Spring break this year was anything but normal in all aspects but one, my annual Texas State Park parade.

Every year, I venture off with my dogs, Luca, Svarta, and Zoey, to three Texas State Parks for a week filled with hiking, exploring, and copious amount of fresh air. In the past, we’ve gone to Lost Maples State Park, Garner State Park, Dinosaur Valley State Park, and a few others. But, by far, our favorites to go to are Enchanted Rock State Park, Pedernales Falls State Park, and McKinney Falls State Park, which is exactly where we headed to this last spring break.

The first park we went to was Enchanted Rock. The park is located right outside of Fredericksburg in the beautiful hill country of Texas and the pink granite and white quartz of the area make hiking around the area breathtaking!

After a long and fun-filled day at Enchanted Rock, we made our way back home and recouped for day hikes at Pedernales Falls and McKinney Falls. Toward the end of the week, and after getting our fill of sun and nature, we packed up our things and headed back to College Station to prepare for the unknown in the remaining weeks in the semester.

These past few weeks have been very dynamic, but one thing that is unchanging is the dedication of our professors here at vet school.

Every day, they send out email updates and meet us via video chat for our lectures. Classes that would have otherwise been impossible to incorporate via an online platform have been rearranged to accommodate us in this trying time.

Our surgery class is now distance learning from home as we video chat with our professors while performing procedures on the synthetic organs distributed to us. Our anesthesia class is now fully virtual with helpful question and answer sessions to reinforce the subject matter, and our clinical skills course still pushes on with at-home tutorials of how to perform necessary skills like equine dentistry, hoof care, and much more.

The curriculum was, to say the least, difficult, if not impossible, to adapt to an online format, but the staff and faculty which support our education have done it. One of our professors, while recording a lecture for us, was having mic issues and so aptly said, “we must adapt and overcome”, and that is exactly what we are all doing.


Leading the Way as Veterinary School Gets Back in Full Swing

Veterinary students returned to our classes last Monday, Aug. 19, and with the new school brings excitement, challenges, and returning friends and classmates. This school year is my second in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program, and it has brought and will continue to bring new opportunities for myself and others to learn and grow in our future profession.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to explore new and exciting facets of the veterinary profession by attending the Society for Theriogenology conference in Savannah, Georgia, and presenting a student case study about stallion subfertility (whether the stallion is fertile).

Additionally, I was able to complete three externships—one at an emergency equine facility in Central Texas, one at a local mixed animal practice, and the last in the clinical pathology department here at Texas A&M University.

In my time between externships, I enjoyed working back home at Top Flight Farms, a breeder of champion Dutch Warmblood sport horses, where I was there to welcome the newest member to the farm, “Ode to Joy.”

I also had an amazing opportunity this summer to step into my new role as the lead ambassador for the CVM Tours program! My predecessor, Chelsea, is now in her fourth and final year in the DVM program and is hard at work in clinical rotations. Since May, I have been working hard to fill her shoes, learn the behind-the-scenes ropes of the CVM Ambassador program, and step up to the task.

As lead ambassador, I work with the many visitors and groups that come to our college every year to help them schedule tours, as well as work with our many departments within the college to accommodate any guests they receive. The CVM works effortlessly to accommodate all of our visitors, and by offering three tours a day during the semester, we were able to welcome more than 5,000 visitors in more than 500 tours this last year alone!

This fall semester we have an outstanding 43 ambassadors, including a diverse group of 17 biomedical sciences (BIMS) undergraduate majors and 27 professional students from within the DVM program. Our schedule for the fall is set and we will be offering three tours a day, Monday through Friday, and on Saturday mornings through December.

The ambassador program is a vital part of the CVM culture and we are often the first face you see when stepping through our doors. With the semester gearing up, I am ready, excited, and looking forward to taking the role of lead CVM ambassador and seeing what the CVM Ambassador program will achieve!

Looking Forward to Summer

Katelyn K.As my first year in veterinary school is drawing to a close, I am looking forward to the summer!

Before I started vet school last semester, my mentors back home told me to explore as many aspects of veterinary medicine as possible to not only realize the vastness of the fields in veterinary medicine, but also to confirm where my interests truly lie.

And that is exactly what I’ll be spending my summer doing—exploring the different fields of this profession.

This summer, I’ll be participating in three externships—all different from one another. One will be working only with horses in a specialty practice; one will be working with food animals, such as cattle, pigs, and goats in a rural environment; and the last one will be exploring the world of veterinary pathology.

In addition, I get to travel to Savannah, Georgia, to give an oral presentation on at the Society for Theriogenology conference this July!

So although this isn’t necessarily a typical summer “vacation,” it’s one that certainly offers a lot of opportunities!

Eating the Elephant

Katelyn K.The moment I have been working toward for, seemingly, forever has finally arrived—I started vet school!

At first, the thought of everything required of you is completely overwhelming, and all at once the analogy that is often associated with vet school (“drinking water out of a fire hose”) is all too accurate, but the thing that has been said to me many times and has helped me ease into it is,  “The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” That’s exactly what vet school is—an elephant of an education.

The first two weeks have consisted of getting into a routine and figuring out what is the best way to study for each course, since there is no universal method for every single one, and above all else, figuring out what actually works for me. Eating the elephant one bite at a time was the best advice because, for me, writing down my daily tasks and achieving the majority of those small pieces of the puzzle is much less intimidating and much more doable than striving for the biggest goal or goals all at once—like studying material every day, rather than studying only when the exams come up.

Things that I’ve never had to navigate before, like spending a considerable amount of time studying in groups and going into the anatomy lab almost every day to prepare for an upcoming exam, are now part of my daily routine.

Another thing that I’ve found extremely helpful during these first weeks is whenever our professors say everything is taught for a reason, they truly mean it! This makes the daily ins and outs much more exciting, since I know that I’ll be using my newly learned communication and catheter placement skills throughout my entire professional life!

In going forward for the next few years, I know there will be ups and downs and a huge variety of experiences on this marathon of an education, but I can’t wait to encounter them, one step at a time.