Attic

A Little Of Everything

  • The Birds Nest (upstairs)
  • Goodwill
  • Second Hand Resale

Street

  • Sweet Repeat Resale

Popup Shops

  • Bygone Vintage
  • 9th Market
  • First Fridays Downtown Bryan
  • POV/ Harvest have thrift popups all the time
A woman with red hair wearing a brown jacket in front of a wooden wall.

The shops I have included are some of my favorite spots in downtown Bryan or the College Station area. These places are where I have found all of my vintage Levi’s, Wrangler, and Rocky jeans. I have also found some amazing jackets like the one I am wearing in the photo to the right. The best part is that most of these items were only $5!

These shops are mostly found within walking distance of each other, which makes it easy to have a study break and hit the thrifts! There is always something special hidden in the racks — it just takes a bit of looking to find them.

The popup shops I included are some of my favorite places to spend a Saturday or Sunday. These shops have great Instagram accounts that will notify followers when they have a bunch of vendors coming with new stuff. They are where I have picked up iconic vintage 1980s Cripple Creek jackets, a world cup soccer blanket, and even a mini cargo skirt!

I hope that this quick guide will show you that even in vet school, you can always remain stylish and find a new weekend activity.

My Go-To Spots in Bryan-College Station

By Daisy C. ’26, B.S. in Biology

It may seem overwhelming coming to College Station as a student with all of the new things in your life — a new apartment, new restaurants, new friends, new grocery stores, etc.

Since I now spend almost 100% of my year in the Bryan-College Station area, I have picked up a few favorite places in this area. Visiting all of these places, regardless of the reason, always provides me comfort and might help you feel integrated into the community as you begin classes here!

A woman and her daughter taking a selfie at a park.

An on-campus gem is the Texas A&M Gardens. These gardens are located behind the Wildlife and Fisheries building on main campus. Different styles of gardens are sectioned off for both practical and educational purposes. Spanish-inspired gardens with stone fountains and Mexican tiles encompass a large first section that alone make your trip worthwhile. Separate butterfly, bee, and bird watching gardens bring an interactive aspect to the space.

The Gardens also hosts a variety of community activities, including a spring celebration and butterfly release events. String lights located all around The Gardens allow for night-time visits as well. The Gardens is very versatile, serving as a fun date spot or great outdoor study space.

However, if you are looking for some more lively entertainment, there are plenty of other awesome places. The Palace, located in Bryan’s downtown area (about a 20-minute drive from campus) is an old movie theatre-turned-entertainment center. I recently went to see a country band cover old-school country songs, including George Straight and Robert Earl Keen. The large stage allows for band performances every weekend that are sure to entertain. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.

After a concert at The Palace, you might be interested in grabbing a bite to eat, which tends to be my favorite part! As far as restaurants go, downtown Bryan has many to choose from that are a little less well-known than the College Station ones. Rx Pizza is a small-town-feel pizza place in the middle of Bryan’s town center that has become one of my favorite places to eat. It has a quaint, outdoor seating area that neighbors busy sidewalks on weekend nights.

For breakfast, Snooze in College Station would have to be my most loved spot. Because of the unique seating and the most perfect eggs Benedict you will ever have, this is my favorite place for brunch. The only downside is that is also seems to be everyone else’s favorite place as well. On weekend mornings, they typically have a line out the door, but I personally think it is worth the wait!

For lunch or dinner, my friends and I love to play dominos at Dixie Chicken. Get me a set of dominos at the counter and a basket of onion rings and I am set for the night!

A young blonde woman sitting on a bench next to a person made out of terra cotta garden pots.

Despite grocery shopping normally being a chore for most people, I enjoy it here because of the places available to shop! Farm Patch, a small produce center in Bryan, is a rare gem that’s easy to miss. It is an open-air produce market and garden center with locally sourced items, and I always enjoy shopping here to support my community and get fresh produce. If you enjoy both of those things, the Aggieland Famers Market opens on Saturday mornings and is full of both produce and local artisans. My roommates and I enjoy spending Saturday mornings together looking at the local artisans’ work and grabbing a coffee!

The list of places I enjoy here at Texas A&M both on and off campus is endless. However, I have found that regardless of the physical place that you are at, the people here make you feel included in the community. This alone makes my time here at Texas A&M invaluable.

5 Tricks To Help You Avoid Burnout In College

By Adrienne G. ’25, B.S. in Biomedical Sciences

College, as many know, throws students into a whirlwind of both exciting opportunities and challenges. Throughout my undergraduate experience, I’ve discovered a few ways to avoid burnout, and I’d love to share my experiences with you.

View from inside a hammock looking out at trees and camping tents.

No 1. Prioritize Self-Care

Even in the thick of those seemingly endless assignments and exams, I made it a rule to press pause and indulge in things that bring me joy. Whether it was going to the gym, immersing myself in nature, or getting lost in a new book, these breaks have been my sanity checks. Self-care became my weapon against burnout.

No 2. Master The Art Of Time Management

Balancing biomedical sciences and a minor in business is no joke. I have had to devote countless hours to not only studying but also to going to tutoring sessions. My agenda became my best friend in ensuring I had room for both academics and my personal passions. I would schedule time for studying, working, and social gatherings to ensure I did not have to sacrifice things that bring me joy.

No 3. Focus On Quality In Socializing, Not Quantity

Instead of overbooking myself with activities, I zeroed in on meaningful connections and quality time with friends. I choose to hang out with people who make me feel energized rather than those who would drain my energy.

Close up of a table covered in healthy cooking ingredients, including chicken, tortillas, cucumbers, carrots, and chopped greens.

No 4. Make Health-Conscious Choices

With my love for sweets and eating out, I have to be mindful of what I put in my body. Eating nutritious meals, staying hydrated, and limiting my caffeine intake became the cornerstones of my healthy lifestyle. It was all about fueling my body with foods that made me feel good.

No 5. Set Realistic Expectations And Goals

Dreaming big about post-graduation plans is exciting, but I’ve learned the power of breaking those dreams into bite-sized goals. It’s not about just the final goal; it’s about the steady progress that keeps you on the path without feeling like you’re drowning in expectations.

College life is a rollercoaster, but my journey has been about thriving and not just surviving. Balance, self-care, time management, quality relationships, healthy lifestyle choices, and realistic goals have been crucial to my success. If you’re out there navigating the college, give these strategies a try. Chances are, they’ll make your college journey much easier.