As my first summer in vet school comes to an end, one thing is clear: it is so easy to forget what you learned during the previous year. While I’ve taken some time away from the books, I’ve grown increasingly anxious about the semester ahead and wonder how I’ll be able to pick up where I left off. Participation in clinical activities has helped me regain the “student mentality” and put things back into perspective.
Recently I volunteered at a spay/neuter clinic. The volume of cats that we cared for provided me the opportunity to practice physical exam skills, anesthesia monitoring, surgical preparation, and postoperative care. While I’ve worked in general practice clinics before, getting some experience in shelter medicine was great. It gave me some perspective on caring for a population of animals verses an individual. Overall, the spay/neuter clinic was a great community service.
In addition to the cats, the professional outreach was a rewarding aspect of the clinic. I had the opportunity to connect with vets in my area and a student that is working toward applying to vet school. I remember my journey to vet school vividly, and nothing gives me more satisfaction than helping others reach their goals. As a vet student, it is rewarding to be able to interact with doctors on a higher level of understanding than I had before, and I enjoy the fact that I am not too far removed to forget the hardships I encountered to pursue a veterinary education. Furthermore, I feel that engaging in community activities is important, because it has helped me realize my place as the interface between my community and medicine. No matter where you are in your professional journey, I’d encourage you to explore service opportunities in vet med in your community.