Sometimes, I feel like my life can be broken down into the years B.D. and A.D.–before doctorate and after doctorate. As a second-year veterinary student, all that’s standing between me and my DVM is one more test, and then another, and another…you get the idea. When you’ve wanted to be a veterinarian since kindergarten, it’s hard not to see veterinary school as that last final hurdle before you can finally get out in the “real world” and start putting all this knowledge to good use. But after anticipating that goal for so many years, I’ve realized that now is the time to slow down and enjoy everything that makes veterinary school uniquely wonderful. After all, I’ll have decades to work and experience the ups and downs of a career in veterinary medicine. But, I only have four years to enjoy the experience of veterinary school, and it’s already flying by.
Although veterinary school involves a lot of work, it also constantly reminds me of why I love this profession, especially through participation in wetlabs almost every other weekend. In the past year, I’ve ultrasounded sheep in West Texas, drawn blood from rabbits, de-antlered a white-tailed deer, and much more. These wetlabs are a great way to learn practical skills in a low-pressure, interactive, and downright fun setting.
Over the course of the year, veterinary conferences and events are held throughout the country, giving students the opportunity to travel, interact, and experience unique fields of veterinary medicine. Texas A&M is hosting the national Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) Symposium in March 2017, so I’ll be one of the lucky students who gets to participate in all of the events!
During summer breaks, students have the opportunity to expand their horizons in so many different ways. Some students travel abroad, conduct research projects, work at veterinary clinics, or take some time to relax. This past summer, I worked alongside veterinarians in several hospitals, but also found the time for a road trip to the Grand Canyon and other national parks. When else in life will you have three months free to pursue your passions?
Of course, possibly the most important aspect of veterinary school is the friendships you’ll make. Maybe it’s a result of being in a classroom for eight hours a day together, but you’ll meet some of your closest friends in veterinary school. These are the people who help keep you sane during busy weeks, and who are always ready for an adventure over the weekend. Odds are, when we graduate in a couple years, we’ll be scattered across Texas, the U.S., and maybe even the world. For better or for worse, life will change a lot after we walk the stage in May 2019.
So, in two and a half years I will graduate with a doctorate that says I’m qualified for my dream job. That’s two and a half years full of tests and exams, but also everything that makes this veterinary school experience so amazing. Being a veterinarian will no doubt be another adventure, and while I’m looking forward to the future, I’m no longer in a hurry to get there. I’ve got two and a half more years of memories to look forward to, so graduation can wait.