Friday, May 6, 2011

4 Years in Reflection

Clearly, I like lists I am a type A vet student. As the week of graduation quickly approaches, I wanted to reflect on the top 10 things that have happened to me over the past 4 years.
  1. Traveled to China, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Scotland and England, and Spokane, Washington.
  2. Attended many veterinary conferences: North American Veterinary Conference, Merck Summer Scholars Conference at Michigan State, VBMA National Meeting, SAVMA Symposium at Ohio State, VVMA conference in Roanoke, VA.
  3. Rescued my dog on a Humane Society RAVS trip.
  4. Learned how to handle wild raptors, songbirds, and mammals.
  5. Lived alone.
  6. Lived in Blacksburg, VA, a special place indeed.
  7. Became a crossfit junkie.
  8. Discovered rock climbing and kayaking.
  9. Created and developed lifelong friendships.
  10. Became a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
There are countless other moments that occurred over the past 4 years that have changed my life and shaped who I am. I have become stronger and wiser, while remaining humble and ignorant of many things left to learn. I left a lifeless career to enter a bright, challenging career with the bills to prove it.

Thanks vet school. Thanks to all my friends for their endless support. Thanks to my amazing 3 cats and wonderful dog. Thanks to all my teachers. Thanks to myself for persevering and finding the strength to get through the 4 years. Lastly and most importantly, thanks to my husband. He never wavered when I wanted to quit and drive 500+ miles a week to support me. I cannot wait to support you on your journey of higher education.

This blog entry marks the end of life of a veterinary student. I hope to create a new blog entitled "Life of a Veterinary Intern." Thank you followers for making me a part of your journeys. You can always email me with questions or for inspiration. 7+ years in the making and I can tell you, anythign is possible if you are passionate and work hard enough.

Wildlife Center of VA

This rotation presented challenges and amazing learning opportunities, much like my last few blocks of vet school. I realized how much I have committed to memory about small animals and how little I know about birds, other mammals and wildlife management. After 3 weeks, however, I can collect blood from turtles, vultures, foxes, owls, raptors and songbirds. Today I collected blood from a painted turtle (super hard because you can’t see a vein) and a Turkey vulture both on the first attempt. I am now familiar with radiographs of these species as well. I learned how to identify baby birds, how to bandage broken wings, and when to try and when to euthanize wildlife based on injury. I absolutely loved the cultivated learning environment. Every single case was made into a learning experience by the staff in a hands-on fashion. Kudos to an excellent wildlife teaching hospital.

The first 10 days were extremely challenging, but I persevered and the reward has been invaluable. I am equipped to answer wildlife and exotics questions from my clients. I am no longer afraid of handling birds; in fact I love birds. This block in many ways was similar to my equine block. I went in fearful and apprehensive and left loving it. However, wildlife medicine has its downsides. Many animals cannot be released and are euthanized and many days it feels like you kill more than treat. On the upside to that, for many animals you stop their suffering and there is no client or financial decisions to interfere with the medicine.

The past 3 weeks have again confirmed that I love emergency and critical care; it's where my passion lies. I watched a blockmate who truly is passionate about wildlife and realized that is exactly how I feel about emergency. I am so thankful I had the chance to explore different areas of vet med over the past 4 years: Research, government work, lab animal medicine, wildlife medicine, organized veterinary medicine and many others. It is ironic that all of my exploration led me back to emergency medicine. We'll see how much I still love it after the next year of hard hours. I am ready...bring it on!