I am a rising 3rd year veterinary student at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. 

My answers regarding my 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.

  1. Why did you initially want to be a part of veterinary medicine? *
    1. Born and raised in a small town of Germantown, Ohio, where I gained my livestock experience from my family’s owned and operated beef feedlot operation, livestock transportation business, A2A2 specialty dairy, FFA activities, and 4-H involvement that allowed me to see the importance of having quality veterinary care. Having the opportunity to be a part of a large-scale beef operation was a driving point that sparked my involvement in food animal production. As I complete my DVM, I plan to directly serve my community by providing the food animal services that have been virtually nonexistent for nearly a decade.
  2. What are your goals post graduation as a new graduate? (i.e. SA GP, LA GP, SA ER, Therio, etc.) *
    1. Food Animal Medicine with aspirations to work directly in cow-calf and/or feedlot medicine.
  3. Why is mental health important to you? *
    1. Unfortunately, I've learned the hard way when it comes to realizing the importance of mental health. I was in a very narcissistic, manipulative, emotionally abusive relationship and lost myself in the process of trying to get out. I had many nervous breakdowns, including spontaneous peptic ulcers and multiple passing-out episodes, the left side of my face would go numb, and I would spontaneously lose complete motor function in my left arm. After finally being free from the relationship, I have spent the last year recovering and healing. The research on the emotional, mental, and physical toll on abuse survivors is unreal. And I could go on and on, but the people who have experienced this will understand. Regardless, I would have never thought in a million years how vital mental health is for overall function and success. I grew up in a "put your head down and push through" household, and it has not implemented quality practices into my life. That is why mental health is so important to me. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
  4. What skills have you implemented into your daily routine to mitigate stress, anxiety, depression, etc.*
    1. My answer is a little more unique compared to some. I have had a long history of Hashimoto's disease and PCOS symptoms. I finally had enough and went to a Functional Doctor. I did a few baseline panels, including a neurotransmitter panel. All of my neurotransmitters were severely depleted except my norepinephrine. This played a huge contributor to why I was experiencing depression, no motivation, anxiety, insomnia, etc. Once I started supplementation, it made everyday tasks a little more feasible. A few books I have read include The Healing Code, Get Out of Your Head, and the Bible. The two additional books are faith-based and helped bring a lot to perspective when it came to taking my life and mindset back into my control. It has been over a year-long journey, and I finally feel like prioritizing a routine, sleeping, having grace with myself, consistently going to the gym, and fueling my body with the right foods doesn't seem like a chore.
  5. How does the administration at your school approach mental health? Is it a priority? Do they offer resources?
    1. If you had asked me my 1st year, I would have thought it was a joke. However, Ohio State does offer resources to mitigate mental health concerns. No one can help you if you don't communicate. You can't expect the school to have quality outreach and methods to help you if you aren't making the first step. I didn't want to take the first step for a long time, but it gave me the confidence to work with a professional therapist not affiliated with the university. If that is a financial concern, I recommend utilizing your university's resources. For me, separating the two made me feel the most comfortable.
  6. 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? *
    1. My answer fluctuates, but it comes down to yes and no. Undergrad will not fully prepare anyone for the academic rigor of veterinary school. At least, that is how it is for me. I have never been intellectually gifted, but my passion will always surpass those with talent. I spent a great deal of my undergraduate career memorizing. Rather than asking myself how these concepts would be incorporated into a real-world setting or within veterinary medicine, I initially thought learning and getting good grades was the key to success. So when I started vet school, I needed quality studying methods. I tried to memorize everything, and as you can imagine, it didn't work well. I got a D on my first anatomy exam and was crushed. I spent the next year trying to juggle a challenging personal life and my first year of vet school, thinking that I wasn't meant to become a veterinarian. It wasn't until my second year of veterinary school that I realized I needed to focus more on big-picture concepts and how it is relevant to our coursework. It makes the mountain a little more bearable but also helps assure me that some of the small details are incredibly important as a future practitioner, even if it's about the glomerular filtration rate and foot processes and podocytes.
  7. What advice do you have for someone interested in diving in deep into this industry? *
    1. Become diversified in your experience. Your future self will thank you later. I had a lot of production experience in various species when I entered vet school. I recommend establishing a functional daily routine and making it a habit so it doesn't feel overwhelming when you start in the industry. Additionally, a supportive circle is so vital to your success. The quote, "If you stay around five broke people, you'll become the sixth." is so accurate! I cannot emphasize how important it is to have a high-quality support system that cheers you every step of the way. I learned that the hard way and now understand how crucial it can be to your mental health, physical health, emotional health, and overall success.
  8. What advice do you have for someone struggling with mental health? *
    1. You're not alone. I know many people say that, but I will never forget when I first struggled during my first semester of vet school. I was in the anatomy lab, and someone in our second group commented on "going to see Annie" - one of the school's counselors. I am confident my mouth dropped, and I asked her, ".... You saw Annie?" and she said, "Oh yes, I have for a while now." everyone else at the table mentioned that they go to see her as well. I almost broke into tears simply because I realized that I was, in fact, not alone. Finding that support system makes all the difference, but I also want to emphasize that seeking professional help is the way to change the root of the problem. Also, read your Bible! The creator of the universe knows you by name and has plans to prosper you. He gave us a book that is the map to how we should live our lives, mitigate trials, and know that His love is greater than we can imagine! 
  9. 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.)*
    1. I realized how important work-life balance is for me. I run at 120 mph 24/7 and find myself getting burnt out often. While working in Alberta, Canada, this summer, I have seen firsthand how important it is to implement this into your practice. The environment is much healthier, and this career has far more longevity. The practice environment plays a critical role for me as well. The only way you can function efficiently is if you have a quality team, which begins with management.  


    May 31, 2023 — Bailey DeGroat

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