Tara Fellows-Barron // Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine
Tara is a current 3rd year veterinary student at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine.
I can't thank Tara enough for her time, friendship, and vulnerability to share her thoughts with TTV. Tara'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.
- Why did you initially want to be a part of veterinary medicine? *
- I initially wanted to help animals in emergency situations, such as natural disasters. As a native Floridian, I experienced a lot hurricanes growing up and that inspired me to work in emergency situations.
- What are your goals post graduation as a new graduate? (i.e. SA GP, LA GP, SA ER, Therio, etc.) *
- I would like to do Mixed animal. Small ruminants and general SA.
- Why is mental health important to you? *
- Mental is important to me because as someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, it is important to me to prioritize my mental and share with others what has worked well for me.
- What skills have you implemented into your daily routine to mitigate stress, anxiety, depression, etc.*
- There are two things I try to do daily to manage my stressors. 1) get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep a night. That may be hard as a veterinary student, I’ve come to realize my memory/recall is much better with a good night of sleep. 2) a minimum of 30 minutes a day of activity. I am naturally a high strung person, being active helps me manage anxiety and stress.
- How does the administration at your school approach mental health? Is it a priority? Do they offer resources? *
- Our school offers free counseling and a gym to help with mental health. We also have a wellness committee that offers wellness events such as yoga, a wellness wagon and events to help get our minds off of school.
- 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 felt prepared, only because I did a masters before entering in to vet school. I think if I went straight from undergrad to vet school, I would have personally struggled. The Master’s program I did gave me a taste of how to study for vet school. I took those habits I learned in my Masters and applied them to my vet school curriculum. If I could go back and change anything, I wouldn’t. I really think my Masters was a blessing in disguise.
- What advice do you have for someone interested in diving in deep into this industry? *
- I would say talk to the students, practioners and those in organized veterinary medicine. There are so many different opportunities in veterinary medicine. We are not confined to be a general practioner. We have veterinarians in the military, in industries, researchers and so much more.
- What advice do you have for someone struggling with mental health? *
- TALK TO SOMEONE. I believe we struggle in silence. We think we are alone or do not want to burden our loved ones. In reality you are not alone! We all go through struggles. I really believe that vet school is a group effort. We need each other for support!
- 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.)*
- I realized I do not want to work nights. I originally thought I would be an ER veterinarian but I really don’t want to work nights. I felt very unhealthy after working nights, veterinary school made me realize, I want to feel healthy for myself, my family and my future clients.
- Do you have any additional information that you would like to share that pertains to mental health & vet med advocation?
- I would say do not settled for anything less than the best. Whether that is a person, place, or the best in yourself; do not settle for what is less that the best.