It’s Monday morning. I’m a complete mess, running a little late, and I don’t have any idea where I took a wrong turn. I thought I knew how to get to the vet school without directions or a GPS, but I guessed wrong. At last I see the familiar roundabout ahead, which is right around the corner from the only parking lot where I know my car won’t get towed away. As I walk into the main lobby, I’m filled with jitters and anxiety as I look around at all the other faces staring back at me.
The day began with introductions by the Dean and other faculty. But then they had us divide into groups to perform team-bonding exercises. I have always been a lone wolf kind of person, so I was pretty nervous about having to put myself out there with new people. The next day we went to a camp in the hills of Virginia. Over the course of the day’s events, my nervousness turned to excitement. Whether it be trying to get everyone across a couple of wooden islands using two pieces of lumber or carrying each other through a massive spiderweb, these activities were designed to teach us the importance of teamwork in veterinary medicine. The day was made even better by a spontaneous wiffle ball game between first years, second years, and teachers. Each night, the upper classmen also held social gatherings at many pubs around the town to introduce themselves to us. Never before have I ever felt this welcomed or comfortable when starting something new. The first couple of days with my new classmates were some of the best I’ve had and definitely hint that veterinary school will be one of the highlights of my life.
A lot of schools and programs do these team-building activities. I will be completely honest by admitting that they haven’t been all that effective for me in the past. However, after my first week in Virginia, I understand why they are so crucial for veterinary school. Since veterinary school is so demanding, we will have to rely on others to help us get through it. Additionally, it is not possible for us all to know everything or be experts in all of the species/topics, so friendships formed now will also be important after graduation. I have definitely found my new family and am very excited to go through the next four years with them!