Having fun in vet school


Having fun is an important part of student lives even when working hard in school. Vet school should be fun. Learning should be fun. Studying together should be fun. Incorporating fun into lives leads to greater success and happiness.

    Vet school unleashed: what I would have done differently

Choose to have fun!


Find ways to make having fun part of your life in and out of vet school with classmates, friends, and family. Plan outings or activities just for your enjoyment or combine studying with other things you enjoy.


  • Check out the CVM TC activities page.
  • Study with friends and take breaks to talk and laugh.
  • Go to an arcade, mini golf course or zoo.
  • Plan a day that includes both study time and fun time (going to the beach, out to dinner, etc.) with your anatomy group, GOALe group or study mates.
  • See a movie or rent one that you will enjoy.
  • Play sports.
  • Go on a date.
  • Go to a show in St. Paul.
  • Study at different locations e.g. Como Zoo, Starbucks, any lake.
  • Study while doing activities that don’t require constant attention e.g. read while fishing, watching a baseball game, or in between making moves in a game of checkers or chess.
  • Plan periodic “fun days” for the entire class.
  • Create fun rewards for yourself after studying hard. e.g. “We’ll study from 10am to 3pm then go to Famous Daves!”
  • Travel and Leisure Magazine – stuff to do in St Paul/Mpls and Minneapolis
  • Top reasons other people come to Minneapolis, Minn/St PTwin cities  (just google things to do in…)
  • Free things to do in Minneapolis

Signs That I Need More Fun in My Life

  • “I haven’t laughed or smiled for a few days”.
  • “I’m only thinking of studying”.
  • “I haven’t spent time or relaxed with those I’m closest to”.
  • “I feel burned-out”.

People to Talk to:

Final thoughts

Give yourself permission to have fun in and out of school and consider it a necessary part of well-being. Use common sense and time management considerations to decide when to maximize fun.


It’s very important to not focus solely on school, which is easier said than done especially during crunch weeks. I always say that a little bit of fun is better than no fun at all, so instead of blocking out hours to do XYZ in your social life, if you cannot, then have “mini” bits of fun when you can—and then longer bits when you can. For example: if you are pressed for time and cannot meet someone for coffee, go through the Starbucks drive through line and get a coffee and enjoy it that way. If you don’t have an hour to do yoga, do 15 minutes — and then do the hour when your schedule allows. Take short walks outside instead of long. Meditate for 10 minutes instead of a half hour, etc. The point is to remove yourself from school stress in whatever way you can, for as long as you can, and then revisiting it another time. “

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2020

“Plan one fun thing a week with friends so you always have something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant, but it should leave you feeling rejuvenated “

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2020

Having fun should be as mandatory as studying is. Getting through school is much easier if you take time to have fun in school, but also OUTSIDE of school. Don’t feel guilty for going out with friends, having dinner with family, enjoying a hobby, or taking time for yourself. It will actually make you a much better student.”

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2020

“Give yourself permission to take nights off, relax, and just be a kid in your 20’s. Looking back I wish I did more of this. You won’t get this time back.”

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2019

Vet school is hard. There’s no way around that. But so is “real life” (life after graduation). We have the perfect opportunity right here and right now to figure out how we are going to balance our work/life responsibilities before we get into an industry that is going to ask for as much time as we are willing to give. Who cares right now if you get an A vs a B, or a B vs a C? No one. Take a few minutes between classes to toss a football or Frisbee around with a classmate. Or go explore clinics. Or run up to the gym and swim over lunch. Or take one night a week to spend time with your friends (forget studying, you need to give your brain a break so it can actually retain all the information you are giving it anyway). Or take one night a week to go to bed super early (I’m talking 6 or 7 o-clock, let your brain take a vacation, and 5 bucks you will feel like a million bucks after that). Or maybe you are a workaholic like me, find yourself a job that you love (or at least coworkers you love) and pick up an extra shift or two. The big thing is figuring out what you like to do and giving yourself permission to do it. Because if we are honest with ourselves, letting ourselves have a little fun once in awhile makes us way more productive when studying than trying to study 24/7 anyway. This is your life, spend it the way you want to. “

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2019

“In order to be the best student, you have to be your best self. This means that you need to make sure you are making your physical, mental and emotional health at an equal priority with veterinary school. This means that sometimes you have to actively make the choice to do something fun with classmates, whether its a trip to the dog park or going out for dinner. These things are what allow you to recharge and refill yourself – otherwise you will get drained, and quickly.”

UMN CVM Student, Class of 2020

“Having fun in [med] School is a must. I think that it is important to focus on studying and doing well in school, but it is equally as important to maintain focus on family and friends who help maintain balance. They are often the ones who make you laugh and smile especially after a long day. “

JABSOM Student, Class 2004

“There were so many fun moments in med school. You are with a truly great group of people. Take advantage of them . . . study groups, movies, barbecues . . .”

JABSOM Student, Class of 2004

“Putting a ‘Joke of the Day’ on my learning issues helped my classmates, tutors and I to have a good laugh and to remember that medicine is as fun as it is challenging.”

JABSOM Student, Class of 2006


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Well-being Handbook Copyright © 2019 by Erin Malone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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