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Second Year

About this time last year, rumors began circulating that the second year of veterinary school is much better than the first year.  These rumors became a "light at the end of the tunnel" as I kept reminding myself that next year I would not have to spend my weekends covered in formaldehyde at the Anatomy Lab, and I might be able to survive on just one cup of coffee a day (my average last year was probably close to five cups).  When the class schedules were released this summer, the rumors seemed to be true- class did not start until 9 am and there were days when I would be done at noon!  Do not get me wrong, I honestly enjoyed first year, but it was hard.  I had to adjust to being in class up to eight hours a day and studying every night.  The volume of material is much more extensive than in undergrad and time management is critical.  My classmates and I worked our tails off as we slowly began to wrap our heads around what a normal animal truly is.  Normal was the theme of the year.  Normal anatomy, physiology, immunology, and histology.  After all, how can one be a vet if they cannot recognize that something isn't normal?  This image had to be planted in our heads before we could move on in our studies.

So, after a month as a second year, is it really easier?  Well, the volume of material is still enormous, and I still have to study every night to keep up.  But now I know how I learn best and am much more efficient with my time, thanks to first year.  First year was also a bonding experience that brought many of us closer together; so now I have plenty of classmates to help me along.  It is also nice to have a bit more time outside of class to study, relax, and even have a hobby that does not involve vet medicine!  This month has really shown me how much I learned last year.  I truly have grown academically and am more prepared to tackle parasitology, pharmacology, pathology, and nutrition.  I do not know if I can honestly say this year will be easier academically, but I know I am more prepared thanks to first year.

I also have a renewed enthusiasm this semester.  I spent the summer in Dr. Michael Criscitiello's Lab studying immunoglobulin isotypes produced in response to different routes of immunizations in Xenopus laevis, the South African Clawed Frog.  I started the project in May thinking I had a pretty good grasp on immunology after first year.  I was quickly humbled by the vast amount of information I had to learn just to understand my project!  That's the cool part of veterinary medicine- you will never be able to quit learning.  I realized this summer that is what drives me and keeps me interested.  Without the burden of exams and grades, I got to sit back and enjoy learning.  Even as I start to prepare for our first round of tests, it is much easier this time around after a taking a step back and realizing this is exactly where I want to be.