At UPenn, first through third years get a winter break from about mid-December until the beginning of January (quite literally the beginning — I’m talking January 2.) Most people are so burnt out from cramming for finals during the beginning weeks of December that the rest of the month turns into hibernation.
Of course, then there are the students who just can’t stop “doing.” Some friends in my class have taken this opportunity to fly to different countries and hone their clinical veterinary skills. Still others choose to visit friends and family in their hometowns, and a good handful spend their time in Philadelphia, enjoying the sites that inevitably get overlooked in the thick of it all.
This winter break, in direct opposition to last year’s winter break, I chose to keep myself busy. For me, it was not a matter of IF I should be doing something active this break, but rather WHAT I was going to be doing. Luckily, I was able to get in contact with an amazing equine hospital in my area and was able to do a weeklong externship there.
It proved to be just what I needed. It reinforced things I thought I purged from my brain the moment I walked out of the exams, in addition to just being an enjoyable experience. From scrubbing into surgeries after l had learned the appropriate technique just a month prior, to assisting with treatments during all hours of the day, I had an amazing time.
While for me it was important to stay extremely busy this break, I know that others prefer to enjoy one of their last winter breaks on a beach somewhere in Florida. I learned a lot, for sure, but sometimes I wonder if working on my tan might have been just as enjoyable…