It seems like only yesterday that we were walking through the doors of the veterinary school for the first time with wide eyes and nervous energy. Now, we are wrapping up our last course and starting to schedule our final time in veterinary school – clinics!
I will admit that it does seem sudden, yet relieving. Scheduling my clinical rotations has been something I have been looking forward to for some time. It is as if the responsibility is now being handed down to us, and we are ready for it. We are ready to work with patients and clients in a more formal manner that requires us to use all that we have learned to continue our education outside of the classroom.
Here at Cornell, we have to choose our clinical pathway that will dictate what rotations we participate in. In no way is this a binding contract that defines what type of veterinarian we will be; it is simply a way to fine tune our clinical experience so that we can participate in rotations that are related to our primary interests. We all still need to participate in core rotations so that we have all get the same base clinical experiences that every veterinary student needs. These core rotations include things like anesthesiology, ophthalmology, dermatology, small animal medicine and surgery, and large animal medicine and surgery. They provide us all with the proper perspective that allows us to move forward in our veterinary careers with a sufficient understanding of how the different branches of veterinary medicine work.
I ended up choosing the production animal pathway so that I could participate in certain rotations that were very important to me. I want to practice with all livestock species, so I made sure to get a lot of rotations that will let me gain the skills I need. I added theriogenology, ambulatory, and some equine specialty rotations to my list. I also left plenty of time for externships away from Cornell so that I can gain more experience in different settings.
It is important for us to remember that while our clinics are tracked with titles like production animal, small animal, zoo/wildlife, equine, etc., these titles really do not mean too much. At the end of the day, we will all graduate with the same Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. While it is nice to focus on an area of interest, we are all learning most of the same things as a group. All of us will be well-equipped to service any animal that we choose to once we are out of school.