Last weekend I was able to help with Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) interviews for the Class of 2024, and it was amazing to be a part of the process.
Looking at all of the nervous applicants, I was reminded of how I was in their same position just a year and a half ago.
I remember planning to arrive four hours early so I could attend a tour before my interview time and the first time I walked into the beautiful Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex (VBEC), where I would eventually get to spend the next four years (or three, if I don’t include my clinical year), and getting the chance to walk through the lecture and lab
rooms as other veterinary students explained where things were and how amazing their vet school experience had been.
But this time, I was that excited veterinary student telling the future generations all about how the desks in our lecture halls have outlets at every seat and how every single professor cares about every student and wants them to become the best veterinarian that they can be.
Reflecting on how far I’ve come also allows me to see who has supported me through the whole process.
They say that caring for a veterinary student takes a village and I never realized how true that was until I saw all of the family and friends who came to College Station to support their loved one during this year’s interview process.
I’ve been lucky that my family and friends from other walks of life have stood by me during the past year and a half, and I’m also lucky that I’ve found such great friends here at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM).
You can only talk about intestinal parasites and how they remind you of certain types of noodles so many times before you’re automatically bonded for life with someone!
My friends like to say that I’m too much of an optimist at times, but comparing where I am now to where I was during the interview process makes me disagree.
It’s hard not to be a big believer that everything will be all right when you can see your personal growth so clearly, especially when you’re only 5/8ths away from becoming a “dog-tor!”
Last school year, I struggled to figure out what I was going to do with my summer. All of my classmates seemed to have amazing externships lined up, but all I had planned was hanging out with my family. So, I decided to take a leap and go on two international externships. I have always loved traveling and decided that this would be a great way to do something productive with my summer, while also seeing the world.
My first stop was Playa del Carmen, Mexico, for MARVET, a marine animal medicine veterinary externship. I was able to get some hands-on experience with dolphins, manatees, sharks, and sea lions. Clinicians from around the United States and Mexico spoke to us about aquatic animal rehabilitation, husbandry, and medicine. It was amazing to meet so many accomplished clinicians in the field in which I hope to work, while also being able to gain some much-needed hands-on experience.
Next, I headed to Bocas del Toro, Panama, for the CARES Project. CARES is an externship for veterinary and pre-veterinary students that focuses on wildlife medicine, conservation medicine, and One Health—a field that is focuses on the interrelationship between veterinary medicine, human medicine, and the environment. Visiting Bocas del Toro and participating in the CARES Project was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was able to assist in many dog and cat surgeries, see a wild sea turtle, help in educating the indigenous communities about the importance of clean water and animal health, and conduct a physical exam on a white-faced capuchin monkey.
While I was initially hesitant about traveling to foreign countries I had never visited, I’m so glad I took the risk and decided to go. I learned so much by getting out of my comfort zone. Meeting clinicians and other students who are passionate about the same things I am was a great reinforcement to get through the next three years of veterinary school. Whenever I start feeling discouraged, I know that I can draw on those memories and knowledge.
My advice to anyone searching for something to do over the summer is to embrace your passion and do something that pushes you out of your comfort zone. You never know what experiences you’ll have!