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.