A First Year’s Guide to UCD SVM: Things I Wish I Knew Sooner

Things I wish I knew sooner:

  • Keys. You can go into the small building that is located between Valley and the VMTH by the VMTH parking lot to get keys to the VMTH. Bring your ID Badge and let them know what keys you want (I’d start with just getting the key to the front doors!)
  • CAPE Treatment Crew. CAPE stands for Companion Avian & Exotic Animals. Every first year is required to do 4 nursing sessions during their first year, but you can sign up for CAPE Treatment Crew and get out of your nursing sessions. Why do this? Your nursing sessions are automatically assigned and you don’t get to choose a convenient date/time. Treatment crew you get to choose a two week period for your shifts. You will spend more hours in total in CAPE, but you’ll get to do more and have the opportunity to be there in the morning working with the doctors, residents, and 4th years on a more intimate level.
  • Dog Walking. You can get paid to walk the colony dogs on campus that are housed in Gourley. At the end of the year, the dogs are adopted out and I believe the walkers have first dibs on their dogs!
  • The Arboretum. Along with the lines of dog walking, the arboretum is located right next to the Vet School campus and extends all the way to downtown Davis. Take advantage of the nice weather and grab some friends to go for a walk during lunch. Believe me, when you’re sitting for 8 hours every day, a 30 minute stroll is quite enjoyable. Your body will thank you!
  • Free Food. You may have heard rumors that when you’re in vet school you get free food. That’s true — lots of free food for you and, as long as the programs stay in place, free food for your pets too! We have lots of lunch talk talks (and some evening talks as well) that have food and refreshments to lure you in. Most events serve pizza so you’re sure to get sick of it sooner or later, but some clubs get Italian, Thai, or Chinese which is always appreciated by students. The Veterinary Business Medical Association (VBMA) is known for providing better food for members and sticking with pizza for non-members for events. They charge 30 for membership for all 4 years of vet school, so it’s best to snag a membership in the beginning of first year and enjoy yummy food throughout vet school. As for your pets, we currently have programs with Hills and Purina but I am sure there are others that I am not aware of. Food is cheap if not free and I highly recommend taking part in the program as long as it continues to exist. In the past, Hill’s food is ordered online and picked up monthly at the loading dock of the VMTH while Purina is ordered online and mailed to your house via FedEx (and usually arrives within 2 days).
  • SCAVMA. Not only is the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association a huge club at all vet schools across the country, membership in it is critical to your future as a DVM. An email sent out by the SCAVMA board at UCDSVM stated, “In order to get AVMA GHILT insurance YOU MUST BE A SCAVMA MEMBER IN GOOD STANDING = PAYING DUES FOR 2 YRS. Why do you care? When you are hired at a practice/clinic following graduation you will likely have to qualify for their health insurance in order to be covered and ultimately hired. A significant portion of the veterinary community uses the AVMA GHLIT  insurance to cover their employees (which means YOU). If you are not a SCAVMA member in good standing upon graduation then you cannot be insured by the practice and there is the potential that YOU WILL NOT BE HIRED.” This came up when a few students at UCD were faced with the potential of not being hired upon graduation due to not having been a member in SCAVMA for 2 years during their time at the vet school. Avoid this stress, and join SCAVMA!
  • Davis Creamery. This tiny shop is definitely one of my favorite spots. Davis Creamery has fresh cookies, cupcakes, ice cream, etc. Check them out on Tuesdays for Cowpies for $3 (Any two cookies with a scoop of your favorite ice cream in the middle! — YUM!)
  • Get Syllabi Bound. The Vet School Bookstore sells syllabi for lab and lecture for most classes. Do yourself a favor and spend a few bucks to get them bound at OfficeMax in South Davis. It will make your life easier — especially in lab! While you’re there, stop off at Davis Creamery — it’s in the same parking lot!
  • Surgery Viewing Area. Upstairs in the VMTH there is a room where you can sit and view surgery that is being performed in that surgery suite. You can watch the entire scene but they also have a camera affixed to the overhead lights, so you can see what the doctor is doing from above! It’s such a great feature of the hospital that doesn’t get taken advantage of nearly enough.
  • Kirkwood. If you are a skiier or snowboarder, then my recommendation would be to get a pass to Kirkwood for the season. Kirkwood has the most varied terrain in all of Tahoe and also gets the most snow! The passes go on sale in April for the following season (the earlier you buy, the cheaper they are). For instance, the student pass for the 2010/2011 season was 250 in April for skiing any day during the season with NO BLACK OUTS! (Be sure to mention that I referred you!) Not in it for the long term? That’s fine too — Kirkwood has cheap student day passes (29 weekday/39 weekend/holiday) that you can buy online and print out before you head out.