The last two months of clinics have been a breeze. Part of it is that we have finished our core rotations (i.e. all the rotations required to graduate), so these elective rotations we picked feature things we have a special interest in. For example, a group of my equine-oriented classmates spent several weeks at a Saddlebred breeding farm, learning more about basic neonatal foal care. Exotics-oriented classmates post pictures of the varied species—avian, reptile, amphibian, mammalian—seen during their time with the exotic service (pictures posted with client permission, of course). For my part, I’ve absolutely adored my time spent at a low-income, low-cost clinic, as well as extra time spent on my school’s ophthalmology and internal medicine services.
Another huge reason I feel so at ease now is that my work-life balance is finally becoming a bit more reasonable. I picked some elective rotations that have weekends off, and even on rotations that require me to put in the weekend time, as an elective student, I’m not responsible for covering on-call shifts like the core students are. All in all, it means I’ve actually have full days off to do normal people things like sleep in, spend more time cook instead of microwave meals and watch the newest superhero movie on opening weekend. (It also doesn’t hurt that I took a week of vacation to visit my parents, best friend, and brother, and then spent a second week basking in an early spring on a beach in North Carolina.)
But what I’m most excited about is that I finally feel confident. Not only do I finally have a grasp on the hospital’s inner workings, but I feel rock-steady with my physical exam and assessment skills. I have a basic treatment outline for pretty much every situation now, and I feel more and more confident explaining difficult concepts to owners.
A year ago, even just four months ago, I honestly doubted whether I would ever get to this point before graduation. But here I am, ready to take off the training wheels at last.