Bustin’ Myths About Pet Ownership In Vet School

By Morgan M.

It’s a common saying in veterinary school that if you don’t start off vet school with a pet, you will graduate with one. Most of us chose this career with a love for animals in mind, so it seems fitting that many of us want to welcome pets into our own homes, if we haven’t already.

After completing my first year of veterinary school, I found myself trying to decide if I could balance owning a dog with my school commitments. After talking to many of my classmates about the pros and cons, I made the leap and adopted a dog. As his first “adoption birthday” approaches, I find myself looking back on the past year and all the benefit pet ownership has added to my life as a veterinary student. For those of you worried about bringing your pet to veterinary school or any current veterinary students considering adding one to your family, I have compiled my personal list of pet ownership in vet school myths.

  • MYTH: Owning a pet while in veterinary school will make me more stressed.

My Experience: Caring for a pet has helped decrease my stress and improved personal balance and time management. Owning a dog has forced me to set aside time every day after class to give him attention and exercise. While this obviously benefits him, it also has forced me to give myself a relaxing “brain break” after a long day of classes (a brain break I did not used to take on my own). 

  • MYTH: It is hard for college students to afford and access veterinary care.

My Experience: High-quality veterinary care is easily accessible to veterinary students. The Texas A&M Small and Large Animal Teaching Hospitals are a short, five-minute walk from our veterinary school and offer primary care services (vaccines, wellness exams, dental cleanings), board-certified specialty care (surgery, radiographs, emergency services), and emerging clinical research trials. In addition, Texas A&M students receive a generous student discount on veterinary services and can schedule their pets for drop-off appointments to fit veterinary care into our busy class schedules.

In addition, students receive discounts on food and other pet products. As Texas A&M students, we are lucky to be supported by a wide variety of veterinary producers. Students can apply for heavily discounted pet food, laboratory tests, supplements, and preventatives. Sponsors at student events, knowing our love for animals, often bring pet-themed giveaways such as leashes, toys, treats, and pet supply coupons.

  • MYTH: I won’t have any time for my pet with the busy class schedule.

My Experience: Scheduled breaks during the day allow students to go home in between classes. All veterinary students have a lunch hour from noon to 1 p.m. Students are welcome to leave campus and have lunch at home with their pets before returning for afternoon classes and labs.

In addition, “vet school pets” get to participate in our veterinary education. The veterinary program at Texas A&M has a strong focus on hands-on-learning, so every semester, there are opportunities for “bring-your-pet-to-lab” days. Friendly, well-behaved pets are invited to join their owners in class and help the students learn about physical exams, dental exams, rehabilitation techniques, and ultrasound, just to name a few!

  • MYTH: If class runs late or I need to leave town for an externship, I won’t have anyone to help take care of my pet.

My Experience: Veterinary school provides an easily accessible support network for pet owners. Before adopting my dog, I was worried about finding care for him if I had to leave town. However, I quickly learned that my class is full of other animal lovers like myself who are willing to help out with pet care if I need assistance. As my third-year classmates and I look forward to our fourth-year clinics, we have already started preparing a group schedule to make sure everyone’s pets will be looked after if their owners pursue educational opportunities outside of College Station.

Every vet student’s vet school experience is different. While for some, pet ownership may add another obligation to an already busy schedule, I personally have no regrets about adopting a dog during veterinary school. Texas A&M provides an accommodating schedule, easily accessible high-quality veterinary care, and a great community of other animal lovers who have helped me continue to succeed as a veterinary student with my dog by my side.

A young woman kneels beside a brown dog with a sign celebrating her countdown to graduation from vet school.
Morgan with her dog, Jovi.

Vet School Online

When getting ready to leave for spring break, I was excited to have a week off of school, but also excited to come back to see my friends and get right back into studying.

Towards the end of spring break, we all receive news that classes were cancelled for the week we were supposed to return due to COVID-19. Then, a few days later we were all told that all classes would be moved online, and we would not meet in person for the rest of the semester. After that news broke, I was left wondering how my veterinary education would look like for the rest of the semester.

At first, I didn’t think much of it. I figured we would just watch the lecture online. Then it hit me that we wouldn’t be having our hands-on labs anymore.

This semester, we are taking large animal anatomy and were in the middle of dissections prior to spring break. I panicked a little bit thinking that I was going to be losing that valuable time in the lab learning hands on.

However, our anatomy professor came to the rescue. She and the other anatomy professor got to work right away making detailed videos in the lab for us to watch and learn from. Her and the rest of our professors have been wonderful in helping us as much as they can during this crazy transition to online vet school.

I have been trying to stick to my normal schedule during this whole process. But it’s a little hard to stay focused at home with my two dogs constantly wanting to play. Now, instead of spending my normal 10-minute breaks I would have in between classes talking to friends in the halls, I spend them playing with my dogs in the backyard.

This time has been challenging on everyone, everywhere. But during this time, it’s important to try and stay positive and find the joy in the little things everywhere you can.

Spring break this year was anything but normal in all aspects but one, my annual Texas State Park parade.

Every year, I venture off with my dogs, Luca, Svarta, and Zoey, to three Texas State Parks for a week filled with hiking, exploring, and copious amount of fresh air. In the past, we’ve gone to Lost Maples State Park, Garner State Park, Dinosaur Valley State Park, and a few others. But, by far, our favorites to go to are Enchanted Rock State Park, Pedernales Falls State Park, and McKinney Falls State Park, which is exactly where we headed to this last spring break.

The first park we went to was Enchanted Rock. The park is located right outside of Fredericksburg in the beautiful hill country of Texas and the pink granite and white quartz of the area make hiking around the area breathtaking!

After a long and fun-filled day at Enchanted Rock, we made our way back home and recouped for day hikes at Pedernales Falls and McKinney Falls. Toward the end of the week, and after getting our fill of sun and nature, we packed up our things and headed back to College Station to prepare for the unknown in the remaining weeks in the semester.

These past few weeks have been very dynamic, but one thing that is unchanging is the dedication of our professors here at vet school.

Every day, they send out email updates and meet us via video chat for our lectures. Classes that would have otherwise been impossible to incorporate via an online platform have been rearranged to accommodate us in this trying time.

Our surgery class is now distance learning from home as we video chat with our professors while performing procedures on the synthetic organs distributed to us. Our anesthesia class is now fully virtual with helpful question and answer sessions to reinforce the subject matter, and our clinical skills course still pushes on with at-home tutorials of how to perform necessary skills like equine dentistry, hoof care, and much more.

The curriculum was, to say the least, difficult, if not impossible, to adapt to an online format, but the staff and faculty which support our education have done it. One of our professors, while recording a lecture for us, was having mic issues and so aptly said, “we must adapt and overcome”, and that is exactly what we are all doing.


Lessons Learned from Last Semester

I’ve made it through my first semester as a veterinary student and am now charging my way through second semester. As I look at the classes, labs, tests, and experiences that lie ahead this semester, it is a perfect time to reflect on all that I learned from last semester and how it will help me moving forward.


Our first test of this semester is already just around the corner. In your first year, it is typical to have a test on Monday and Friday each week. This schedule can be demanding at first, but you learn ways to manage your time in order to succeed.


Last semester, I fell into a schedule of studying for a particular test as it came up, which ended up leaving me with very little time during the weekends before Monday tests. Losing weekends for consecutive weeks definitely took a toll on me, and I got very tired later in the semester.  Knowing what I know now, I plan to try a different approach to studying for my tests. Each day, it is my goal to set aside 30 minutes to an hour right after school during which I will stay at the school and recap all of the things I learned in each class.


Then, at least once a week, I plan to review again the things I learned in class that week. Hopefully with this strategy, I can keep topics fresher on my mind, instead of learning something in class and then not revisiting it until the week before the test.


I’d also like to see if this helps free up more of my time on the weekends so that I can use that time to relax and recharge or take care of things like grocery shopping and cleaning. I also found it challenging to put aside time to take care of my physical health last semester, especially on weeks with two tests.


Now, I am making it a goal to use the gym at the veterinary school at least three days a week, since I know that once I am home, I tend to focus on studying and can forget to fit in a workout. From the times I did stick to my workout schedule last semester, I found that it really made me feel better and more awake during the day and also served as a great mental break from studying. For that reason, I want to make my physical health an even bigger priority this semester.

Veterinary school is, without a doubt, a challenging time, but reflecting on the things you learn about yourself can help guide you toward a more successful future. It’s all about learning what works best for you and what is sustainable with your schedule!

New Year’s Resolution


People often say that hindsight is 20/20 and nowhere have I seen that to be more true than in my first semester of veterinary school. Looking back, there are many things I’m very proud of but also many things I hope to change for this next semester. Because of this, I decided to make some resolutions for my first semester in 2020. I’ll start with the things I was proud of and that I am going to make an effort to continue.


Last semester, I was very happy with how consistently I exercised and the goal I had to get to know as many of my classmates as possible. While I haven’t been able to meet everyone yet, I have made some very close friends that I’ll be able to reach out to even after I graduate. As for my new resolutions, I decided to only make two so that they would be easy to keep track of.


The first goal I have is to try to gain experience in as many aspects of veterinary medicine as possible. My background in veterinary medicine is mainly small animal, but I really want to see all types of medicine before I pick my track in my third year of school.

My second resolution is to improve my study habits. I had very good study habits as an undergraduate, but about a month into my first semester of veterinary school, I realized I was going to have to relearn how I studied; there just simply wasn’t enough time to do as much test preparation as I used to.

Toward the end of last semester, I began to figure out what methods worked the best for me, and now my goal is to continue to develop those methods so that I can become much more efficient at learning all of the new material.

As I was thinking of my resolutions, I decided to reach out to some of my new friends at school and see if they had made any themselves. A lot of them had, so I want to share them here, as well, for anyone who is looking for resolution ideas.

One of my friends is taking the approach of making three new goals each month. This month, she is striving to drink a gallon of water each day, take 10,000 steps a day, and practice intermittent fasting. Another of my friends has a much smaller goal of simply not buying Cheetos from the vending machine during our long afternoons of class.


Yet another friend is trying to focus on keeping her car cleaner throughout the year. And the last friend told me that her goal is to continue to kick butt in veterinary school and support her fellow “DVM Queens” in the process. My resolutions and my friends’ resolutions have motivated me to start this second semester off strong and to push myself to be better both in school and in my life outside of school. I hope everyone is able to start their year off strong and succeed at any resolutions they have made for themselves.

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!

Graduation Time

I can’t believe I’m graduating! 

Honestly, it really hasn’t hit me yet; I’ve taken graduation pictures and have posted them, but still, I don’t feel that I am graduating. Maybe it’s because right now, I am so preoccupied with finals. 

I think it is ironic that this fall, the Biomedical Sciences (BIMS) graduation falls on Friday, Dec. 13. What makes this day even more spooky is that the graduation is happening at night! I wonder whose great idea it was to do that. 

The only downside about graduating early is that I will have to play the waiting game. Currently, I am applying to multiple veterinary schools, and I do not yet know whether I even qualify for an interview. 

For those not familiar with the veterinary school application process, I like to say there is equivalent to three parts to the process. The first part is actually applying, where you’re filling out your coursework and experiences. If the school likes your application, they can invite you to an interview; these interviews don’t happen until December to February, depending on the veterinary school. 

After the interview, the school will let you know whether you have been accepted, which usually happens between January and March, again, depending on the school. 

Waiting so long is anxiety-inducing, but during these upcoming months, I have made plans to keep me occupied. 

During December to March, I hope to work part-time at the same animal clinic that I have been working at for the past few years. 

From March to April, I hope to travel to Japan and South Korea! Since I am waiting on veterinary school interviews to be scheduled, I haven’t yet purchased tickets for either of these countries; however, I do know that I want to travel during those months so if not Japan and South Korea, I may choose to go to Thailand and Vietnam instead.

For May to August, I have two different plans, depending on the outcome of a summer internship I’ve applied for. If I get the summer internship in Sacramento, I will head to California for the summer, which is great and ideal because my whole family lives in Sacramento. If I do not receive the internship, I will continue working at my clinic. 

All of this, of course, is second to getting accepted to a veterinary school, so wish me luck!

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.

Looking Toward the Future

I am now about 10 weeks into my third year of veterinary school.


Although it has only been a few years, when I think back to when I was dreaming and praying that I’d get accepted into my dream veterinary school (Texas A&M, whoop!), it feels like a lifetime ago. Now, in a few short months, I will be entering my yearlong clinical rotations as a fourth-year student—and it feels surreal. It’s also a little scary because it’s a reminder that the future is fast approaching.


Since the beginning of this semester, our professors have felt the need to sprinkle in little reminders every once in a while by saying things like, “In about a year and seven months, you will be the doctor making the decision on this case. So, what will you do for this patient?”


Usually, one brave student will speak up and answer the professor’s question, while the rest of us stare at her with wide, caught-off-guard eyes all because she said the words “you will be the doctor.” It feels odd to be scared of the dream that I’ve been chasing and working toward for all of this time.

It really seems like just yesterday that I was buried deep in my anatomy book, and now all of the sudden, I’m spending hours working on my resume and looking up externships/post-graduation job opportunities. There has also been a dramatic shift in the types of courses we’re taking this semester. During the first two years of our curriculum, we focused on learning and memorizing the basics and the foundation of veterinary medicine. We took classes like anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology.

Now, in our classes—like Small Animal/Large Animal Diagnostics and Treatment—and our selected career-focused tracks, we have moved onto applying that foundational knowledge to recognize, diagnose, and treat diseases. In addition, now, we’re given with cases of how a patient might present, and we have to determine what diagnostics we might want to run or what our treatment plan might look like. Slowly, but surely, we’re learning how to think like doctors.

It’s a new kind of stress that makes me excited because I’m getting closer to becoming a veterinarian and caring for animals.Thinking about finally reaching that goal after years of hard work makes looking toward the future a little less frightening.

Finding Extracurriculars During Vet School

Before starting at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, I knew that it was going to be important for me to have a life outside of class because I easily get so hyper-focused on my academic obligations that I get burned out.


Extracurriculars were my plan to keep myself energized. I knew that there would be clubs for students to join and outside activities for us to get involved in, but I never could have imagined how many options we would have.


On the first day of orientation, we were presented with over two-dozen student clubs that we could join. These clubs ranged from Cat Club to Internal Medicine to Green Vets to the Veterinary Medicine Business Association.


Outside of these clubs there were a lot of events for us to attend, including a CVM BBQ, a mentor-mentee taco dinner, and a Calf-Fry with live music. I quickly learned that there is definitely no shortage of ways for me to be engaged with my classmates outside of class.


I have also always been someone who relieves stress through physical activity. As an undergraduate, I did this through intramural sports, so I wanted to find this in the veterinary school as well.


To do this, I decided to run for and was elected to be one of the Health and Wellness Representatives for my class. One of my responsibilities in this job is to organize intramural teams, and I am excited to say that we will be playing sand volleyball, flag football, and ultimate frisbee this semester!


The first few weeks of veterinary school have definitely been stressful, but having all of these exciting opportunities outside of class has made it so much more fun.