Learning in Second Year

Beginning the second year of veterinary school is something every first year looks forward to. You’re no longer the bottom of the barrel socially or academically. You still feel like you don’t know nearly enough, a feeling that will probably never go away entirely, but sometimes when a professor asks a question in class you might even know the answer without looking it up—not to mention the better schedule.

I am much more aware of the weather patterns so far this year, especially with the nice big windows in the new school, and even get to see the sun on a regular basis. The work is still hard, but the classes are very rewarding and have been leaving me feeling much more fulfilled than the core classes I took my first year. We now know enough to apply our knowledge to case study examples and the thrill of solving a medical puzzle is something that will never get old.

While learning the science behind veterinary medicine is critical, as our classes in parasitology, pathology, pharmacology, and nutrition show us every day, there are other skills that are just as important, or even more so. Our clinical correlates class attempts to expose us to these skills, and so far this semester we have already learned some invaluable lessons.

The first part of the class was devoted to learning medical Spanish. I found this experience invaluable, as it took the skills we had already learned about communication with clients in our first year and made it even more challenging and pertinent to becoming a veterinary practitioner in Texas. Language barriers can be a real problem, as our patients can’t usually tell us what is wrong and we rely on their human other halves to communicate on their behalf. Our Spanish class broke us up according to our skill level and helped everyone to learn something about how to handle a non-English speaking client. Even the fluent Spanish speakers in our class benefited immensely by getting to run through case studies in Spanish and learning medical terminology they otherwise would be unfamiliar with. For intermediates, such as myself, we focused more on basic vocabulary and communication, as well as resources for making sure you can adequately meet the needs of your client even with a language barrier.

I’m looking forward to the rest of my clinical correlates class, as this week I have the opportunity to practice ultrasounding techniques and in coming weeks will be able to rotate through clinical rotations on the handling and care of different species of animals. Even though the classes this year are exciting due to their pertinence to what I will be doing in clinics for the rest of my career, it is still easy to become stressed and lose your perspective on that light at the end of the tunnel. Correlates is a class that really helps ground me and reminds me of why I want to practice veterinary medicine, guaranteeing I don’t lose the drive I need to push through my more challenging work.