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Hard to believe it’s been an entire month since the last time we talked. Time flies when you’re having fun, and I’m managing to have quite a bit of fun, despite the rigors of veterinary school.
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.
After the large animal rotations, I moved on to anesthesia. I struggled with the anesthesia course my sophomore year because I was unfamiliar with many of the drugs. I feel far more comfortable with anesthesia now that I have had some firsthand experience.
While rotations keep veterinary students busy, it’s important to have a personal life, as well as pursue learning opportunities outside of school. This is a big topic, so I will cover it in two separate posts. This go-around, I’ll discuss some of the conferences I have attended, as well as why I attend them. Next month I’ll talk more about balancing school and social life.
Since starting veterinary school, I have attended nearly a dozen conferences and conventions. My first convention was the Ohio State Food Animal Symposium. The symposium had some great speakers and wetlabs and I met other students and veterinarians.
It is easy to get caught up in the grind of veterinary school. You take 20+ credits and always have another test or project hanging over your head. Attending professional conferences allows you the opportunity to get a brief break from classes (although you are still responsible for the material you missed), learn about topics you are interested in, and meet people who are involved with the industries you aspire to join. It provides opportunities to connect with veterinarians and set up summer internships, preceptorships/externships, or even job opportunities.
Many of these conferences also have student poster and presentation sessions. I submitted research abstracts to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians the past three years. The abstracts are the culmination of research projects I have completed while in veterinary school. Many students conduct or assist with research projects while in veterinary school, as it is a great way to learn more about certain topics, work with ISU clinicians or other veterinarians, and contribute to our understanding of veterinary medicine.
There are few things I have enjoyed while in veterinary school as much as attending veterinary conferences. I have learned a tremendous amount while attending these conferences, but also made some great connections. These connections include both veterinarians, and fellow veterinary students – some of whom I have become close friends. In my opinion, the benefits of attending professional conferences far exceed the hassles of making up for the missed classes, although it should be a topic you’re interested in.
If you are a veterinary student, or a prospective student, I highly encourage you to consider attending at least one convention while in school. If you are the parent of a veterinary student or prospective student and they state they are interested in attending a conference, please encourage them.
I’m trying to be brief but I don’t think I’m doing a terribly good job, so I’ll say goodbye before I drag this out any longer. I hope you have a great day and have enjoyed this blog.