Reflections

I’ve finished my first semester of vet school, and I feel like orientation was just yesterday! I can’t believe how quickly the past four months flew by. I’ve learned all about microscopic anatomy of animals (aka: histology), different types of parasites and the diseases they can cause, how to correctly apply a “kitty burrito“, the differences between dog and cat anatomy, and some of the basic principles of One Health. Outside of the classroom, I was elected as the Student Government Association Information Services (IS) Representative, built a website for SGA, elected as Wet Lab Coordinator for our Student Chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (SCAAEP), and Events Coordinator for our chapter of Christian Veterinary Fellowship (CVF). Needless to say, I’ve been really busy! Now that I’ve had time to slow down (i.e. sleep for days) and look back on the past semester, I had a few thoughts to share.

One of the biggest challenges that I faced was the transition from undergraduate to vet school. Simply put, vet school is AT LEAST ten times harder than my hardest semester of undergrad. There’s not much homework or many papers to write, but all of my time that I’m not in class or in a club meeting is spent studying: reviewing today’s lectures, looking ahead at tomorrow’s, tying knots, and memorizing parts of an animal. I try to take at least an hour a day for some personal time where I can just chill out and detox. Most weekends (except before exams), I don’t study Friday evening or Saturday morning-I watch some Netflix, relax, and sleep in.  In the week leading up to an exam, I try to make out a schedule of each lecture I need to study and estimate how long I need to allot to study for that lecture; usually, I start at an hour per lecture or five to six objectives (depending on the class). For histology, I studied the powerpoints. For anatomy, I would do the objectives, since those were the things that my professor felt were most important for us to know.

One of my favorite parts about being a student at LMU-CVM is when I get to help out with interview days as a CVM Ambassador. I love getting to talk to potential students and hopefully help quell some of their fears about the process and life as a vet student. At the last interview day, I received some great questions that I think would help other students:

How would you prepare for your first semester, knowing what you know now?

My classmates and I differed on this question; they said they would try to read the textbooks and get ahead on the material. Personally, I spent my summer working out in Colorado, not giving a second thought about material for my upcoming classes. There’s so much information in the books that it’s hard to try and determine what’s “important”; that’s where professors come in and give reading assignments and lecture notes. I rarely get a chance to actually read the textbook; I normally just use it for clarification if I don’t understand a concept before asking my professor.

My advice is to spend the summer doing something you absolutely love and spend time with family. Once the semester starts, there’s very little time for anything outside studying and classwork.

Is your class more competitive or collaborative?

Definitely collaborative! We always try to help each other out. For instance, before each of our histology Team-Based Learning labs (more here), I take the objectives from each lecture covered in the lab and organize the lecture to fit into each objective. Then, I post the objectives to our Facebook group so others can use them to study by. When someone makes flashcards for parasitology, they post the link so others can benefit. We work as a team so that we all can make it through to graduation together. If you think about it, veterinary medicine is truly a team sport–it does no good to step on people so you can get to the top. I’m involved in several study groups, too. Typically, I try and teach the material because that (1) helps others to understand it, and (2) helps me to understand it since I have to make it clear and succinct.

What are you looking forward to the most?

I’m a huge nerd (check out I’m Nerdy and I Know It), so I’m really looking forward to infectious disease and immunology and cell biopathology classes this spring. I’m also excited about organizing wet labs for SCAAEP; hopefully, we’ll be able to do some joint injections using cadaver legs, which will be very applicable in my future career as an equine vet. CVF is planning to attend the Real Life Real Impact conference at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville College of Veterinary Medicine at the end of January, and a mission trip to northern Kentucky is also in the works. I’m excited for everything coming up in the new year!

If you have any other questions, feel free to email me! I would love to answer your questions!

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Posted on January 14, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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