Some of you, my followers, read my blog regularly or search back in time to find old entries that might sound interesting or relevant, others are newcomers. I decided that it might be useful to have a “What the first year of vet school is like.” summary just to sum up how things went. Also, looking back over my first year of vet school via memories as well as this blog, I felt it necessary to write a few words to capture the essence of first year for me. So here it is, my entire first year summed up in a few paragraphs! I even provided links to all of my blog entries that are related to that topic to make it easy to read about things you’re interested in.
Enjoy and thanks for reading!
My First Year of Vet School
Moving away from friends was difficult as was beginning a new life on my own in an area I was completely not familiar with. Starting vet school was fun and challenging for a period of time while I struggled to find a way to balance everything I was juggling — living on my own, new friends, new classes, new town, new everything. After a month I was starting to find my groove — proving to myself that I could succeed on exams and perhaps spending too much time studying. I was starting to rock climb again and started to share that passion with classmates (though later on in the year, classmates became more focused on school and less on climbing, so I branched out and developed friendships with non-vet student climbers). As the first anatomy exam came and went, I was already exhibiting my enthusiastic non-stressed attitude that I am known for, as I stopped fretting over whether or not I would ever understand physiological chemistry to the extent that was expected of me.
Although I might have been getting into more of a routine, I did have a moment when I realized that my life was very different than it was months before — I was dealing with very little free time to fit in studying amongst my regular obligations such as food shopping, washing dishes, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. Fitting in time to catch up with family and friends was also more difficult, but I was managing more or less. By the time the first finals week arrived I was at a no-stress state, but was feeling extremely exhausted from the constant mental exertion that is required from week after week of tests that is characteristic of vet school. I resolved myself to develop better habits in the next term, which included making an effort to take part in activities that I enjoyed.
I started off the Winter term, on a good note, and made it a priority to go skiing whenever possible and definitely got more involved in club activities such as symposiums and field trips. I looked ahead toward the summer and started making plans to apply for a summer research fellowship in the midst of an intense quarter. Clearly my outlook was positive and my excitement and enthusiasm was fostered by some key experiences and wasn’t even stifled by studying for the dreaded final exam in Cardiovascular Physiology, which I found out I passed on Spay Day! Sure I had a bit of a hiccup mid-semester when body seemed to be failing me, but I recovered without actually getting sick (in fact I was one of the only people in my entire class who did not get sick the entire year!). I was even able to enjoy watching my love, Bode Miller, dominate the slopes in the 2010 Winter Olympics while studying for exams (I confess I ended up watching the splits online during class because I didn’t have the patience to wait for the evening’s broadcast). And as finals descended upon me and another term came to a close and admissions decisions for the Class of 2014 were disseminated, I was reminded of why I’m in veterinary school by my lovely feline companions.
Spring break in Belize was an excellent but short-lived break from the whirlwind that is vet school, and somehow I don’t think I ever mentally came back from spring break. I had a very carefree, Caribbean attitude that was sustained for much of Spring Term. I started off the spring term by branching out with new groups of people. I started climbing regularly with non-vet students at the rock wall, swimming regularly, and immersed myself in helicopter training with the Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT) for Picnic Day 2010. Sure there were weekly quizzes, tests, and drama to fill my life at school, but the other activities lessened the effect that they had on my life. I filled my time with activities such as the Shelter Medicine Symposium, assisting (and donating to) the 1st Annual VERT Fundraiser, and started making plans for my first summer in vet school! And it seemed that just as I was finally feeling like I had a grasp on how to handle vet school, first year was over! I can only hope that all these tools will continue to serve me well in my remaining years of vet school.
At the end of the summer I will post all of my activities during my first summer of vet school. Stay tuned!