The Jigsaw Puzzle
Nine years ago, I informed my boss that I was leaving the
company where I had been working for 12 years to pursue a career in
veterinary medicine. The only thing I had at that point was a
serious commitment to start this journey.
But now my long journey to become a veterinarian has come to the
last 15 months of veterinary school. In three months, I will start
my clinical rotations, during which fourth-year veterinary students
spend a whole year working in the Veterinary Medical Teaching
Hospital as a real “baby" doctor.
I feel both panicked and
excited to realize that my dream of becoming a veterinarian is
about to come true.
I still remember the end of my first day as a veterinary
student. I went home and cried. Why? I thought "Physiology" and
"Anatomy" were so hard. I had thousands of pieces of jigsaw puzzles
in my head. I asked myself, “How am I going to pass these
Now, I am a third-year veterinary student. And I have the answer
for that question.
For the first two years, I learned the different aspects of
veterinary medicine: physiology, anatomy, immunology, histology,
neuroanatomy, infectious diseases, parasitology, microbiology,
pathology, surgery, anesthesia, public health, pharmacology,
toxicology, radiology, and many more. Each class is the part of the
jigsaw board and has its own space to fill up.
The curriculum is designed to lay the foundation of medical
knowledge, and by my third year, all of those jigsaw pieces start
coming together and I could see the picture clearer.
I love small animal medicine, through which I can apply the
foundational knowledge by analyzing, diagnosing, planning for
testing, and offering treatments. Even though I choose to focus on
companion animals, I also have learned about large animal
Additionally, I have selected electives to study particular
topics of interest to me in small animals, equine, food animal,
swine, avian, and exotics medicine. Some of my highlights were
"Oncology," "Cardiology," "Clinical Pathology," "Emergency
Medicine," and "Dermatology."
Before the end of my third year, I will also have "Avian
Medicine," "Dentistry," "Feline Medicine" and "Gastroenterology"
classes. These are all bits of knowledge I will retain for my
It has been a long wait, but the fourth year is just around the
corner. My last section of the jigsaw puzzle is about to be
This beautiful picture from my White Coat Ceremony (held at the
end of your second year) keeps me encouraged until I walk across
the stage to become “Dr. Du, DVM.”