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Looking Forward To The Symposium

In veterinary school, there are many opportunities to participate in skills labs, attend conferences and lectures, and get involved in the field prior to graduating. Rather than have the mindset that all of my time should be spent studying, I believe I can supplement my classroom education with out-of-school events and should take advantage of opportunities available. I recently registered for the Student American Veterinary Medical Association Symposium that will be held at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  I have never attended a veterinary conference before, and after looking at the schedule I couldn't be more excited.  The lectures are scheduled from 8 AM until 5 PM each day, with a break at noon for participants to eat lunch and meet with exhibitors.  Lectures are presented over a variety of topics including large and small animal medicine, exotics, surgery, neurology, business management, professional development, and more.  A couple of the lecture titles that caught my attention were "Integrating Foundations of Medicine to Multiple Species," "Animal Hoarding," and "Things That Go Bump in the Night: Pathology of Lumps and Bumps."  Given the location, it is only appropriate that there is a lecture on the diseases of crocodiles.  While I do not anticipate having a crocodile as a patient in practice, I doubt I will be able to pass this up.  After spending a day in lectures, there will be a crawfish boil with a live band, a great opportunity for students to mingle and spend time with veterinarians from around the country.

Not only are the days filled with lectures by distinguished veterinarians and experts in the field, but also there are skills labs and trips planned for the days and evenings.  Participants can tour the enclosure of Mike the tiger, the LSU mascot, and attend a lecture on tiger husbandry, learn how to trim cattle hooves, and participate in a hands-on lab where students will learn about disease testing in whitetailed deer.  These are only a few of the numerous skills labs available.  The day trips include a Louisiana swamp tour, a visit to the Audubon Zoo and Aquarium, a plantation tour, and a daytrip to New Orleans, which I will be participating in. Having lived in New Orleans for 9 years, I am delighted to return and spend time in the historic downtown area, eating delicious food, listening to street musicians, and taking in the sights and sounds.  Café du Monde is certainly on my list of things to do, as well as a stop in Jackson Square and a walk along the Mississippi River. I think it is wonderful that they are providing students with the opportunity to explore Louisiana and make the most of the trip and the symposium.

While I am excited about the lectures and the trip to New Orleans, I am very much looking forward to meeting veterinary students from around the country and learning about their experiences, their schools, and the paths they hope to take in the future. I am continually amazed at the many career options within the field of veterinary medicine, and I enjoy speaking with other students about their goals.  From the variety of species available to work with to the jobs in industry, academia, governmental agencies, and so many others, the opportunities are truly endless. I believe this symposium will be a fantastic experience, and I look forward to the knowledge I'll gain, the friends I will meet, and the memories I will make.