Ali & Zoe Fowler // Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine
Ali & Zoe are 4th year veterinary student at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine.
I can't thank Ali & Zoe enough for her time, friendship, and vulnerability to share her thoughts with TTV. Their answers regarding her experience in veterinary school, mental health challenges, and more are available below below. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact TheTurquoiseVet@gamil.com.
- Why did you initially want to be a part of veterinary medicine? *
- The elementary answer was when I was in third grade and our counselor came to our class to tell us about college and what attending college means. During her lesson, she showed a picture of Reveille when discussing Texas A&M and since I lived dogs, I figured that is where I should go to school. The more educated answer is I knew I loved medicine and the concept of understanding how the body functions and when it stops functioning normally, what can we do as practitioners to fix the problem. Since I could never handle human wounds, blood, injuries, etc. I knew Veterinary Medicine would be more my speed. After taking vet related classes in high school, I knew this career was one I wanted to pursue.
- What are your goals post graduation as a new graduate? (i.e. SA GP, LA GP, SA ER, Therio, etc.) *
- Zoe- SA ER Ali- SA GP
- Why is mental health important to you? *
- This is something I really struggled with as a pre-vet student in college. I had a few very difficult years both emotionally and physically. As tough as that time was, I truly believe I would not have been able to thrive in vet school without those experiences. I am now much stronger because of it and have since aimed to share my experiences with others in hopes of helping someone who may be going through something similar.
- What skills have you implemented into your daily routine to mitigate stress, anxiety, depression, etc.*
- Being strict with time management. Scheduling time to workout, blocking off study time, making time to enjoy a movie before bed or hanging out with friends on the weekends. Being strict with study cut off times has been a game changer for us as well as getting 8 hours of sleep each night.
- How does the administration at your school approach mental health? Is it a priority? Do they offer resources?
- We have several counselors available for students both for scheduled appointments and drop in visits every week day at no cost to vet students. We also have several labs throughout the semester discussing topics such as health and well-being, diversity, inclusion, mental health awareness, suicide prevention, etc.
- Did you feel prepared as a pre-veterinary student going to veterinary school? If you could go back, what would you change about your preparation? *
- We felt our major (biomedical sciences) prepared us very well for vet school, especially when it came to classes such as small animal anatomy and physiology as a 1VM. Also having been in a clinical setting for 5+ years before starting vet school helped with our confidence.
- What advice do you have for someone interested in diving in deep into this industry? *
- Get as much experience as you can. Shadow at various clinics, see what a day in the life of a large animal vet or zoo vet entails. That experience is priceless and will help one decide if the path of vet med is right for them! Don’t be afraid to ask about shadow/internship opportunities and ask questions!
- What advice do you have for someone struggling with mental health? *
- It is not a sign of weakness. Reaching out for help and talking to a professional is hard but so worth it. If a professional is not available or seems uncomfortable as a starting point, reaching out to a friend/family member you trust can help.
- How has your vet school experience helped make you prioritize your needs and wants as a future veterinarian? (i.e., practice environment, sign-on bonus, prioritizing work-life balance, etc.)*
- The main thing we have changed from undergrad to vet school was choosing social life over school, when applicable. Obviously school comes first, but telling yourself 5 hours is plenty of study time in one day and rewarding yourself with a dinner and movie with friends is healthy and will prevent burn out in the long run. This type of work-life balance is something we will 100% be implementing in our careers as veterinarians. We want to be doctors who love their career, but we do not want our career to be our life. When I’m off the clock, I want to be off the clock and enjoy time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, and traveling. This is how I aim to prioritize my needs.
- Do you have any additional information that you would like to share that pertains to mental health & vet med advocation?
- The veterinary professional is hard and can be filled with negative emotions. Be the change you wish to see. Uplift your colleagues, offer a smile, be a positive outlet for others. We need more positivity in vet med.