McKenna is a current 4th year veterinary student at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. 

I can't thank McKenna enough for her time, friendship, and vulnerability to share her thoughts with TTV. McKenna'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 

  1. Why did you initially want to be a part of veterinary medicine?
    1. I grew up on a farrow to finish swine operation and exhibited swine and cattle on the local, state and national level through organizations like 4H, FFA, and NJSA. I fell in love not only with livestock, but the people in the animal agriculture industry. I decided then that I wanted to be a food animal veterinarian that helps producers feed the world through preventing disease and effectively practicing herd health medicine.
  2. What are your goals post graduation as a new graduate? (i.e. SA GP, LA GP, SA ER, Therio, etc.) *
    1. As a new graduate, my goal is to be a rural Iowa food animal veterinarian and to be an active member of the community I am a part of.
  3. Why is mental health important to you? *
    1. Being a veterinarian is not always rainbows and sunshine 24-7. Understanding how to find work-life balance and to put yourself first sometimes is a vital part of thriving in this profession; which is why mental health is important to me.
  4. What skills have you implemented into your daily routine to mitigate stress, anxiety, depression, etc.*
    1. Having hobbies and making time for them is SO important. For me, that includes gardening, hanging out with friends/family and attending livestock shows. Additionally, after a long day, finding time to get a workout in always makes me feel better afterwards. These passions keep me grounded and happy. Additionally, having a group of friends in vet school is vital. You cannot always be 100% and having a group you trust and can lead on is so important. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF!
  5. How does the administration at your school approach mental health? Is it a priority? Do they offer resources? *
    1. Mental health is a priority at our school and the administration is always trying to support and be there in every way they can. The school offers therapists, recreation events to get away from schoolwork, etc.
  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. There is no way to prepare for the amount of time that goes into being in vet school. If I could go back, of course I would love to tell myself to learn how to be a more progressive studier vs. cramming as an undergraduate. Additionally, I would love to teach myself how to say "no" and that I don't have to say yes to everything asked of me. However, even if I did, I still don't think I would be prepared 100% for vet school.
  7. What advice do you have for someone interested in diving in deep into this industry? *
    1. Always remind yourself of your WHY. Why do you want to be a veterinarian? Having your why is a vital part in staying passionate and keeping your light on.
  8. What advice do you have for someone struggling with mental health? *
    1. Don't be afraid to talk to someone. There might be someone struggling with the same thing and it always helps to get your thoughts out in the open. Talking to someone does not make you weak, it means you are putting yourself first. Additionally, take a break and do something for you.
  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 know that my "WHY" is working with producers and helping them with their livestock, so I want to make sure that is what I have the opportunity to do as a veterinarian. Additionally mentorship and work-life balance is so important to me. I want to make sure that I join a clinic that prioritizes this and that I feel at home with.
  10. Do you have any additional information that you would like to share that pertains to mental health & vet med advocation?
    1. Don't forget your "why"; it helps you maintain your grit and handle things thrown your way head-on with confidence. Build your network to help you along the way and make sure that you leave some time for you.


  • Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine: 
May 07, 2023 — Bailey DeGroat

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