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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
It’s no secret that the road to getting into vet school is…..rough. Focusing on your grades, trying to gain animal experience, being involved, and also having a social life. It seems almost impossible to do it all. Then one day, you get the letter or the call and it was all worth it because you are going to be a veterinarian! It’s almost an overwhelming feeling of relief that everything you have worked for the past 4+ years is all of a sudden coming true. The excitement almost doesn’t feel real until you get here. But now you are here, and then what? The road doesn’t get smoother, but it is different. You are now surrounded by people who once all had the same dream as you and now you are all living it. Up until this point, you were competing with these same people for a spot in veterinary school, but now they are your peers and the relationship is completely different.
Well just as I started to really get into the swing of vet school, just about everything changed. Like everyone else, I would have never expected this to happen. I never thought that I would be taking online classes to earn my DVM degree and I never thought that I’d be living over 1,000 miles away from my family during a time like this. But what can I say, that’s life.