One Down, Three to Go
I cannot believe that I am writing this, but I just finished my
first year of veterinary school! I have spent so much of my life
anticipating vet school that it was really weird to be done with
the first year and considered a "second-year" because I had not
spent any time thinking about how that would feel.
Caitlin (far right) and her friends celebrate the milestone of
completing their first year of veterinary school.
It was a year full of adjustment and learning a lot, but my first
year of vet school was a blast. Something that is really neat is
that A&M revamped their curriculum, so we had so many hands-on
experiences this year. My first semester, I learned how to do
physical exams on dogs, horses, and cattle, and then we got to
practice them again that semester. I liked it so much because
working with the animals kept reminding me of the reasons I wanted
to be a vet amidst all of the difficult classes.
This semester, we learned how to perform physical exams on
tortoises, rabbits, and pigeons, exams I never thought that I would
do or learn. One of the most useful skills that we learned (in my
opinion) is how to work an ultrasound machine. I have probably put
my hands on an ultrasound probe and worked with the machine at
least four times; this is a skill that I know that I will need in
practice, so it is great to start learning it now. I also have had
time to become acquainted with the orientation of the patient when
they receive an ultrasound, and the models that they let us
practice on were really helpful in being able to figure out how to
hold the probe and the types of hand motions needed to move it.
With the new curriculum, our first year in the classroom also
looked a little different. Our first semester, we took the typical
classes like anatomy and physiology and immunology, but we also had
a class called "Integrated Animal Care" in which we learned from
the A&M clinicians how best to treat a normal animal. We
learned about animal behavior, vaccine schedules, and how best to
care for neonates (a newborn animal), things that I know I will
need and use when I graduate in three years.
My favorite part about my first year of vet school has been all
of the communication practice that we have received. We have worked
with actors who simulate a veterinarian-patient interaction, and it
has been so helpful to start these encounters early. We learn from
professors who know a lot about communicating well, and it is cool
to see how it can even affect my day to day life as I listen and
try to communicate well with people.
My first year was one of growth and adjustment, but it makes me
all the more excited to continue with the program and learn how to
be the best vet that I can be. I truly believe that I will learn
about being a great vet who practices good medicine, and I cannot
wait to continue with that as a second year in the fall.