I’d say probably the hardest thing so far at vet school hasn’t been the material (yet, give it time), but integrating into a social structure. It was a big move to a school where I didn’t know anybody, to an apartment without a roommate, and it definitely made for a period of loneliness. I had a moment of realization that my family is 10 hours away, my boyfriend’s in Texas, my friends are scattered everywhere from Colorado to Scotland, and I felt both terrified and sad. I love home, maybe homesickness played in but the atmosphere at school is definitely different. All 66 of us spend 8:30-4:30 pretty much every day in a room together, so the desire to hang around and linger, at first, was limited.
So, what did I do?
First, I have made a valiant effort to try and learn most of my classmates’ names, and I’m getting there!
Second, one great thing the AVC does is give every incoming student “buddies.” We get a 4th, 3rd and 2nd year buddy, along with a faculty mentor. They’re there for support and advice, and just a good cheering up! There’s nothing like finding cupcakes and cookies in your locker after a long day. I had the opportunity to go to dinner with my faculty mentor and my 2nd year buddy, which was great for seeing a little bit of Charlottetown. It was awesome hearing some advice on classes and getting out there from my 2nd year buddy. It was also fantastic to hear from my faculty mentor, a small animal internist in the teaching hospital at AVC, about her career path. One thing I’ve learned from my fellow classmates is that people come from so many backgrounds. Some people have degrees in completely unrelated fields, or who took a couple of years off before applying, along with people who applied multiple times to vet schools. My take is that you never know where you might end up. And for those of you applying, or who have applied previously, if you want to be a vet, DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS! Getting back to my buddies, I also met my 3rd year buddy on an unrelated note which I will now discuss.
Third, I got a cat! Not many fellow students can say their buddies gave them a cat, but that’s what my 3rd year buddy did. Coming home to an empty apartment, like I said, was sad, and my buddy had posted about Tessa on Facebook. So I am now the proud owner of Tessa, a former stray who is beautiful and the most affectionate cat ever. I’ve never been a cat person, I’ll admit, but she gives me kisses and is currently sitting on my lap licking my face. On that note, she is not a very good study buddy and her affection in the wee hours of the morning is not appreciated, but her companionship definitely came at the right time.
And last but not least, I definitely have become involved in groups at the AVC. Like I mentioned previously, I joined a singing group which is a great break from my veterinary studies. Once a week we jam, have fun and just hang out, it’s awesome! I’ve also joined the Health Club (human, we need to take care of ourselves too!), Pathology Club, Integrative Medicine, Small Ruminant Club and Bovine Club, so far. I think that’s enough but each club has so many great things to get involved with. I got to do a great case study based on a CBC (complete blood count) at lunch with Pathology Club the other day, and get to participate in lambing season with Small Ruminant Club in the next couple of months. I’ll also be helping with a group called Cat Action where feral cats are captured and spayed/neutered, then re-released. There are so many things to do, and so little time!