Friendships are Everything

As I approach my fourth semester of veterinary school, I have thought a lot about what has helped me come this far.

Veterinary school is definitely a huge change from my days as an undergraduate, not only in schedule but also workload; initially, it was kind of a culture shock.

Although, I worked hard to make the transition as seamless as possible, I realize what has really made the biggest difference is the friendships I have made in my class.

Coming into veterinary school, I knew a few people from undergrad who would be in my class.

But as the first semester progressed, I started to become close to many more people.

It is pretty inevitable, considering we spend almost 40 hours a week together in class, but it almost felt like being back in high school, when you had the same classes all day, everyday with your friends.

But what really helped me form the closest friendships was the countless hours we would spend studying together. Not only does it help to share knowledge and study guides and quiz each other, but it also makes the whole process less painful.

Now, it is tradition for my groups of friends to study together the night before every test.

After fall finals, my friends and I decided to reward ourselves by taking a trip to Colorado.

We went skiing and snowboarding, rode snowmobiles, tubed, and generally spent a week just hanging out with each other.

This trip made me realize that I don’t think I have ever gotten so close to a group of people so fast. Not only do they help pass the time in class or make studying more bearable, but they are also an important support system, because we are all going through the exact same thing together.

I’m not sure I would have made it this far if it weren’t for the friends I have made here.

International Veterinary Experience

This summer I had the opportunity to go on a World Vets trip to the Dominican Republic.

World Vets is an international veterinary aid organization that brings veterinary services to underserved areas while providing educational opportunities for veterinary and technician students.

During our weeklong trip, our team of six veterinarians, four students, four technicians, and two assistants worked to spay and neuter dogs and cats in and around the cities of Cabarete and Sosua.

Though I have worked in clinics and seen many of these procedures before, this was unlike anything I had ever done. We worked in a “field clinic” in the back of an abandoned building; there was little power and only the medical supplies we brought.

Additionally, all of the animals we spayed and neutered were street dogs and cats with no access to medical care. Most were malnourished, covered in parasites, and anemic from tick-borne diseases.

Many had other health concerns that we addressed, and some even had conditions we don’t see in the U.S., like screwworm and transmissible venereal tumors.

Despite all of that, we were able to treat and sterilize more than 300 dogs and cats in three days.

My role as a student was to work rotations in induction, anesthesia, and surgery. Not only was I placing catheters, intubating, and administering drugs, I also had the opportunity to perform spays and neuters with the supervision of the veterinarians.

All in all, it was amazing to see how veterinary medicine can be adapted to any situation.

Though the trip provided invaluable experience for me, I like to think it had an even greater impact on the communities of Cabarete and Sosua.

In the Home Stretch

Anna J.I am finally in the home stretch of my first year of veterinary school, with only three weeks to go, and I can’t believe it! I will soon be one-fourth of a veterinarian. This year has gone by much faster than I ever thought it would, and I’ve learned a lot along the way.

I thought my first year would only be about anatomy and physiology and more broad concepts, but I’ve gained so much clinical knowledge, as well.

Because of the new curriculum that began last year, first years get to practice exams and animal handling. We are even learning how to do ultrasounds.

I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned and use it in a clinical setting this summer!

I have also learned the importance of taking breaks. It can be easy to get caught up in studying, especially when you have two tests a week.

However, sometimes taking time out of your day to hang out with friends or go out to eat or even take a walk can be much more beneficial for your brain than just staring at a book.

Finally, I learned that your classmates are your greatest allies. There is no competition in veterinary school; everyone is working toward the common goal of getting that DVM degree.

If it wasn’t for them, I’m not sure how I would have made it through the year.

Though I’m excited for break, I can’t wait to come back and continue by journey toward being a vet.

My Strongest Supporter

When I was an undergraduate, I adopted a high-energy shepherd mix named Addie from a local shelter, and she quickly became my partner in crime and strongest supporter.

I had plenty of time to expend her endless energy, even between work and school commitments. But I knew going into veterinary school that I was going to assume a lot more responsibility and have much less time to spend with her; I was worried that it would add extra stress to my life and not be fair to her.

Soon after beginning veterinary school, however, I realized that having a dog while in vet school was the best choice for me.

Even after a long day, she constantly manages to make me smile when I get home. She’s the best kind of study buddy because she’s always supportive and doesn’t judge if I get it wrong. She has also helped me build relationships with other students with dogs.

And, most importantly, she reminds me to make time for brain breaks, whether that be taking her for a run or just throwing a ball in the backyard.

She’s even helped me with my classes; I’ve been able to practice physical exams on her and, a couple of weeks ago, I even used her for a palpation exam in anatomy!

Though I still have to make a conscious effort everyday to ensure she gets the attention she needs, I wouldn’t change it for all the positivity she brings.