The Dreaded Third-Year Cases

As third-year veterinary students, we get to enjoy doing cases each week. This is an interesting opportunity for us. It’s bittersweet because these cases are HARD! We get cases where the animals have multiple things wrong with them. Then we create differentials for what diseases could be causing each symptom. We then create a diagnostic plan on what we want to test for first and possibly start treatment. This process is how we should be thinking as doctors when we have live patients in front of us. Right now it’s good practice, but so hard because we don’t know everything and we have to research each and every case. I spend an average of 10 hours a week on a case, in addition to my classes and studying for tests.

Now this definitely sounds bitter so far, but let me explain why it’s sweet. I learn so much from each hour I spend researching diseases. Even if I rule out a certain disease for my patient, I learned so much about the disease for later in life. It is stressful. It is time consuming. But it is also totally worth it. I want to be the best vet I can be and I know that my teachers will try their hardest to teach me all they know, but I can’t learn it all in a classroom. This design teaches me how to learn outside a classroom; therefore even after I finish my four years here at Texas A&M, I can keep learning and educating myself without their help. I am thankful for the class though it has cost me many hours of sleep, time, and excess stress. But I feel more prepared for being out on my own. I won’t always know the answer, but I now have learned how to figure it out. Only one year left! My clinical year starts in only one month, I am so excited to become a fourth year and use all I have learned in the past three years with real patients.