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Right around the Corner

With this semester well underway and more than half over, I find myself excited yet slightly nervous and uncertain about the future. So far, third-year has been quite demanding. In retrospect, first-year pales in comparison in regards to the amount of stress, studying, and time constraints that seems to be a cornerstone of third-year. Don't get me wrong, though. First-year was tough. Studying bones, muscles, physiological processes, and hundreds of microorganisms kept me quite busy.However, for me, the most difficult part of first-year was adjusting to the heavy course load and copious amounts of information and ultimately being able to develop effective study habits and a workable schedule. In contrast, third-year is much more involved. If I'm not in class from eight to five or studying for weekly exams, I'm either performing a four to five hour surgery, working on different projects for my elective courses, collaborating on clinical case write-ups with my classmates, or attending an organizational meeting. It may be hard to believe, but although my stress level is often high and my work load heavy, I am enjoying third-year.

Because of the lack of sleep and just being physically and mentally tired a lot of the time, I am very much looking forward to winter break and spending time with my family and friends, my dog, and just having some time for myself. However, I am just as excited about what is right around the corner…FOURTH-YEAR. In just about six months, my fellow classmates and I will begin our clinical year in veterinary school. Soon, we will declare whether we want to track small or large animal, mixed, or alternative. I will be tracking small animal and am looking forward to finally getting to focus my time and attention on companion animals. As fourth-yearstudents, we will spend two weeks on each clinical rotation. For those tracking small animal, some of these rotations will include cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, general surgery, anesthesiology, neurology, feline and canine internal medicine, oncology, and radiology. I am excited that I will soon get to work with real patients and clients and use the knowledge and skills that I have gained during these three years to make a difference in the lives of both patient and client.

As part of our fourth-year curriculum, we are required to participate in two externships that are both two weeks long. Fortunately, it is our decision where we would like to do our externship. We can decide whether to do one externship for all four weeks or choose two externships and stay two weeks at each location. I haven't decided where I would like to do my externships as of yet, but I have found a few opportunities that have sparked my interest. One of these opportunities is at a small animal clinic in Houston. It is a full-service, two doctor practice, both of whom are graduates of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine. The other is an emergency hospital in Fort Worth. This is also a full-service, two doctor, small animal practice but converts to an emergency hospital after normal business hours. Regardless of where I decide to do my externships, I know that I will enjoy the time that I will get to spend in that community and the experiences that I will have during those four weeks.

As fourth-year rapidly approaches, there is much to prepare for but much to look forward to as well. As I continue to make preparations for fourth-year, it makes me realize just how close I am to completing my professional education and finally fulfilling a life-long dream. Therefore, when I find myself struggling to grasp a difficult concept or studying for an exam until the early morning hours, all I need to do is stay focused and persevere and imagine walking across the stage at graduation and hearing my name announced. After all, it too is right around the corner.