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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.

40725849174_5391b3025d_zI 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 classes?”

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 medicine.

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 career.

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 complete.

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.”