Keeping Up A Running Habit In Veterinary School

By Aly D. ’25, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student

When I started veterinary school, I was worried that I would spend all of my time in class, in the lab, or at my desk studying. I thought that long distance running, a hobby I’ve been doing for several years, would quickly become a thing of the past.

However, throughout the first three years of veterinary school, I have found quite the opposite to be true. I have never been more consistent in my running schedule than I have been during vet school!

The August before vet school, I bonded with one of my classmates over our love for running. We made a plan to start running short distances every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday beginning the week before vet school started. Although we eventually switched to two days a week, we stayed consistent, and weeks turned into months and semesters of running together. Our weekly morning meetups were an excellent way to keep me accountable because I had a buddy who was expecting me to show up and conquer our workout each day.

Two young women in running gear making the thumbs up sign.

During my second year, I gained another running buddy when I overheard one of my classmates talking about completing the same half marathon I was registered for. We began comparing training schedules and how we were planning to work up to 13.1 miles. She was my encouragement and supported me as we increased mileage together. After tackling a half marathon the winter break of second year, we set our sights on completing our first full marathon this spring during our third year of vet school.

Throughout vet school, I have run routes with several of my classmates who share the joy of outdoor running. Their support has encouraged and inspired me to stay consistent and to continue challenging myself to complete longer distances that I would have never attempted before. Much to my surprise, I have grown as a runner throughout vet school.

Veterinary medicine is a team sport in many ways and thanks to the support from my running buddies, I plan on conquering my first full marathon this spring!

Returning from the Break

The hardest part of winter break is how short it is—just long enough for a mental break from school, but just short enough that you yearn for another week off. On the positive side, winter break can be a time to enjoy friends and family or even show off your new skills that you learned during school.

During my break, in December, I traveled to the lovely state of California to watch my little brother play in his last high school lacrosse tournament. Watching my little brother enjoy his passion is an inspiration and a reminder for me to find a hobby to be passionate about it.

Also during the trip, the state of California won my heart; I possibly found my future home.In addition to my small amount of travel, I went back to work at my home clinic. To most, working over break would be less than ideal, but I really enjoy it.

Going back to the clinic gets better and better with each semester as I learn more and more here at Texas A&M. I can finally understand the doctor’s thought process when working up a case, and the veterinarians continue to push me to think more like a doctor each and every day.

Plus, I get to show off the new skills I have learned in my “Professional and Clinical Skills” classes, things like new suturing patterns or how to work the ultrasound.

I did get to enjoy the little things in life over winter break, things like dinner dates with your best friends you haven’t seen in a year or eating a messy breakfast with your goddaughter; little moments like these are ones that last a lifetime and stick with you in the future. Break is always nice time to reflect and get in the right mindset for the next semester. The second semester of every year is an exciting one, as we start to test our knowledge and are encouraged to start thinking like doctors in classes like “Organ Dysfunction.” We also get to dip our hands into the exciting world of surgery with our “Principles of Surgery” class, which is where we start to learn about the proper techniques and gear up for “Junior Surgery” come fall.

My 2020 is shaping up to be an exciting one, filled with new adventures, positive thoughts and encounters, and encouragement in learning. As we begin a new year and a new semester, I encourage students to take a moment to reflect on their break and what they did, to recognize the little joys that were experienced over break and the memories that come.