Vet school is hard.
I’m sure you already know that, and vet school as a mother has been a process of discovering myself and the influence of communication. Learning to balance your life with school and family can be challenging and I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t sometimes put a strain on my relationship. I’d like to tell you about a few challenges that I’ve faced so far as a mother in vet school and how I’ve attempted to handle them. First, just a quick note about my family. My son’s name is Silas and he is almost 4. He looks just like me, and he is so smart, funny, and he is sensitive which one of my favorite qualities about him. He is also obsessed with dinosaurs (he renamed our cat Tyrannosaurus rex…and we have to call it by the long name). His father, Zack and I are together, but we are not married. We have been together for many years, and I love him very much! He has been a huge support system in my journey thus far.
Before having a kid, I could study whenever I wanted to. Now, when I sit down with my computer, Silas practically sits on me and takes over my computer asking me to look up pictures of Spinosaurus or Ceratosaurus, or other dinosaurs he has discovered, so I do because it’s fun and he wants to learn (my little scientist!). I have learned how to study smarter, to get the most out of the time that I do have, and sometimes I just have to wait until he goes to bed to reclaim my laptop.
Balancing family life
A concerning topic in our field has been the balance between school, work, and life and balancing time with my family has truly been a learning experience. I decided fairly early on that I would pick at least one day a week where I don’t study or even think about school and just spend quality time with my family. So far, it has been working well and I believe that it has improved our relationship. Mentally, I am always reflecting on my family, and considering what they need from me, and I always try to make time for date night!
In our first years of class, we don’t get a lot of the important hands-on clinical experience, but we have plenty of club opportunities for that! Through clubs, students are also able to learn more on topics that are not discussed in school. This is particularly important to me for topics on exotic species and wildlife. Zack works full time, and several nights a week it’s just me and Silas. I have never let having a kid hold me back from things that I want to do! So, sometimes I just take him with me. Recently we attended a dinner meeting together. I packed up some snacks, brought his headphones and he watched some Netflix while I learned about topics in wildlife dentistry!
These are just a few of the challenges that I have faced as a vet school mom, and there are plenty more that I am still discovering and working through. My success in school has been completely dependent on my amazing support system, which includes my entire family, as well as Zack’s family, and I would not be where I am without them.