My name is Laura! I just finished my first year of vet school a few weeks ago and I wanted to put together a list of tips that I thought would have been helpful as an incoming veterinary student!
April has been full of fun events, one of them being a field trip to the Blank Park Zoo with the Ophthalmology Club. It was a great experience shadowing an ophthalmologist and observing how ocular exams are performed on zoo animal species. We were able to see ocular exams on an 80+ year old tortoise, sea lions, bats, lizards, and a small owl. I personally loved looking into the owl’s eyes, as they don’t blink as often as humans do.
The end of April has been a wonderful time! I have only 7 days left from the time of writing this post until I finish all of my classes!! I have 10 years into this education post-high school, so it is a completely foreign life I am preparing to launch into in a few short days.
Now, I absolutely love veterinary medicine, but in this last month or so I have absolutely loved diving into all of the things non-vetmed. I have been able to learn so many new things!
With just a few months left of veterinary school and all of my required rotations completed, I am on the downward slide to graduation. I have one two-week rotation remaining at ISU CVM and six weeks of swine preceptorships throughout the Midwest. The amount of knowledge I have gained in these past four years and the number of cases I have been exposed to has been unimaginable.
This is the first two days in a row I have had off in weeks, and it is amazing! I have gotten so much done this weekend; I think I am remembering how to be a regular functional member of society again! I even saw the sun today!! Periodically, as I food-prepped and cleaned, I found my mind wandering to that dangerous topic: pets.
It’s the week after spring break, and I must say, my brain has one leg in vacation mode and slowly tippy toeing its way towards study mode (but let’s be honest, my brain is mostly preferring vacation mode at this moment).
A lot has happened since we last spoke! I took the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE), rotated through my remaining small animal rotations, signed a job contract, finished my skills check-list, and received my NAVLE results.
I spent the last four weeks on the Emergency Service clinical rotation. The first two weeks were nightshift (8PM-8AM) followed by two weeks of dayshift (8AM-8PM). I was terrified for this required rotation -the idea of pulling all-nighters through 12 hour shifts, caring for patients when I had yet to barely grasp even basic medicine (impostor syndrome, much!), and how to know what to do when that critical case would come to the front door… did I mention I was terrified?
Many exciting events have occurred since my previous post: I have taken boards, accepted a job, and was notified that I passed those boards. Graduation is now under 100 days away!
I still cannot believe that I made it into veterinary school, much less that I will be graduating in five short months.
As I write this month’s blog, I am sitting in a hotel room in Oklahoma, where I am completing the second week of my preceptorship with Hanor, a pork production company. Since we last spoke, I have completed both the ICU and Dermatology rotations at ISU. I first transitioned from nights to days in the ICU, which was a harder adjustment for me than working nights. I had a lot of swing shifts, which are scheduled from 10 AM to 10 PM versus the standard 8 AM to 8 PM.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and the opportunity to enjoy some delicious turkey. It has been a week since I arrived back in Ames from visiting my family in Los Angeles for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was so nice to see everyone again, including my two dogs and my bearded dragon. The weather was also perfect (low 70s)! I am now back in Ames, and it is definitely starting to feel like winter. The mornings so far have been a chilly 18 degrees, but the peep of the sun in the afternoons makes for a nice stroll outside.
Most patients that come to a specialty hospital like Iowa State University come on referral from their GP (general practitioner, or "primary veterinarian"). One piece I have been able to take away from a number of my rotations is how the GP can really be a major part of the referral (specialty) team.
Hello again everyone,
It’s been several months since I’ve written, and things have changed quite a bit. At that time, I had just graduated and was taking a few weeks off. The three weeks between graduation and work were fun; I’m glad I took time to relax and get things in order before taking the next step. Many of my classmates may have felt the real world came too early, but I was anxious to start my professional career. I am now wholly immersed in the “real world”, and starting to sort everything out.
Hello Vet Med Enthusiasts!
The month of October has brought beautiful red and orange trees, as well as nice chilly mornings and evenings. I was pleasantly surprised by the early kiss of snow we received in the beginning of the month. It’s time to take out the warm coats and scarves!
Veterinary school demands long hours: long hours of class, long hours of studying. It can be incredibly difficult to wake up for those 8:00 AM classes or 7:00 AM extra-curriculars -especially during Iowa Winters where you will commonly get to school, and leave school, without ever seeing the fleeting sun.
On that dreary note, I would love to share some ways to trick your body into being a morning person.
I write to you this month during one of my ICU overnight shifts. Prior to ICU, I was on the Food Animal and Camelid Medicine and Surgery rotation. I really enjoyed the food animal rotation and got to see a variety of species for appointments and overnight hospitalization, including beef cattle, sheep, goats, and alpacas. The rotation started off steady with mostly beef lameness cases, but quickly turned into assisting with several goat blood transfusions. I learned a lot and enjoyed working with the interns, residents, and clinicians.
In undergraduate, you may have had time to finish your studying or projects each night, watch a little TV or read a book (for fun!), and get up each morning to go for a run. Maybe you went dancing every Thursday night, spent weekends at a friend's place, and only ever didn't receive a full 8 hours of sleep by choice.
In veterinary school, you enter this Twilight Zone where I swear there are only like 6 hours in the day -where did the other 18 go!?
If I had been asked to write this before my senior year, I would have said I was terrified of eyeballs. They were these mystical, fragile blobbies that are essential to both animals for sight and owners for connecting to their pets. The stress borne of the consequences if you 'mess those up' was hugely heavy to me: eyeballs were tiny face booby-traps waiting to explode (literally!), and I did not want to risk getting close to them. So, when I prepared to brave my Ophthalmology Service clinical rotation, I wished with all my wishing power… to not puke.
For my Cardiology Service clinical rotation, we were asked to read five journal articles. Five. FIVE!?
My summer filled with concerts, beaches and staying up late binge watching Netflix has come to an end, and it is that time of the year again…back to school! I arrived in Ames last weekend, after a three-day journey from Los Angeles with my cat, Maddy.
And just like that another fourth-year rotation is in the books! Since my last blog, I have been immersed in swine land. I first completed a preceptorship with Iowa Select Farms and am now just wrapping up a rotation at ISU with the Swine Medicine Education Center (SMEC), best known as “SMEC 480.”
I am on break from rotation right now to regroup and intensely study for boards (anyone else catch the oxymoron there, ugh!). However, each break I take out a day to food prep. Whenever people hear that I food prep, they panic. This makes me so sad! I eat "fast food" daily for nearly all meals by eating my own home-cooked goodness. Let me share some tips I definitely wish I knew when I was first starting at university.
Hi everyone! My name is Sarahbeth Barlas, and I grew up in Canton, Michigan, on that perfect border between suburbia and the back country roads. I attended Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University where I completed a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science with a concentration in companion and exotic animal management and a specialization in agriculture and natural resources biotechnology.
The past month of rotations has flown by! I have completed two rotations, started my VetPrep program, and have registered for the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) and with the Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine.
So far, my rotations have provided a great opportunity to get to know classmates that I previously haven’t spent much time with. Now that everyone is closing in on a career path, it has been great to create a network of species experts that I will be able to refer to in the future.
After a week-long of sleepless nights and eating Maruchan ramen soups, finals week is now over! It is incredible to think that the first two years of vet school are over; and there are only two more years of vet school to go. I am currently on the road back to Los Angeles, with my cat Maddy by my side. We stopped in Denver, Colorado for the night and we’re on our way to spend the night in Mesquite, Nevada.
My what a difference a couple weeks can make. My vet school career is now in the rear-view mirror and I am hurdling towards the real world…whether I like it or not.
Since we last spoke, my third year of veterinary school ended rather abruptly with finals on Monday-Thursday, and my first day of fourth year beginning on Friday at 8 am. I am now over halfway through my first rotation, Equine Ambulatory. Even though I am on the food animal track for graduation, one equine course is required among ambulatory, medicine, and surgery.
My fourth year journey starts in less than 30 days at ISU CVM, meaning a new rotation every two weeks until May of 2019! Consequently, I have a lot of work to do in the upcoming month with deadlines fast approaching. Yet, my excitement is building to get out of the classroom and apply the knowledge I have gained over the past three years. That also means I have to start considering plans for after graduation.
We’re well into spring, although it certainly doesn’t feel like it. I don’t know about you, but personally, I am sick of the cold and snow. Fortunately, during my travels I missed most of the bad weather and just dealt with the aftermath.
The last month has been a lot of fun. I had four weeks of externships which took me to Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. It was especially nice because these were vacation blocks for me, so I just got to hang out with vets and didn’t have to write any reports or log skills as I did for previous externships.
It is mid-April, and final exams are looming closer and closer. It’s unbelievable to think that there are only 3 weeks until second year will come to a close.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to participate in the Ophthalmology enucleation lab. This wet lab was in conjunction with the Feline Club. Each student had a cadaver dog or cat to practice enucleation techniques.
I can't believe it is literally a month away until I have my last finals and I start clinics. It feels like time has flown by with all my ups and downs in vet school.
It is March and I am just counting down the days until clinics! I can't believe on this journey I am going to be starting clinics soon.
Since my last blog, I attended the 2018 AASV (American Association of Swine Veterinarians) Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA. It was a great conference again this year filled with seminars, student oral and poster presentations, along with many networking opportunities. No matter who you talk to, they will attest that AASV is a very student friendly organization, especially when it comes to offering funding to students wishing to attend the conference each year. The timing of the conference unfortunately falls before spring break each year, so it can take some time to get caught up with classes upon return, but definitely worth the effort given how much the conference has to offer. I had a few exams that required rescheduling, which needed to be addressed in advanced on a per instructor basis.
It has come to that time of the semester when us vet students can take a sigh of relief and embrace spring break.
After two months of non-stop midterm exams, I decided to take a mental break and venture out to Chicago for some sight -seeing, as well as to experience the infamous Chicago deep-dish pizza! Chicago is about a five-and-a-half-hour drive from Ames.
The semester is now in full swing with two exams down and plenty to go before clinical rotations begin in May!
There are a lot of species-specific electives offered this semester, including poultry diseases, small ruminant production medicine, entrepreneurship, equine lameness, and equine surgery. I am enrolled in the poultry and small ruminant courses, given that these species are minimally covered in the core curriculum.
It’s astonishing how quickly time seems to pass during my fourth year. Another month has flown by, and I’m just 80 or so days from graduation.
Since my last entry, midterms have been storming in non-stop this whole month of February. On average, the VM2 class has been tackling 2 exams per week this month, with quizzes and assignments sprinkled here and there.
Since our last visit, I have wrapped up a few more rotations and done a bit of traveling. I spent two weeks on the Clinical Pathology and Necropsy rotation. We spent the first half of each day evaluating blood smears, serum chemistries and complete blood counts. This is not my strong suit, but I was able to vastly improve my ability to perform and interpret these diagnostic tests. In the afternoon, we performed necropsies on deceased animals in the hopes of identifying the cause of their clinical signs. Altogether, it was a good two weeks, and I certainly didn’t mind being inside when the temperatures started dropping below zero degrees.
My name is Megan Nickel and I am a third-year veterinary student from Theresa, Wisconsin. I grew up on a dairy farm and completed my bachelor’s degree in animal science at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF) in 2015. During my time at UWRF, I worked in their animal welfare laboratory, at a local mixed animal practice, and at an emergency and referral center near the Twin Cities. Between my undergraduate degree and entry into veterinary school, I completed an animal welfare internship with Oscar Mayer/Kraft Foods.
It’s good to be back, even though I miss the California weather. This semester I am so excited for what is to come.
I am back in Ames for round two of second semester. Winter break seemed to have gone so very fast, but it was very nice to spend time with my family and friends and take advantage of the food galore during the holidays. Now that I am back in Ames, things have been rolling and picking up speed.
I continue to enjoy my time on rotations, and have completed two more food animal rotations since my last post. We are given a fair bit of flexibility with our schedule fourth year. I took one week of a two week block off, and used the other for a preceptorship. Having an off week was really nice, as it allowed me to spend time with family and friends over Thanksgiving, study for the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE), and ride along with two veterinarians.
It is that time of the year again, where I can rejoice and say “Yes! I did it! I crossed the finish line!” With the first semester of second year under my belt, I feel a sense of relief knowing that I gave it my best this semester and there are no more final exams to look forward to (or not look forward to).
I am writing from sunny Southern California! Now that the semester is over it’s nice to be back with family and friends to recuperate and get ready for the New Years! I’m so happy to be back with family especially since this will be my last “big” break before clinics that I get to spend at home! I can’t believe one semester stands between me and my last year at ISU!
Hello everyone! My name is Jackie Lee and I am so excited to share my experience at ISU CVM with you all. I am originally from Southern California. Moving to Iowa has become my first “out of state” schooling experience. I'm a third-year veterinary student and my focus and area of experience is with small animals. However, I plan to track mixed animal during my fourth year.
It has been a chilly start to November, with mighty winds and sprinkles of rain here and there, but we vet students keep holding strong as the semester is nimbly approaching its end. The last two weeks of October have been very busy for all of us, particularly when the second round of exams occurred right before Halloween.
Over the last month, I have taken Swine Production Management and Consulting, as well as Microbiology/Diagnostic Lab. I am now taking a course in Small Ruminant Medicine. I enjoyed the swine course, as it involved a lot of record analysis and discussion on swine production which I found interesting. The Microbiology and Diagnostic Lab rotation was interesting as well. The mornings were devoted to microbiology, where we isolated and identified bacteria from cases submitted to the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (VDL). The afternoons were then spent evaluating tissues and samples submitted to the VDL by veterinarians. This was a great experience, as it involved critically evaluating the submissions and making decisions regarding the best way to identify the pathogen causing disease. I am now on Small Ruminant Medicine, where we are learning about caring for goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas, and whitetail deer. I would have to say that these have been three of my favorite rotations so far!
Since the last post, I’ve completed Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, as well as Small Animal Anesthesia. Large animal medicine was a lot of fun. It was my first large animal rotation at ISU, and it was a great learning experience working on cattle, goats, and even alpacas. I scrubbed in for a calf surgery, worked on a bull with tetanus, helped diagnose meningeal worms in a goat, and much more.
Hello everyone, my name is Brent Sexton and I’m excited to have the opportunity to share my veterinary school experience with you! As this is my first blog post, I will introduce myself before I dig into my veterinary experiences.
I hope this entry finds you well. It was been quite a while since my last blog post. I went back to Los Angeles this summer. It was a wonderful experience, filled with relaxation, family time and work.
Wow, a month into work (post-graduation) and it has flown by! There have been way too many stories to tell, and every day seems to go by more quickly than the last.
Time is starting to move very, very quickly. It seems not too long ago that the semester was just beginning. At this point, I will be finished with finals and in clinics in 10 days. It’s extremely exciting, but also slightly terrifying.
It is that time of the year I have been waiting for … “dead week”. And no, it isn’t the week where all zombies are let loose across campus (although that would be fairly interesting). “Dead week” is the week before the week of finals. Essentially, club activities and meetings subside during dead week, giving us students more time to focus and expend every last bit of energy we can muster to get us through our official last week of lectures and labs.
Things have been very busy recently, and with every passing sunny and 70 degree day, it seems that regardless of whether my to-do list is completed or not, May 6thwill be here before I know it. On the academic side of things, the Equine Medicine rotation is what has been occupying my time. As we were right in the middle of foaling season, sick foals, sick foals, and more sick foals were the center of my universe for 14 days ( and maybe a colic case or twelve, but who was counting?).
Now back from break, the prospect of clinics is becoming more exciting as we only have ~40 days left in the classroom. I took this final spring break (yes, the actual last academic vacation) to relax and spend time in Los Angeles with friends. However, spring break was not just about relaxation. Los Angeles is my primary area of interest for living post-graduation, whether that be in an internship (hopefully) or working as a general practitioner. With that being said, it is important to find practices of interest for prospective internships during the third year of veterinary schoo
Hello again! Well folks, the last of the fourth-year preceptorship opportunities has come and gone for me; and it seems that I saved the best for last!
I just returned from central North Dakota in the heart of cattle country during the upswing of calving season. I was fortunate enough to make the trip with a classmate to help split expenses, and we had two busy weeks of alternating our on-call schedule so each of us would get enough sleep to keep pace with a very busy mixed animal practice!
I just had a week off for spring break and I decided to stay in Ames and recharge by catching up on sleep, hitting the gym and watching some of my favorite Netflix shows. I also took this opportunity to catch up on a new book I started reading called “Dark Matter.” It was so important for me to recharge and give my brain a mental break so that I can be ready to tackle the remaining six weeks of the semester. As a first-year veterinary student, you learn to take mental breaks and do something fun for yourself without feeling guilty about not studying every waking hour of everyday.
What an interesting Spring semester it has been thus far. I have to admit that my motivation has not been up to par with previous semesters, but it has been a little difficult to focus with 60-70 degree weather and clinics in ~70 days! Regardless, the most interesting classes this semester are Ophthalmology and Radiology (even though Radiology lives up to its reputation of making life a struggle bus, and I am clearly biased when it comes to Ophthalmology).
It is unbelievable how quickly the month of February has gone by. This is mainly due to the fact that exams have started taking place, and time flies when you’re too busy studying and catching up in class. In the case for VM1s, we’ve had at least one exam every week since the start of February. These exams are rolling and keeping us on our toes!
The exciting and stressful times continue for the fourth year students! At this point, many of my classmates (myself included) have accepted jobs and most have passed the national board examination ... two major hurdles to complete to successfully transition into becoming a practicing veterinarian. That’s the exciting part.
Here begins my final traditional “classroom” semester of veterinary school, and with a new year comes new resolutions, so I want to write on time management in vet school. However, I’m going to briefly mention some dry material first so you can get the idea of day-to-day life– just stick with me. My core courses this semester include: cytology, toxicology, large animal medicine, infectious disease and preventative medicine, veterinary law, ophthalmology (my love), and one of the more feared courses – radiology.
As a current first-year veterinary student at ISU, I am completely fascinated by the plethora of clubs and organizations the college has to offer. During my first semester, I joined various clubs, including the Ophthalmology Club, Pathology Club, Veterinary Business Management Association, student chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Emergency/ICU Club and the Radiology Club. I am currently one of the VM1 representatives for the Ophthalmology Club. Each club is unique and they provide so much hands-on experience and guest-speaker lunch meetings.
Hello again! Finally, the calendar has transitioned to a year that myself, along with my class mates have waited to lay our eyes on for a very long time. In 2017 we will graduate and see ourselves move onto starting the first segment of our young careers as veterinarians. This particular time for a fourth year is generally filled with a lot of excitement, mixed with a heavy dose of nervousness and suspense. Though we are preparing to walk across the stage in five short months, along with that act comes the challenge of finding and accepting a job, or searching for that perfect internship, in addition to moving you and your belongings to a different part of the county, state, or country.
My name is Jacky Peraza. I am a first-year veterinary student at Iowa State University. I have just completed my first semester. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, Calif. My family lives minutes away from downtown Los Angeles. I am the first member of my immediate family to attend college and graduate school. I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Merced, in molecular and cellular biology and a minor in psychology in 2013. After graduating from UC-Merced, I worked at the Animal Specialty and Emergency Center in West Los Angeles as a radiology technician, where I was exposed to various specialties within the veterinary profession, including oncology, radiology, cardiology, internal medicine, surgery and emergency/ICU departments.
Fall semester of my third year was one of the most fulfilling, as well as busy, semesters that I have had so far at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Following the infamously challenging second year and my summer as a veterinary scholar doing Ophthalmology research here at Iowa State, this past semester integrated all the components of my education that I’ve acquired, thus far. However, the pre-eminent experience this semester was embarking on the journey we fondly call junior surgery. Though many may think we just perform surgery, our program offers so much more.
Hey there again! Fourth year has been a whirlwind since my last entry. To start off, I have just completed the Field Services rotation. As a large animal-focused student, this rotation was a lot of fun, and it will be very similar to what I will be doing after I graduate. The Field Services rotation is an ambulatory service for food animals, and we spent the two weeks doing treatments on animals around central Iowa, as well as doing all of the treatments as needed at the Iowa State Dairy farm. This rotation was a nice change of pace, especially after completing many small animal rotations during the mid-summer and early fall.
Hey everyone! I’m Dan Breuer, a fourth-year student from Glen Haven, Wisconsin. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 2013. I am half-way through my fourth-year at the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine. My focus is primarily dairy production medicine, with a general focus on mixed animal medicine. That’s a little about me and my background, so now I’ll give you a little sneak peek into what is going on. Every student has a different experience, especially during the clinical fourth year, so please realize that I may have a much different perspective at this point in my education than many of my other peers do.