Meghan Lawlor // Univeristy of Missouri - Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine
Meghan is a current 3rd year veterinary student at University of Missouri - Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine.
I can't thank Meghan enough for her time, friendship, and vulnerability to share her thoughts with TTV. Meghan's 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.
- Vet school that you attend
- University of Missouri-Columbia
- Why did you initially want to be a part of veterinary medicine?
- After watching the extensive care provided for my geriatric childhood dog from our local and hospice veterinarians, I discovered the incredible role veterinarians play in ensuring utmost support for both clients and their pets alike.
- What are your goals post graduation as a new graduate? (i.e. SA GP, LA GP, SA ER, Therio, etc.) *
- I hope to pursue a career in biomedical research and work with physician scientists to produce novel therapeutics/diagnostics for human & animal non-communicable diseases including cancer.
- Why is mental health important to you? *
- My lifelong struggle with anxiety came to dramatically impact my daily life as I underwent application to veterinary school, graduated college, and began my veterinary curriculum. On top of eventually managing the rigors of veterinary school curriculum, I struggled immensely with impostor's syndrome through a period of academic probation spring of my first year. If it weren't for the help provided from counselors, my primary care physician, and my friends/family, I would not be where I am today.
- What skills have you implemented into your daily routine to mitigate stress, anxiety, depression, etc.*
- Throughout the first year of veterinary curriculum, I found myself struggling to do the bare necessities to take care of myself, including simple things like getting a good night's sleep, taking showers, doing laundry, buying groceries, etc. This year, I was inspired by my younger sister to dedicate at least one night a week just to ensure I am taking proper care of myself - whether it be a nice hot shower, bath, laundry, take a long walk, read, and things of the like. Although I only began this habit about 6 weeks ago, it has already made worlds of a difference in my mood and confidence day-to-day.
- How does the administration at your school approach mental health? Is it a priority? Do they offer resources? *
- The administration of University of Missouri-Columbia has taken incredible steps to prioritize mental health for its students AND faculty, and I am so thankful. Not only do we have one, but two full-time counselors specific to our CVM who specialize in providing support for veterinary students/professionals specifically. Their experience and understanding of the rigors of the veterinary curriculum and profession regarding topics such as burnout, test anxiety, impostor syndrome, and compassion fatigue has made worlds of a difference in our veterinary community.
- 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? *
- I don't think there's anything one can do to feel fully prepared for the incredible rigors of veterinary school, and I don't have any serious regrets as a pre-veterinary student, aside from a couple. If I could go back, I wish I had spent more time on my hobbies, building friendships, and spending time with family and lived a fuller life outside of doing things that built my application for veterinary school. I also wish I made more of an effort to get to know my professors on a more personal level, aside from being a name on a sheet of paper - building relationships with instructors has been one of my favorite parts of veterinary school and I used to often forget that they are humans with lives outside of school too!
- What advice do you have for someone interested in diving in deep into this industry? *
- My advice for someone interested in diving deep into this industry is three-fold: 1) hold tight to your hobbies and favorite things to do outside of veterinary medicine, they will serve you well as a reminder that you are a human outside of veterinary school / work! 2) lean on your support system! They will serve as your backbone when the going gets rough and help to provide an objective third-party perspective. 3) In my opinion THE most important - do NOT be afraid to reach out and seek help - academically OR emotionally. The INSTANT you find yourself struggling, reach out to a counselor, your support system, or faculty members for help. The best thing you can remind yourself is that you are NOT ALONE in the struggles of this profession and there are so many people willing to help!
- What advice do you have for someone struggling with mental health? *
- ^^ the 3 things given above also apply well here :)
- 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.)*
- My veterinary school experience has helped me recognize how much a positive learning and working environment impacts your state of mind on a day-to-day basis. Surrounding yourself with supportive, encouraging, patient classmates/coworkers makes a WORLD of a difference, and practice culture has therefore become a top priority for me as a future veterinarian.
- University of Missouri - Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine: https://cvm.missouri.edu/prospective-students/