You may be wondering what sorts if items you will need for your first year of vet school. Below is a list of important things that come to mind. I will be sure to amend this list if something else comes to mind. NOTE: no books are listed here; that does not mean that you will not need or want books during first year, but rather the topic of book-buying will be addressed in a future post, so stay tuned!
- Scrubs. I would say it’s best to have 3-5 pairs of these. They sell them in the veterinary school bookstore so you don’t have to worry about getting them ahead of time. The bookstore sells plain scrubs or ones that are embroidered with the current vet school logo. You don’t have to buy from the bookstore though. The color requirement is CEIL BLUE, so as long as the scrubs you buy (or already have) are the right color and don’t have IAMS, Frontline, VCA, Banfield or any other non-UCD SVM logo on them, you should be fine!
- Coveralls. Unless you’re large animal focused, don’t bother getting a pair of coveralls. You can wear scrubs to all of your large animal activities. For those of you who are in Large Animal, get a pair (or a few) — they sell them at the vet school bookstore.
- White Coats. Plan to get 2 of these (in addition to the one you receive during your white coat ceremony). One is best to leave in your anatomy group locker and only use for anatomy lab (sure, bring it home and bleach it at least once per term) and the other can be left in your Valley Hall locker for any activities on campus that require a clean and professional coat. The vet school bookstore sells them in various sizes and lengths so go check them out.
- Stethoscope. I am probably just as confused about the nuances of stethoscopes as you are, so I will relay a piece of advice that I received once. It doesn’t matter what type of stethoscope you get or how expensive it is, what matters is what’s between your ears. In other words, get whatever you want given your budget. I bought a Littmann Cardio III, by having the bookstore price match a really low online price listing. Do your research and you too can find a good deal for yourself!
- Rubber Boots. Perhaps the most flattering and stylish footwear you’ll have in vet school (unless you join the Vet Med bowling league). Boots are necessary for large animal handling labs, nursing sessions, etc. Everyone needs a pair, so go get one if you don’t have some already. They don’t need a steel reinforced toe. Hardware stores sell them as does the vet med bookstore. You can save yourself some money and perhaps get a pair that stands out against the masses of bookstore bought boots if you go elsewhere though. Best to leave these on top of the lockers in Valley Hall so they’ll be around whenever you need them.
- Dissection Kits. The vet med bookstore sells a kit that suits our needs at the vet school, and that’s what most everyone purchases. Buy it and store it in your anatomy group locker. The kit doesn’t come with many spare blades, but you don’t need to switch blades after every anatomy lab. I know my lab group went the entire year with just the blades provided in the kits but some groups changed them out regularly and were constantly buying new blades.
- Gloves. Nitrile gloves are best for anatomy labs. Once you find out who your lab group members are, determine whether you all can fit in a single size of gloves. If that is possible, have someone buy a 2-pack from Costco and that should last you the entire year and you all can split the cost. If you have a variable size among you, try and see if there are other singled-out lab mates in other groups that you might be able to pair up with to split that 2-pack.
- Glasses/Goggles. These are required to be on when you are in the anatomy lab. So grab yourself a pair at the vet med bookstore or elsewhere if you can. Glasses are often more popular and flattering than goggles (so get your pair from the bookstore quickly before they sell out like they did my first year). NOTE: Prescription glasses will work (so long as they are shatterproof) and cover enough of your eyes so as to provide sufficient protection.
- Bookstore Price Matching. We are fortunate enough that our veterinary school bookstore does price matching — with just about anything. Books, medical supplies, etc. You just need to print out a current listed price/ad for a new (not second party) item online that is sold within the United States, and they will match the price. This could save you the cost of shipping! I believe you can do this retroactively as well (within the first week or two of buying the book).
- Locks. You will have two lockers during first year at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis. One is in Valley Hall and the other is in Vet Med 3A across from the Gross Anatomy Lab
- Valley Hall Locker. Before orientation, you’ll get an email that lets you know that you can swing by Valley Hall and claim a locker. It’s first come, first serve, so it’s best to get there early if you want a prime “end” spot! I’d recommend getting a top as you’ll likely want to put your rubber boots for Large Animal work up on top of the lockers. To claim a locker, just bring a lock and affix it to the locker of your choice (best to make sure it is, in fact, empty first). That’s all. That will be your locker for years 1 through 3 of vet school! Things to keep in your locker: white coat, stethoscope, water, food/snacks, emergency sources of caffeine/energy, paper, pen/pencil, change of clothes, a clean pair of scrubs
- Anatomy Lab Group Locker. For anatomy labs in Vet Med 3A, there are 3 people in a lab group (usually) and groups are pre-assigned. Your group gets to claim one locker for all three of you across the hall from the gross lab. Remember, it’s a group locker, so it’s best to use a combination lock and share the combo with everyone. Come prepared with a lock to your first anatomy lab and get brownie points with your lab mates! In the locker you should keep: dissection kits, box(es) of nitrile gloves, lab glasses/goggles, and lab coats. If you’re the type of person who wears flip flops or open-toed shoes a lot, it might be a good idea to keep a pair of close-toed shoes in there as well!