Monthly Archives: November 2011

Nose to the Grindstone

Posting here has slowed quite dramatically compared to the summer, when I was posting every day. But that’s vet school for you – it sucks your free time away. This quarter has been a little rough, but that’s partly my fault. I’m taking three medicine courses (most people take one, sometimes two) because I feel that a lab animal vet works with such a huge variety of species that I need to know about small animals (dogs and cats), small exotics (obviously – rats, mice, rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles), and food animals (lots of calves and sheep in research, and tons of pigs!). The only medicine class I’m not taking is equine, because there aren’t a lot of horses in research and when they are used, usually an equine vet is called in for medical issues. The result of all these medicine classes is a lot of exams and material as well as a lot of classroom time. I like all three of them, but am sometimes overwhelmed with what’s expected of me in order to do well in all three (as well as all of my other classes!).

Overall, though, third year is better than second year. I’m working just as hard (sometimes harder), but the material is more interesting and relevant, and third year also means SURGERY! Which, I’ve discovered, I totally love (as evidenced by this entry). Since then we’ve had another surgery, where I was anesthetist. That was almost more scary than being surgeon, because that animal’s well being under anesthesia was completely in my hands. I prepared a ton for it, and thankfully the little shelter kitty did wonderfully while my partner completed her first ever cat spay. Also, as a third year, I can volunteer for a spay/neuter event at the local SPCA and be stationed on the cat neuter table. So last weekend, I worked 8am – 4pm and completed 8 cat neuters on my own. It was pretty amazing – the fact that I can actually do surgery, and the idea that I was helping reduce the unwanted pet population. It was also nice to get a feel for neutering a variety of cat sizes, because there are definitely differences – I neutered everything from a tiny, 2 pound kitten to a huge, adult tom cat. It was a lot of fun, and I will for sure be doing more of those. As a vet student and as a veterinarian.

Another reason for my feeling overwhelmed is that I have a lot of club responsibilities (two presidencies and one other officer position). Just to give you an idea – Wednesday night after class I did an outreach event for the Veterinary Student Outreach club where I talked to undergrads interested in vet med. I met two extremely enthusiastic freshman, haha, putting things into perspective just a bit. Thursday night I had a Pathology Club slide reading that I set up and organized and bought snacks for. Then Friday I organized a Lab Animal Medicine Club wet lab where we got some hands on training from the head lab animal vet here on campus with mice, rats, and hamsters – it was a great experience, especially for the students interested in lab animal medicine with limited experience. These are all great, but it contributes to my exhaustion.

Yesterday I finally decided to take a break from anything vet related and go shopping with some friends. We headed to the mall, got lunch, and just did the normal girly shopping thing. It was really nice. But now it’s back to it – huge exam on Tuesday and surgery on Wednesday (I’m the assistant – expected to know the procedure in case the main surgeon cannot complete it for some reason). So I’m sitting in Starbucks… studying… and counting down the days until Friday. I get the entire week of Thanksgiving off, and it cannot come quickly enough.

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