If you really want it, you’ll make it FIT

In veterinary school, it can seem like studying and learning can consume your entire life to the point where you do not have time for anything else. It is a really intimidating feat to try to eat, sleep, shower, clean, and stay fit, all while being at school all day and studying at night.


Luckily, there are a lot of different ways I try to incorporate fitness into my life. There are many places I utilize—like the Student Recreation Center on main campus, the Wellness Room in the veterinary school, the intramural fields, and even my gym at my apartment complex.


It is all about just making time to do it.

I love to change up my workout routine, so I definitely take advantage of free workout events such as the free week for classes at the Rec Center or the veterinary school-sponsored yoga.

This semester I actually found a class that I found really interesting—hip hop. After trying it, I ended up paying for the class for the whole semester, which really motivates me to go for that hour twice a week. I love the class so much that I even convinced one of my classmates to join me!

The class really challenges me because the style is so different than what I got classically trained in, Bharatanatyam (a major form of Indian classical dance). Oddly enough, the class also is helping me with my body awareness, which made me improve on my CPR for my clinical skills class!


Hip hop hooray!

Creative Wellness

Tori ChambersOn Friday, some of my classmates and I are taking a studying break and enjoying some wellness—we will be putting the books away and painting instead!

Having typically seen these people in the realm of professionalism and medicine-minded academia, it will be nice to let our creative sides shine for a change! I only hope my dog, Jethro, doesn’t try to join in!

It’s nice to be reminded that there is a life outside of veterinary school. So often in class, we are taught to try and balance the different aspects of our lives and set ourselves up for success.

But, as we are going through our second year of veterinary school, it’s easy to just plug along with the same routine day after day. We are learning so many exciting things each day in lab and lecture that it’s very easy to hyperfocus on our school work.

I have learned that we have to actively work on diversifying our time to prevent mental and emotional fatigue. If we set up these habits now, it builds the toolbox that we can use later in life.

Class Schedule, Exams, and Stress

Recently, on a veterinary school tour, I heard this question: “How does the class schedule look like?”

Dr. NantikaI rarely get asked this—I’m more commonly asked how hard it is to get into veterinary school—but this is an important question, because, in my opinion, I think that it is harder to complete a DVM degree than it is to get accepted to veterinary school.

To start, we can look at my spring veterinary class schedule and how I am dealing with this hectic routine. I start the week with Monday, 8 a.m. exams and end with my Friday, 3 p.m. class.

My daily studying hours are blocked from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., or perhaps more like 3 a.m. Not being a morning person, this is a real challenge. It is important to know your learning style and quickly implement a study routine. This will save time for studying and will increase time for sleep. If you want to attend vet school, you need to get ready to put in that many study hours.

The exam schedule usually begins on the third week of the semester. The second-year vet students have exams almost every Monday and Friday. This continues until final exams at the end of the semester. Additionally, even though Tuesday and Wednesday classes start at 10 a.m., I still wake up and review the materials at 6 a.m. before the weekly quizzes (this semester, for pharmacology or toxicology). It feels like a constant pounding of studying, preparing, and taking exams.

The consequence of these class and exam schedules is stress. We all are dealing with it (differently, in some ways, and similarly, in others).

Because of this, I have found that it’s important to focus on my top reasons in order for me to keep going. These include:

Friends—It is delightful to have friends who accept your weaknesses and strengths. I have a language difficulty because English is not my first language, so my friends take time to spell things out for me or to explain things to me when I don’t understand the lecture. Many of my classmates were very competitive when we first got into vet school. But that competitiveness has gradually regressed as we all started to understand that we are here to be successful together. Every morning, one of my friends asks me, “Nantika, how it is going?” It’s a simple question that brings a smile and helps me get ready for the day.

Nantika Art 2CVM Counselor—I used to be afraid to let people know that I’m struggling through my classes. I stayed stressed and grumpy for my whole first-year fall semester. I became an unhappy and frustrated person, which impacted my productivity. I decided to seek help from CVM counselor Elizabeth Eaton. She guided me through accepting my weaknesses and fear of failure. I feel lucky that the Texas A&M Vet School takes the students’ mental health and wellness seriously. We also have a stress reduction room and relaxation space, where we have a massage chair and biofeedback equipment to help de-stress and help the body to achieve a relaxation response.

Time outside school—It’s hard to pull myself away from studying, but I realize I need to do something besides study. So, I chose to paint. While I’m painting, I really focus on the canvas and color in my brush. That is one form of meditation that I have started to enjoy in order to refresh my mind.

The love of medicine and animals—At the end of the day, I see the innocent eyes of my dogs, one of which recently got diagnosed with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. It reminds me why I’m pursuing this career, because I want to learn medicine and use my knowledge to improve the health of the animals.

The Importance of Wellness

Cortney P.One of the exciting things going on for students is the opening of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s new Wellness Room. The Wellness Room was designated for use by vet students and faculty when the Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex opened in 2016, and new machines and equipment were recently moved in there.

Wellness is something that is highly encouraged and talked about throughout vet school, so I thought that in light of the new opening of the wellness room, I would share my own personal wellness journey.

When I started my first semester of vet school, I had no idea how hard it would be to find balance in my life. I felt like I never had time to work out or spend time with my husband; some days I felt like I barely had enough time to shower and do other, general self-care routines. On top of that, my grades were struggling. I’m not sure how, but I did make it through my first year, and I came out stronger on the other side.

At the start of my second year school, I decided to reclaim my life and my health. While I still did a good deal of studying, I actively made time to go to the gym, spend time with my husband, and do things that calmed my mind and soul (for me, that would be taking longer walks with my dogs, reading a good book, cuddling with my cat, etc.).

The first day I started working out, I was discouraged by how out of shape I was; it was hard to ignore the little voice inside my head that kept telling me I needed to be studying right then. But I got through that, and I continued to make my working out a priority. I soon found that running was a great way to escape the frustrations and mental anguish from the day. I also found that I was more at peace and my marriage was happier when I made time for the things that are truly important to me. I started to feel stronger, healthier, and more confident. And, as a bonus, my grades were better than they had ever been since I started vet school.

I have learned a lot of things in vet school, but perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is how to take care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. No matter where you are at in life, it’s important to never forget that you matter most of all; you matter more than the goal you are trying to reach or the grade you’re hoping to get. So every now and then, take a break and go for a run, go see a movie, go relax and hang out with your friends. Do what you need to do to be in the best health (mental, physical, and emotional) you can be in.

I don’t think you will regret it.