My path to veterinary school has been a little bit non-traditional. During undergrad, when many of my classmates were trying out dating apps for the first time, I was planning my wedding! My husband and I have been together for about 6 years total now, and I thought I would offer some perspective and advice for any future veterinary students that are planning to get married before or during vet school or are even just wondering about maintaining relationships during professional school! You CAN do it!
Communication is key. If you can’t communicate effectively, your relationships and your career will suffer. So, work on developing good communication skills now! One thing I’ve found is that my husband is more than willing to help me in any way he can, but he has to know there is a problem. If I internalize all my thoughts and frustrations, nothing changes, and I just get more upset. When you are able to express your feelings in a constructive manner, things start to get better. Use these communication skills to find compromises. For example, I absolutely can’t have any noise in the house when I’m trying to study, but my husband loves to watch TV. It was getting to a point where I was really not able to study, and when I let him know he immediately came up with the solution to get wireless headphones. This solved all my problems, and he still gets to watch TV!
Time management is your friend. Life is busy, but even more so when you are juggling full-time college classes and multiple jobs. I’ve gotten much better at this since vet school started, but even in undergrad, managing your time wisely will pay off in school and your relationships. Try to pick one night a week to sit down and have dinner or go do something with your partner. It doesn’t have to be anything special. Maybe you have pizza and watch a movie, or maybe you go exercise at the gym or local park. Spending time together will help you maintain your relationship.
Put your phone down. I know. We are so driven by our phones, social media, and everything going on in the world. And, to an extent, being ‘connected’ is not a bad thing. But, it is when it starts to impact your time with family. When you get to spend time with your partner, be present. Talk to one another. Don’t spend the whole time scrolling through your Facebook feeds separately.
These are some of the most important skills I know for maintaining relationships in vet school and college in general, and they can be applied to anyone, from your friends, to your family, or your spouse!