Putting it all together

As my time in the classroom comes to an end, I get more and more excited. Moving to the clinical phase of veterinary school is what everyone dreams of when they begin the journey. The closer it gets, the more I am beginning to reflect on the time I had in the classroom and everything that my wonderful teachers have instilled in me.

When I began school here, I was taken aback by how much classroom time we had versus how much time we got to spend in the hospital shadowing veterinarians and improving our clinical skills as future veterinarians. It seemed like we would never get to the point that we had all longed for. Each day that I get closer to being in the clinic and learning the skills and knowledge it takes to become a veterinarian, I stop and think about how much I have learned over the past three years in the classroom.

It may not have been the most fun at times, but now I appreciate all the tedious aspects of learning that our teachers made us do. I used to think that we would never use half the stuff they taught us and that they were just doing it to put us through a grueling test schedule, so we would learn what the life of a veterinarian was like, constantly working and having to adapt to learning new things. This was not the case. I have learned so much about veterinary medicine in my short time here and am thankful for the wonderful teachers that are here at Texas A&M University to provide us with the best knowledge that the veterinary world has to offer.

Teaching Others

This semester seems like it has flown by in the blink of an eye. As I look back at what all has happened, one of the most fun things I have had the opportunity to be a part of is helping the first year veterinary students as one of their bovine husbandry supervisors.

First year students must take care of cattle, horses, or ostriches for a week as part of everyday husbandry skills, to learn more about the different species that veterinarians may encounter. My job allows me to interact with and get to know the first year students as well as teach them how to perform a physical exam and everything that is involved in feeding and caring for them over a week’s time.

I can remember thinking back to my first year and having to take care of the ostrich for a week. This was one of the most frightening things I had ever done with an animal. Some of you may be thinking that ostriches can’t be that frightening, but let me tell you that having no experience with large birds and then being inside a little pen with them to perform a physical exam really makes you think twice about being there.

It was also my first year of school when I was overwhelmed with having to learn all these new things that our teachers wanted us to learn. This is why I enjoy being one of the bovine supervisors, because it allows me to take the knowledge and skills that I have learned over the past two and a half years and use it to help the first year students further their knowledge. Not only do I get to help them with their knowledge about cattle, but it allows me to talk to them about school and let them know that I understand school can be overwhelming at times. But, I also tell them not to get discouraged because we are headed into—what I believe to be—one of the greatest professions out there.

School’s Not School Anymore

As a third year veterinary student, I’ve spent my fair share of time in the classroom, going to school day in and day out. Something about this year feels different. After 19 straight years of school, and even a few summers filled with school, it doesn’t feel like I’m just going to school anymore. I’ve never been one for long lectures or sitting down all day, which is why third year of veterinary school has changed the definition I had of school. This year we get to do so much more than just sit in the classroom, listen to lectures, and take tests. We start the hands-on aspect of our journey to becoming veterinarians. Our curriculum is set up to allow us to pick elective classes that are tailored toward what aspect of veterinarian medicine we want to practice someday. These electives take school from an average, everyday, sit-and-listen experience to an out-of-the-classroom, clinical experience. This is what most of us, as vet students, have been waiting for our whole life—a chance to put our hands on a live animal and remember the reason why we started this journey long before we ever applied to veterinary school. For example, I was recently called in at midnight to come in and watch our amazing veterinarians here at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences treat a sick animal. How many people get to say they get called in the middle of the night to save lives? I am starting to finally reap the benefits from all those hours spent in the classrooms and labs. As my journey through school gets closer and closer to the end, I’m starting to realize that school’s not school anymore. It’s my future.