Tips For Being Married In Vet School

By Soha L.’25, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student

A young man in a navy blazer and a woman in a white medical coat standing in the shade under a tree.

If you find yourself taking an alternative route before applying to or starting veterinary school, know that you are not alone! Soon after completing my undergraduate degree in 2019, I got engaged and therefore decided to take a couple of years off from school to work, live life, and get married.

At the time, I had no idea how much having a spouse during vet school was going to shape my life. If you are lucky enough to be in a committed relationship with someone who is willing to move anywhere with you and help you follow your dreams, then I have some tips for being married in vet school for you!

Make Time For Each Other

Always make time to go on dates and spend quality time together that does not revolve around vet school. You will spend more time than you think sharing your experiences with your partner/spouse, and while I’m sure they want to be supportive, it’s considerate to give them a night off and just make time for them.

Take Your Spouse To Outings With Classmates

It was a little difficult at first for my husband to make friends with everyone since we talked about school a lot and he couldn’t relate. You will form a family-like bond with your classmates over the years with people that genuinely love you and will be supportive of everything about you. Over time, my classmates and I realized how much we have in common aside from school, and not only did my friendships grow with them but my husband has become much closer with them as well.

Don’t Forget To Support Them, Too

Lastly, you will feel like you’re having some of the hardest moments of your life during vet school due to the academic rigor, isolation from friends and family who predate your veterinary school admission, and constant pressure. At the end of the day your spouse is who keeps you smiling through it all. But understand that they are going through hardships too and constantly supporting you, so always give your support back.

It may seem difficult to prioritize and set aside the time for a partner/spouse during vet school at first, but you quickly realize that this person is going to be there with you every step of the way and be there for you when you need support most. From when you get your acceptance letter, Aggie ring, and white coat, to when you’re feeling burnt out and defeated, your better half will always be there cheering you on.

A Lesson in Adaptation

There is an overarching topic that is seemingly inescapable in our world today. COVID-19 and its many implications are constantly brought to mind whether I am watching the news, talking with my parents, or browsing the almost empty grocery aisles. This is a very uncertain time.

Throughout this season it has been easy to slip into a negative mindset, focused on the things I am missing during my last semester of college and the current state of our world.

However, I am realizing throughout all the events out of my control I still have a choice. How will I respond?

First, I am making the choice to remain positive and use this season to challenge my ability to practice mental toughness. I am learning to release control and adapt to unique circumstances.
Although I typically thrive on structure and planning, this is a learning experience where I get to adapt to a season of constant change.

The extra week off for Spring Break has allowed me to spend quality time with my family. I have played with my little cousins, baked bread with my mom, and spent hours outside enjoying the beautiful weather with my dogs.

As a family, we are brainstorming ways to serve our community during this time that is affecting so many. There are many amazing organizations that are working very hard to provide for families who are hurting due to the current environment. I am hoping to play a small part in helping support these families.

As my classes shift to an online format next week, I am choosing to be flexible. I’m not sure what the remainder of the semester is going to look like academically, but I am ready to continue
expanding my knowledge in a new way.

It will be a challenge to learn from a distance without the comradery of peers and interaction with professors, but I am looking forward to growing from this experience. I know I am not alone in being nervous about the shift in class structure. Friends and even professors have expressed their worries, but we are a community of Aggies who are strong and resilient. I am confident that we will support each other throughout this change.

Reflecting on my college experience as a whole, I am incredibly thankful. I am thankful for my time as a BIMS ambassador where I got to represent this amazing college. I am thankful for the amazing professors I have encountered in my classes. I am thankful for my wonderful friends I have met along my journey. I am thankful for my family who has encouraged and supported me through the ups and downs. Finally, I am thankful for Texas A&M for providing me with so much more than a good education.

Coming Together for Brooke

As a second-year veterinary school student, I think I can speak for everyone when I say that veterinary school has a funny way of warping your priorities in life.

With the high volume of information and stress that students are typically under, it’s very easy to let things like sleep, self-care, and maintaining relationships fall to the wayside in favor of reviewing just one more lecture or finishing just one more assignment until you look up to find that it’s midnight.

This was the unfortunate cycle I found myself in just two weeks ago as I tried to catch up on school after missing a week because of the flu. I likely would’ve continued this way until at least Spring Break.

However, life had other plans.

Friday, Feb. 21, found me not carefully following my meticulous study schedule like I had planned for the weekend but holding the hand of my best friend in the emergency room.

She had been experiencing shortness of breath for a couple of weeks but, as we all do, decided to attempt to manage her symptoms the best she could until we had a break in exams. If she was still experiencing issues at that point, she would go to the doctor to see about getting treatment, since it was more likely something like bronchitis rather than allergies.

Neither of us could have ever been prepared when the doctor informed us they had found a mass roughly the size of an orange sitting in the center of her chest and the cause for the shortness of breath she was experiencing was likely cancer.

In that single instance, my priorities completely rearranged.

No longer was I worried about the upcoming assignment that was due or catching up. My No. 1 priority became doing anything and everything I could to support my best friend.

The next 48 hours were a blur of family, meetings with doctors, discussing hospital possibilities, and developing a plan of action. As we progressed through the week, faculty members and our classmates were informed of the events of the weekend.

I am still in awe of the response. I watched as my classmates completely reorganized their lives, and the hours that were normally spent secluding ourselves in a study bubble were readily forgotten in favor of organizing events to support my best friend, which became top priority.

The way our CVM family has come together to support one of our own has been an amazing reminder that we are all here for the same dream, but we can’t accomplish that dream alone. Dreams and goals are so important, but they are nothing compared to the people beside us.

May you all remember to look up from the books once awhile and take in the life around you…because life comes at you fast.


My First Birthday in Veterinary School

This year was the first year I was truly on my own for my birthday.

In planning for the occasion, with two upcoming tests, I decided it was better for my, my family’s, and my husband’s schedules if we all met up in two weeks. However, that didn’t make my birthday any less special.

The day itself started out with sweet “happy birthday” texts from my family and husband and then in-person wishes from my classmates.

With a long day of class and studying for our anatomy test that Friday, I spent most of my day at school, but that didn’t stop my friends and me from celebrating later that night, when we all went to eat dinner at Mad Taco. While we talked about school some, we were able to get out of an academic environment and just hang out with each other.

These kinds of nights are my favorite because they allow us an outlet to get out of “study-mode” and get into a more relaxed and lighthearted situation. They, my friends surprised me with a birthday cake topped with candles.

After we were finished with dinner, I studied a little more and then ended my day with a couple short Facetime calls to my parents and best friend, as well as a longer one with my husband.

While it’s hard to be so far away from my parents, husband, and best friends, they showered me with love in the best ways they could.

My veterinary school friends have quickly become “my people” and are the ones who truly understand the struggles and victories, the highs and lows, and everything in between of being a veterinary student.

I’m incredibly lucky to have found them so early in school and am so thankful that they help keep me sane during this journey.

My birthday wouldn’t have been the same without all of the special people in my life!

Welcome Back

It’s the first day back at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) after winter break, and I feel recharged.

I went home to Michigan to spend some much-needed time with family feeling very proud of myself for all I accomplished in my first semester and feeling even prouder of how well I did, not to “humble-brag.”

Within the first week of being home, it started snowing, which meant one thing—snowball fight. My two older brothers and I reverted into our inner children and it was amazing; it felt like a mini-celebration for the end of the semester.

I sent all of my friends in Texas a picture of the snow and was very excited.

Sadly, however, it all melted, so there was no white Christmas for me, but on the bright side, I did get to see how pretty everything looked covered in snow without really having to drive through it. I know this may seem a bit foreign to some Texans, but up north when it snows, the salt trucks hit the road as it starts sticking and it’s only really an issue if the snow is continuous…sometimes. Luckily, they were on point when I was home.

Over the break I got some much-deserved sleep and got to see friends and family for the first time in months. We spent hours just talking and catching.

I would like to say I was productive over the break, but, honestly, I felt like I was in a three-week coma and just slept. But, hey, at least I’m going back in fully rested.

I also can’t wait to see all of my DVM friends. I made all of them animal plushies as a belated Christmas present. They are really cute, in my opinion, but so time-consuming.

Looking ahead, this semester, we get to start on our pathology class, and I am so excited. I love learning all about diseases and what causes them.

Here’s to hoping for an even better spring semester. Wish me luck!

It Takes A Village

It’s finals time again at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), and as everyone knows, behind every good veterinary student is an entire village of people ensuring we keep a shred of our sanity.

For those of you who have not experienced this firsthand, veterinary school finals are not like undergraduate finals, which are more similar to a regular test and you are likely given a review and/or time without regular class to study.

Instead, our finals are a culmination of everything we have learned in each class, plus anything we have learned since beginning veterinary school, if the professor chooses. Our finals also begin while regular classes are still meeting and end with a week consisting of an exam every day beginning at 8 a.m.

Needless to say, it’s a bit of a rough time

However, it is also an encouraging time because you find out just how many people are on your side.

In just this week alone I have witnessed everyone at school come together to support the students. Professors have been answering questions over email late into the night, librarians have set out snacks in the study rooms, and the café has always been stocked with sources of caffeine.

Even the very students who are going through finals themselves have made a point to reach out to one another with a joke, kind words, or simply just reassuring each other.

I should also mention just how appreciated our relationships with those outside of school are, as well, during this time. The breaks from constant revision, reminders that there are non-school things to enjoy, and help in simple life chores that allow us more time to study are invaluable.

Finals are most definitely a rough time, but I know my classmates and I will make it through and be one step closer to fulfilling our dreams of becoming veterinarians because of the help from our people.As for my own personal village, thank you for reminding me to eat, sleep, and take the time to enjoy things this week—I couldn’t do it without you!

Being Thankful

Wow! This semester has flown by! It seems like we just began! As things wrap up, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to say some things I’m thankful for.

First, I’m thankful for the opportunity to be here at Texas A&M in the veterinary school. At this time last year, I was hoping, wishing, and praying to be in the position I’m in now. I couldn’t imagine being at any other veterinary school and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow in the veterinary field.

Second, I’m thankful for my friends and family, who are so supportive of me and my journey to becoming a veterinarian.This semester hasn’t been the easiest because my husband is in medical school in Lubbock, but he has shown so much support of me being here and chasing my dream. My parents tell me daily that they love me and are so proud of me, even when I’m not proud of myself and I’m disappointed in my performance on a test.

I’m thankful for the friends I made during undergraduate career who became the sisters I never had.

Third, I’m thankful for the group of friends that I have made here in my class. They have made me laugh when I’ve wanted to cry and are the only people who truly understand the rigor of the veterinary program.

Finally, I’m thankful for my pups who keep me less stressed and begrudgingly let me practice my physical exam and palpation skills. So many people have contributed to making my first semester of veterinary school the best that it can be—I have a lot to be thankful for.

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.

Home Sweet Home

As a junior biomedical sciences (BIMS) student, I have had a good amount of time really get used to my college life and what it really means to balance school, work, a social life, and most importantly, sleep!

The homesickness that results from living away from home, however, never really goes away—especially when home is a 10-hour drive, in sweet, old El Paso.

Homesickness is something everyone, at one point or another, experiences. Calling and video-chatting home to ask for mom’s recipes and dad’s help with “that strange sound the car’s been making” seems to help even the most stressed students cope, but it just simply isn’t the same as having a home-cooked meal and a warm hug to come home to.

As a very family-oriented individual, attending a school so far away from my parents, a school as great as Texas A&M, seemed nearly impossible! Fast forward to three years later, though, and here I am, so close to graduating!

I have officially finished my first round of exams, all in the same week. Having to choose between studying for biochemistry, immunology, or “Great Diseases of the World” was not an easy task, might I add.

After a long couple of weeks, almost halfway through the semester (and after saving up), I decided to reward myself with a trip home!

Driving 10 hours, back and forth, is almost impossible to do in just one weekend, so flying is the best option.

I have been looking forward to this little getaway from busy College Station for so long, and I cannot believe it is finally here! I am overwhelmed with joy by just thinking about seeing my friends and family!

As CVM Ambassadors, we are asked all kinds of questions. One of the most common, and my personal favorite, is, “What was the hardest thing about coming to college?” While, of course, study habits and college workloads do take a while to develop and strengthen, I always answer with a variant of the same thing: independence is something that takes a bit of time to really get used to!

When we are younger, we are so eager to start the rest of our lives, to move out, to be ourselves, and to be on our own! We fail to realize how much of home some of us might miss, how comforting it is to ride in the back of the car with your siblings, how hard it is to get your favorite dish to taste just how Mom made it, or how reassuring a smile or hug from your family was after a long day.

Life comes at us very quickly and soon we are real adults with real responsibilities! So, as every romantic comedy has mentioned before, enjoy every little moment!

I know I sure will this weekend!

Life Lessons in Veterinary School

cortney-peaseThe veterinary school curriculum is designed to teach you many things. Yes, you will learn plenty of anatomy, physiology, and pathology, but there are some things that aren’t part of the curriculum that vet school teaches you, as well.

I feel like each semester I have learned at least one very important lesson that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

In my first semester, that lesson was that failures are a part of life and everything will be OK afterwards. My second semester, I learned that hard work pays off, and my third semester, I learned that it is OK to take the time to take care of yourself.

This semester—which is my sixth, and final, semester of coursework before starting clinical rotations—has already taught me so much in such a short period of time.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the fragility of life and the most important things in it, and there is really only one answer that I keep coming back to—people. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for the incredible people in my life, I would not be counting down the months until graduation (15, in case you were wondering).

My classmates and friends have been a huge driving force in my life these past three years. They provide support and encouragement. They share in my struggles. And, in the end, we all earn our victory together.

There have been many times that I have felt defeated and one of my friends reminds me that it might be one failing exam grade but it does not define me as a person.

There’s also my dad, who calls at least once a week to ask me how my week is going and to make sure I get a healthy dose of “dad jokes” and my mom, who always keeps me in the loop about what’s going on at home and reminds me that there is a world outside of vet school.

My two sisters are a constant source of love and always bring a smile to my face. My nieces look up to me so much—one even says she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up—and that is enough motivation to keep anyone going.

Last, but certainly not least, my husband goes above and beyond to take care of me and support my dreams. He deserves a gold medal for all that he does on a daily basis.

These people have all done their part to make me successful, and I hope I do a good enough job of returning that love to them. I hope that I never take any of them for granted.

All of this to say, whether you are focused on trying to get into veterinary school, struggling through vet school, or trying to advance your career, never forget to take the time to nourish and appreciate your relationships. At the end of the day, the people in your life are what matters most, so make sure that they know that.