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.