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Student Perspectives
The Student Perspectives blog is a fresh and realistic snapshot of the life of veterinary medical and biomedical science students.
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Archive for tag: 3VM

Looking Back and Ahead

Looking Back and Ahead Wow! This semester has just flown by! It seems like I just started classes again, but, instead, I just completed my finals. In my last block for the semester, I took two electives, "Clinical Pathology" and "Emergency Medicine." Clinical pathology is understanding disease processes and how they commonly present themselves using diagnostic tests such as blood work or cytology. Knowing how often veterinarians in practice read bloodwork, I was excited to be able to practice those skills and increase my confidence level before my fourth year. Emergency medicine was great because it helped me create a plan for the worst outcome, in hopes of saving lives. Having a basic idea of what to do in emergency situations helps give you a framework and the confidence to face those challenging cases head on. I have really enjoyed my electives this semester because I love how clinically relevant they are and how much they are preparing me for not only fourth year, but when I am o... (Read More)

Terra, the 'Service Dog'

Terra, the 'Service Dog' Recently, I was able to bring my dog, Terra, to school! That is one of the perks of being a veterinary student—sometimes we get to all bring our pets to class. Mikaela and Terra We needed her for our orthopedics laboratory, in which we were learning to do a proper orthopedic exam and how to apply a splint. Nothing beats the real thing when it comes to practicing, and Terra was a willing patient (for a lot of treats). We started out by just watching her walk in a straight line from the front, back, and sides to see her gait and how she moves. This can help you identify if there is a lame leg and which one it could be. Then you do the same thing at a jog. After that, we do a standing exam and you feel over all the joints for anything that is out of the ordinary. It is important to feel both sides at the same time to compare the two sides. Following the standing exam, Terra got to lay down and we went through all the ranges of motion on each joint to make s... (Read More)

Finals, Coffee, and Bears—Oh my!

Finals, Coffee, and Bears—Oh my! Finals week is upon us! There is truly nothing like a finals week in veterinary school, where it seems you learn an entire semester in one night! There is so much to remember and never enough time, so you are forced to learn as much as you can, do your best, and still be satisfied with never knowing all of the information. Third-year vet students are lucky and only have three finals this year—but they are all worth a LOT of points, so they cannot be taken lightly. The first final exam is in "Large Animal Medicine," over 29 hours worth of lectures. No pressure, right?! Our second exam is in "Small Animal Medicine" and ranges from placing external fixators on bones to how to tell if a female dog is pregnant. Our third exam is over "Radiology," and since it is cumulative, we have to study things from all the way back in August. Finals week and veterinary students are like hibernating bears and winter. We stock up on food and supplies, wear our comfiest clothes, ... (Read More)

Looking Forward to my Last Break

Looking Forward to my Last Break This upcoming Christmas break will be my last as a student, as my peers and I will be entering clinics immediately after the conclusion of the third-year veterinary curriculum. I have been meticulously planning to get the most out of the four-week break, during which I will be spending two weeks doing a veterinary externship in Dallas and the remaining time traveling with family and friends. Externships offer students an exciting opportunity to spend two to six weeks under a direct doctor mentorship to apply the clinical skills obtained during the first three years of veterinary school and ease the transition from classroom to clinical practice. I am really looking forward to the externship experience, as I feel more confident interpreting blood work and other laboratory data than I have ever been. Needless to say, I am also very excited to travel! My advice to all future students is that you should use your free time to travel spontaneously... (Read More)

Learning through Labs

Learning through Labs After the gauntlet of the first two years of veterinary school, it really is nice to experience some of the perks of third year. We get to put a lot of what we learned our first two years of school into use, especially during our lab periods. Just this past week, our Small Animal Medicine class had us practicing a procedure called a pericardiocentesis, a procedure that involves inserting a needle through the body wall and into the pericardium, the sac that surrounds the heart, so that the fluid can be drained. This may be necessary in certain patients to remove excess fluid to make them feel better and also so that the fluid can be tested to determine what may be causing the patient’s problem. My class was able to practice this on some pretty cool models that simulate how it will feel to perform the procedure in a live patient one day. We previously had several large-animal labs. My favorite was the ophthalmology lab, which gave us practice in ... (Read More)

Being Selective About Third-Year Electives

Being Selective About Third-Year Electives As a third-year veterinary student, I have been able to choose the electives that I take; after two years of taking a pre-selected curriculum, this is an amazing experience! I get to pick what I want to learn, which makes learning all the more fun. This semester, I have completed an oncology elective. Oncology is a big part of veterinary medicine because 50 percent of dogs over the age of 10 years will develop cancer. Through this elective, I was able to learn about current research being done that correlates human cancers and cancer in dogs, because it is very similar and advances in each field can help each other. The elective I just finished is dermatology. This is also a large part of veterinary medicine, as many pets have issues with skin or allergies, especially living in Texas. In dermatology, we learned how to identify different infections, causes, and how to treat common dermatologic problems. Did you know that dogs can have food al... (Read More)

Piecing Together the Puzzle

Piecing Together the Puzzle We are now over a quarter of the way done with the semester! Whoop! Veterinary School is really good at keeping our minds and bodies busy, so even though it feels like the clock is barely ticking during some class days, it’s actually FLYING by! I can feel the jittery excitement in the air, because all of my third-year classmates can finally see a glimmer of light at the end of the vet school tunnel. We are gaining confidence, skills, and wisdom; we finally feel closer to being doctors and further from students. We third-year students have gotten more comfortable with basic surgical procedures so far this semester; nevertheless, I still sweat bullets the entire time. Putting non-powdered surgical gloves onto sweaty hands should be an Olympic sport. Gold medal goes to me for my hilarious and laborious struggle with such a menial task! This week, AFTER I took 10 minutes to get my gloves on, I proceeded to accidentally poke a hole in the glove on ... (Read More)

Third-Year Excitement

Third-Year Excitement One of the best things about third year is getting to choose our electives! Veterinary students are required to take 14 hours of electives by the end of our third year, in addition to our 14-plus hours of core classes per semester. The electives are one to two credit hours, with smaller class sizes ranging from 12-80 people. This means that we get to take a variety of electives and learn more about the specific topics that we’re interested in, in a smaller setting and with more hands-on learning. I’m currently taking the "Oncology" elective, in which I’m learning more about common tumor types and cancer treatments. I will also be taking the "Dermatology," "Exotic Hoofstock," "Avian Medicine," and "Cardiology" electives this semester. I’m particularly excited about some of the electives that I will be taking in the spring, including "Small Animal Behavior," "Dentistry," "Diseases of Swine," "Feline Medicine," and "Preventative Medicine." I’m g... (Read More)

Hitting the Ground Running

Hitting the Ground Running After just finishing the first two weeks of my third year, I am already feeling busy, but also excited for the semester. Third year is full of not only important lectures, but also awesome skills lab, clinics, electives, and surgery! The schedule is jammed packed with material to get us ready for fourth year, so it’s a nonstop day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Third year is very different from the first two years of vet school in that we have electives of our own choosing throughout four different blocks. My first elective is "Oncology" and I am learning from the oncologists in our hospitals; they are specialized in this field, so I am learning from clinicians who can give us tricks of the trade and break down what is most common or most important to know for when we get out into practice. So far, they have lectured to us about the different cancer types, different treatments options, and the differences in our species. This past week we met at the Dia... (Read More)

Departing Advice for Vet School Success

Departing Advice for Vet School Success I am now only a week and a half away from starting my clinical year! Because our clinical year is so busy, fourth-year students do not serve as ambassadors, which means I will be leaving the team as both a member and its leader. While reflecting on my first three years of veterinary school, I remembered my blog post from first year that summarized my advice for veterinary school. These lessons were helpful to me in my second and third year and will continue to serve me well in my final year of veterinary school. If I could give one final piece of advice for succeeding in veterinary school, I would say that success in veterinary school is determined as much by your attitude as by your knowledge and experience. With that in mind, below is a list of five personality traits that I believe are valuable in veterinary school: Resilience: Veterinary school is full of challenges, both academically and emotionally. My classmates and I all have had to ... (Read More)