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And the journey continues…

The summer has quickly and abruptly come to an end and piles of notes and heavy textbooks are once again attached to my back. However, although these first few weeks of third-year have been somewhat overwhelming and fast-paced compared to the previous two years, I know that this year will be the most rewarding and interactive year of my professional career thus far.

Beginning this semester, we start our medicine courses and even get to perform surgeries on live animals. Yes, that's right, live animals! For me, however, it is a little intimidating knowing that you are actually responsible for keeping your patient alive during surgical procedures and making sure that each procedure runs smoothly. Not only that, but we are also responsible for continual development of our technical skills including proper use of surgical instruments and suture patterns. Although intimidating, I feel excited and prepared to start live surgeries this semester. Surgery is an important and fun part of our curriculum and it will be a satisfying experience once I finally get to complete my first spay or neuter.

This is also the first semester that we begin taking elective courses of our choosing. I am looking forward to taking electives because I will be able to study in depth about specific topics that I find interesting and want to learn more about. If you like hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, and other small rodents like I do, then I recommend taking pocket pet and laboratory animal medicine. This elective focuses on the proper care, diseases, and treatment of "pocket pets" that are commonly seen in private practice and in the laboratory animal setting. Some electives even offer field trips. One such elective is primate medicine, which focuses on the behavior, colony management, and diseases of non-human primates. There are two field trips scheduled for us this semester, one to the Houston Zoo and another to MD Anderson Cancer Center. With the fourteen hours of electives required for third-year, we all have the opportunity to take courses that interest us and that we may not get to take or learn about otherwise.

As third-year begins, I look back at the previous two years and see how far I have come and how much I have already achieved. My professional career as a veterinary student is halfway over and with only two years remaining until graduation and entry in the "real-world," I know that all my dedication and hard-work will soon pay-off. Third-year will no doubt present many challenges, but I look forward to all that I will achieve this year and in the future.