Planning My First Vet School Summer

I suppose before entering vet school I never considered how I would spend my summers in between years as, despite being on a quarter system, we have no summer term at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis.

I asked some individuals in the field what they recommended I do during the summer. I even asked the veterinarian I worked with before coming to Davis and her reply was more or less: I’d love to have you back, but you should consider your options. In other words, she values my work but thinks that it would be better for me to expand my horizons and consider other opportunities. Great advice, in my opinion, as I have spend virtually all of my time at that one location to gain experience in the field of veterinary medicine.

Although I didn’t spend a tremendous amount of time researching opportunities in veterinary medicine (frankly, I just didn’t have the time), I did manage to find a few interesting opportunities to consider:

  • Summer Clinics at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. During summer clinics, you are assigned as many 2 week shifts as you like and essentially act as a 4th year. You learn the ropes, see clients and patients and work through the cases with the Doctors. I’ve been told it is an amazing opportunity not only to see what 4th year is like, but to apply many of the concepts you’ve acquired. What’s more is that you get to spend more time with your professors but in an environment that they thrive in! These Doctors are some of the best in their field in the world and having the opportunity to learn along side them and be “coached” by them is awesome!
  • Summer Externships. Many externships are available throughout the country (and even world) and they often only takes a phone call or an email to inquire and set up. Given my interest in shelter medicine and after hearing amazing things about the brand new, state-of-the-art San Francisco SPCA, I decided to inquire about externships and set one up in no time at all!
  • International Veterinary Volunteer Work. It wouldn’t be original for me at all, but I did consider doing a trip with VIDA during the summer. It would be an excellent way to satisfy my desire to travel and serve populations of animals that would not ordinarily receive veterinary care, but I decided against it for multiple reasons: cost, I’ve already done a trip and want to fill my summer with new experiences, and I am helping some of my classmates plan a trip for the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine with VIDA next year.
  • Students Training in Advanced Research (STAR Program). This is a program I wrote about during Winter Quarter when the application was due. It turns out that the school was able to find some money to fund my research. This will be the activity that takes up the majority of my time during the summer — the activity that I will be attempting to schedule all other activities around.

These are just a few of the options I considered for my first summer of vet school and I am sure I will be filling my time with many other activities as well (rock climbing, swimming, and other trips to name a few). It’s looking like it will be a pretty awesome summer so far! Perhaps this is why I am having so much trouble focusing — I’m ready for summer!

1 thought on “Planning My First Vet School Summer”

  1. Hey Sharon – I liked reading this post because though I haven’t started first year yet, I’ve sort of been thinking about what I might want to do next summer. A couple of professors I’ve worked with for my MS have really been pushing for me to consider the STAR program, of course. And as much as I love genetics research and am really going to miss it during vet school, I really feel the compulsion to try out other areas of vet med as well. All of my pre-vet experience is in shelter med, small animal clinics and research and I would love to branch out some while I have the opportunity. Yours are sort of the same options that I came up with, but either way it’s nice to see that other people feel similarly and I don’t feel so weird about wanting to consider everything anymore.

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