‘Final’ Motivation

It’s that time of the semester! The time where class days are dwindling and stress levels are growing.

Madelaine and an alpaca at a Pre-Vet Society event
Madelaine and an alpaca at a Pre-Vet Society event

Finals can be a little overwhelming, but the excitement of summer is a great source of motivation. My summer plans will be keeping me very busy; I’m really looking forward to all the different opportunities ahead of me.

Among those opportunities, I will be participating in a study abroad program through which I will spend four weeks in Thailand. I am beyond excited!

We will spend each week in a different region of Thailand as we gain a better understanding of how animal, human, and environmental health interact. I will have the opportunity to shadow a veterinarian at an elephant sanctuary, explore a new culture, and help with coral reef restoration.

This trip is going to be something I will never forget, and I am so excited to gain a broader view of veterinary medicine.

When I get back from my trip abroad, reality will settle in and it will be time to apply to veterinary school.

It is both exciting and terrifying to think about. I can’t believe how quickly my time at A&M has flown by.

The pre-veterinary resources here at A&M have already helped me so much in this process.

Recently I attended an application workshop that gave me a better understanding of the online application.

Fender smiles for the camera.
Fender smiles for the camera.

The TAMU Pre-Vet Society also has given me very unique animal experience that I never expected to receive. For example, I have been able to volunteer at alpaca farms, attend equine clinics, and help in the exotics room at Vet School Open House.

I’m very thankful that I am not going through this process alone. Applying to vet school is going to be nerve racking but I am excited to see where it takes me.

But before I can step into summer I have to face my final exams.

I am trying my best to be diligent and finish this semester strong. Things that keep me grounded include my friends, family and, especially, my dog, Fender.

Although the stress of finals is upon me, I know there is an end in sight, and I am hopeful that all of this hard work will be worth it.


If you’ve been following along at home, you’ve likely noticed that as springtime hits the CVM, our ambassadors have lots to say about the upcoming summer and year ahead.

Chelsea and boots celebrate her receiving her Aggie Ring.
Chelsea and boots celebrate her receiving her Aggie Ring.

Our BIMS students are excited to attend study abroad and internship programs. Our first-year veterinary students (1VM) have their eyes set on some well-deserved rest and relaxation after enduring the most rigorous year of schooling of their lives. Many of our second-year veterinary students (2VM) will try out different clinical externships to help flesh out their career goals. And, finally, our third-year veterinary students (myself included) have a major space-occupying lesion in our mind—fourth-year clinics.

You’ve heard it before—this is our final year of veterinary school, during which we become immersed in the activity of A&M’s elite referral large and small animal hospitals.  If you’ve attended one of our tours, you’ve likely seen current fourth-year veterinary students (4VM) dashing about in white or green coats.  Our job in the fourth-year is to work alongside board-certified specialists to help guide clients through the diagnosis and treatment of their animals’ medical conditions.

I have several friends in the current 4VM class who are now solidifying job offers and planning their move from veterinary student to veterinary practitioner. This process also includes acquiring appropriate licenses and insurance policies necessary to practice.

As you can imagine, summer is a time of transitions, and we are all excited and anxious to step into our new roles.

Recently, I had the great honor to receive my Aggie Ring. Most veterinary students, if they didn’t attend A&M as an undergraduate, apply to receive their ring in the middle of our 2VM year, around the same time as our White Coat ceremony.

I waited until my third year because I decided that it would be nice to have another milestone right before I head into clinics and also because it was a great opportunity to see my parents, since it’s going to be several months before I return home.

Group making gig'em signs and showing their Aggie ring On Aggie Ring Day, we had a lovely dinner at Madden’s in Bryan (definitely recommend), and three of my close friends joined us for my ring ceremony. The evening was filled with love, support, and pride for all of the hard work that underscores the journey to receive one of these rings.

I received my first Balfour ring when I graduated Bucknell University in 2013, and it seems fitting to have a second one to commemorate my time as an Aggie veterinary student.  I’m not one for a ton of jewelry in the first place (it all has to come off for surgery!), but I do love what these rings represent and cherish the education I’ve received from both institutions.

Another important milestone to consider is that I have to say goodbye to my time as a CVM Ambassador.  I have worked in this program since 2015 and have held the position of lead ambassador for the past two years, managing the logistics of providing tours of the VBEC and our teaching hospitals.

It’s been a great honor to hold this leadership position—I’ve worked with some wonderful students with so much passion for the A&M community. Furthermore, with the incredible support of a dedicated supervisor, I have gained many skills in communication and team management.

Chelsea, as a child, with her mother and her horse Sparkle.
Chelsea, as a child, with her mother and her horse Sparkle. Horses have always been a big part of Chelsea’s life and are part of the reason she pursued veterinary medicine.

The next generation of this program is going to have so many exciting features for our future guests, and I can’t wait to see our new lead ambassador walking through the hospitals training new guides!

As I wrap up my swan song, I’m inclined to think about when I was about 8 years old, visiting Texas A&M for the first time—it was the first veterinary school I had ever seen.

While my pony was being treated for a soft tissue injury, my mom and I were given a tour of the newly built Large Animal Hospital, and, in only the way that a child can, I declared something of a premonition—this is where I would become a veterinarian.

Shortly after that time, my family moved to England, and I wasn’t sure when or if I would be returning to the States. I haven’t the space to thank everyone who has played a role in my journey back to this school, but as I transition into my final year as a veterinary student, I think of them daily and am so grateful to be here, watching my childhood ambitions mature into a promising career as a DVM.

Looking Forward to Summer

Katelyn K.As my first year in veterinary school is drawing to a close, I am looking forward to the summer!

Before I started vet school last semester, my mentors back home told me to explore as many aspects of veterinary medicine as possible to not only realize the vastness of the fields in veterinary medicine, but also to confirm where my interests truly lie.

And that is exactly what I’ll be spending my summer doing—exploring the different fields of this profession.

This summer, I’ll be participating in three externships—all different from one another. One will be working only with horses in a specialty practice; one will be working with food animals, such as cattle, pigs, and goats in a rural environment; and the last one will be exploring the world of veterinary pathology.

In addition, I get to travel to Savannah, Georgia, to give an oral presentation on at the Society for Theriogenology conference this July!

So although this isn’t necessarily a typical summer “vacation,” it’s one that certainly offers a lot of opportunities!

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.

In the Home Stretch

Anna J.I am finally in the home stretch of my first year of veterinary school, with only three weeks to go, and I can’t believe it! I will soon be one-fourth of a veterinarian. This year has gone by much faster than I ever thought it would, and I’ve learned a lot along the way.

I thought my first year would only be about anatomy and physiology and more broad concepts, but I’ve gained so much clinical knowledge, as well.

Because of the new curriculum that began last year, first years get to practice exams and animal handling. We are even learning how to do ultrasounds.

I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned and use it in a clinical setting this summer!

I have also learned the importance of taking breaks. It can be easy to get caught up in studying, especially when you have two tests a week.

However, sometimes taking time out of your day to hang out with friends or go out to eat or even take a walk can be much more beneficial for your brain than just staring at a book.

Finally, I learned that your classmates are your greatest allies. There is no competition in veterinary school; everyone is working toward the common goal of getting that DVM degree.

If it wasn’t for them, I’m not sure how I would have made it through the year.

Though I’m excited for break, I can’t wait to come back and continue by journey toward being a vet.

Protecting Our Deer Population

Karly B.There have been so many things that I have learned throughout my three years in veterinary school. I am extremely grateful for all of the opportunities I have received to learn more than what our general curriculum contains.

Last week, I signed up for my certification to be able to do Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) testing in our community. CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy that affects cervids—or our white-tail deer, elk, mule deer, etc.—and has a lasting effect on our economy. The disease first came to Texas in 2012, and since then, we have been trying our best to contain it.

This certification is offered through the veterinary school, as well as the Texas Animal Health Commission. The class is part of a program of surveillance in the state of Texas to protect our wild cervid populations.

The certification course was provided to give us information and knowledge on the disease. It also served to train us on the proper ways to test deer antemortem (before they die) in an attempt to determine a cause of death and to survey the effects of CWD on our commercial herds.

We were taught by a veterinarian that is extremely passionate about protecting our Texas herds. We learned to properly collect and submit samples in order to be tested for CWD.

I took time outside of school to attend this certification, and I am so glad that I went because not only is it interesting to learn a real-world application of veterinary medicine that makes a huge impact in our community, but I was also reminded that veterinary medicine has many novel and important applications that are not necessarily just taking care of dogs and cats.

Celebrating Diversity

Kelly and her friends share at meal at the CVMBS International and Cultural Festival.
Kelly and her friends share at meal at the CVMBS International and Cultural Festival.

Every year, the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ Graduate Student Association (CVMBS), VOICE (Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment), and the Council for Diversity and Professionalism get together and host a multicultural event.

The CVMBS International and Cultural Festival celebrates diversity on campus by sharing multicultural cuisine and watching traditional performances.

This year’s event was really fun; the weather was nice and I got to hang out with my friends while enjoying food and music.

There also was a photo booth and henna station, so I got henna tattooed on my hand.

I also learned a few fun facts about henna; it started as a cooling mechanism applied on the hands and feet, with each design carrying a special meaning.

At the festival, I got a flower, which symbolizes joy and happiness.

Kelly's HennaWith only four weeks left of my third year of veterinary school, and I hope this henna brings me in lots of joy and happiness!

Most of all, I appreciate how the college dedicates a day to celebrating diversity.

I believe events like this increase awareness and show students the importance of respecting our differences, here and throughout the Texas A&M campus.

Here Come the Vets, All Dressed in White (Coats)

My second year is already about to end and reality is setting in that I will be starting clinics in the near future!

Jane V.This Friday we are having our White Coat Ceremony. Unlike a lot of professional programs in which students get their white coats within the first year, or before, they start school, the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences has students wait until the end of their second year to receive their white doctor’s coats.

I have been to several of my friends’ White Coat Ceremonies, but now it is finally time for me. I feel like I can appreciate it even more now than I would have at the beginning of the school year.

I thought I had worked hard before veterinary school just to be admitted, but that was nothing compared to veterinary school itself. Surviving two years has been no easy feat, so it is exciting to have something tangible to celebrate as our second year comes to a close.

What is almost just as exciting is that we were able to work with our faculty to reschedule our Friday classes, so we could take the ENTIRE day off to spend with our loved ones. I am so excited for my family and friends to come to College Station for this milestone in my life.

The cherry on top is that we do not have a test the following Monday! It is definitely a much-welcomed break after the slew of tests and before the onslaught of finals.

Then, just a month from now, it will be time for my last summer vacation ever! It is all going by so quickly!

For now, I will settle on putting on my white coat and looking like a veterinarian and then in just two years, I will finally get to put on that white coat and be Dr. Varkey.

Trying Something New

Hayley M.Everyone in veterinary school, and even most who are not, knows that vet school requires an abundance of study time.

However, the piece of advice that I heard the most from veterinarians, current students, and professors before and during my first year in vet school was to always make time for myself and do something that I wanted to do at least once a week, no matter how much studying I needed to do or what test was coming up.

That sounded fine and all, but during my first semester, I found myself wondering how in the world I was going to make time to do that when we have two tests a week for the majority of the semester!

As an undergraduate, I was the person who was able to study the night before a test and still get a great grade on it. I knew that was definitely not going to be the case when I got into vet school and that I would have to make some major adjustments.

So, I thought there was no way that I was going to be able to take their advice and make time for myself between studying, taking care of my pets, going to the gym, and making time for my family and boyfriend. I thought it was a lost cause and I didn’t even attempt to plan something out for myself each week, instead burying myself in my notes and study guides, because after all, school has to be my priority for the next three and a half years.

But this past week, my friends and I decided to actually take that advice and try it out to see if it might affect our grade on our upcoming anatomy test. Instead of vigorously studying the entire week, every single chance we got like we had originally planned, we took a break one afternoon and decided to go out and eat at one of our favorite restaurants and not talk about school.

We talked, we laughed, and we had a great time while eating our favorite meal—chips and queso of course—and finally took a breather and a moment for ourselves. It was definitely a needed moment, and I instantly understood why so many people had given me that advice before I started vet school.

For the remainder of the week, I felt like I had a second wind. I was able to retain more while studying and I didn’t feel so burnt out. I found myself legitimately enjoying my week instead of stressing about what to study next.

Now, I think it’s safe to say that even if my grade goes down a point or two, I will definitely begin to plan and set aside time each week to do something for myself.

For the rest of my vet school career, I will put value on self-care to make sure I make the most out of my time in school; by trying to thoroughly enjoy vet school instead of thinking about it as the time I had to study for four straight years, I know I will look back on the experience as I time I really did enjoy and remember how appreciative I am that I’ve had this awesome opportunity.

Taking Time to Travel

Priya and her mother outside of the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, India
Priya and her mother outside of the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, India

As a second semester junior at Texas A&M, my schedule can be pretty draining.

Between research, an internship, my classes, studying for the MCAT, work, volunteering, and being heavily involved in my organizations, I rarely have any time to take a break from everything and do something fun for myself.

However, this year’s Spring Break provided me with the perfect opportunity to mentally, and physically, remove myself from the craziness that comes with being a busy college student.

Normally over Spring Break, you can find me volunteering at one of the many impoverished communities across the country with Alternative Spring Break. But this year I decided, instead, to take sometime to travel.

For 10 days, I was 8,742 miles away in Calcutta (Kolkata), India!

While I was there, I was able to completely immerse myself in the culture, shopping at local markets and centres, attending a local festival, visiting all of the major tourist spots, and eating a lot of good food! I also got the chance to spend time with my grandparents with whom I’m super close but do not get to visit on a regular basis.

Additionally, one of the most unexpected opportunities that presented itself to me in India was the opportunity to shadow an ENT (ear, nose, and throat specialist) while I was there.

It was extremely eye opening to see the differences in  aspects of healthcare and patient satisfaction. For example, the ENT I was shadowing was very well known in the area and always had an overflowing waiting room; therefore, he was trying to turn over patients as quickly as possible.

Mother Teresa's tomb, inside the Motherhouse, in Kolkata, India
Mother Teresa’s tomb, inside the Motherhouse, in Kolkata, India

In an effort to be more efficient, he would bring the next patient into his office while he was finishing up with his first patient. This resulted in each patient’s personal and private healthcare information becoming public, as it was inadvertently shared with other patients.

To someone like myself who has lived in America their entire life and has grown up with HIPPA laws being in place and enforced, the reality that patient information was so public was a very out-of-the-box concept and my eyes were truly opened to what a world without HIPPA looks like.

My time in India was short but very well spent. I was able to focus a little bit more on myself and truly live in the moment, something I tend to forget when I’m in college and always planning for the future.

I enjoyed where I was and didn’t worry about where I was going to go. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to travel somewhere else in the near future!