This spring semester has certainly flown by; we are already over halfway through with it. It has been a very busy first half for most of the mixed and large animal students. Besides our regular classes, as third years, we get to take electives, which are specialty classes we get to choose to take based on what interests us. Being mixed or large animal, we get to “celebrate learning” a few more times throughout the semester (by taking tests) than our small animal counterparts. Some might complain about more tests, but I find it rewarding to be able to learn more about the profession I will be entering in just 14 short months. One of the large animals electives I found to be excellent this semester is the bovine reproduction laboratory class. I was able to palpate four cows twice a week to determine their pregnancy status. I now feel confident that when I graduate I will be able to do this on my own.
With all the craziness that came with the past nine weeks, such as with tests, homework assignments, and projects for classes and electives, I am so ready for spring break. I am excited for my plans, which have been a year in the making. On Sunday morning, I am flying to the Cayman Islands to spend my week on the beach. I will also get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to feed large stingrays. I will get to go snorkeling and possibly even go fishing for rare fish that we do not get down on the gulf coast. One of the main things I am excited for next week is just being able to relax and read a book for fun. I will be staying down in the sun for six days, getting there Sunday morning and not leaving until Friday afternoon. I just hope I do not get sunburned too badly when I go!
This break is especially important to take for third years, like myself, because this is the last real break we have in our education. We will start fourth year just three days after our finals week this spring. I am anxious to start fourth year, but I am going to enjoy my week in paradise first before thinking about preparing to be a fourth-year student.
The spring semester has just started for veterinary students like myself, whereas the undergrad students have one more week of freedom. I am excited to start this new semester, because this is the last set of classes I will ever have to take. Also, these are mostly classes I have chosen to sign up for, things that sparked my interest at the end of last year.
Even though I am taking a lot of electives, which makes for a very busy semester, I am ready to see what each and every one of them holds in store. Most of the electives are large animal oriented, which is one of the directions I plan to pursue after vet school. The first electives include swine health, bovine reproductive lab, advanced ruminant, and advanced equine classes. The swine class is only eight classes long, and each time we look at different diseases that affect every body system and the herd as a hole. In the bovine reproductive lab, I will palpate a Holstein cow by rectal palpation twice a week for a total of eight weeks to better develop my palpation skills and follow how a reproductive track changes during pregnancy. Advanced ruminant and advanced equine will both expand on what we learned in large animal medicine, going more in depth, instead of just skimming the surface of the different diseases that affect the systems of the body.
Besides my elective classes, we take core classes, which we do not get to choose. These include the remainder of small animal medicine and radiology, as well as new classes such as a practice management class. We will be learning how to run a practice from the administrative and financial end of things. There is also a correlates class we take and throughout the semester we are given cases to “soap.” We get the case at the beginning of the week and we look for the top reasons the animal is sick and turn it in later that week. This semester we have twelves cases.
Later this semester I am taking electives such as camelids, feline medicine, equine lameness, and diagnostic cytology. I have heard great things about all of these classes and I can’t wait to see what is in store. All these classes are preparing me for next year, which will start the weekend after third year ends. I am excited to see what challenges, joys, lessons, and new skills this semester has for me.