1/16 a Doctor

We all made it through 8 weeks of veterinary school! That’s halfway through our first semester, we are 1/16 of the way there!!

The first 8 weeks of veterinary school is quite hard to explain. You’ve been thrown into a whole new world and the train stops for no one! This meme basically sums up our lives:

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One very positive thing I can say is that the amount of studying time I do vs the grade I receive seems a lot more correlated than it did in undergrad (and even my master’s), so that’s really nice. For the most part, I actually enjoy learning the material, our teachers do a very good job of giving clinical relevance for everything we are learning. There are a lot of really cool things CSU does to support their first-year students, but alas, I cannot talk about them too much or else I’d spoil the surprise for those of you who may end up coming here. I’m halfway through this semester and while this has been a lot of hard work I don’t feel particularly overwhelmed, there are definitely days I feel that way but I usually get a pretty good handle on it.

My advice to anyone going to vet school: get into a good routine early and adjust as needed. I definitely made the mistake, those first couple weeks of just studying for a little bit after class, and thus felt really behind. I had to do a lot of catching up for those first exams (luckily I got caught up just in time for the exams), but that’s a really crappy feeling so avoid it!

CSU

That’s all I have to report that’s school related. Everything else is going OK, I definitely can’t wait for the horses to be back up here but that won’t be until at least this summer, so I’ve been making trips down to Denver to visit my remaining horse, Jamaica. She’s been doing good and looks a bit plump and out-of-shape.

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Orientation and the First Few Weeks

I’ve been somewhat of a recluse since school started. I wish I could tell you all vet school is easy but that would be an utter lie. I spend roughly 30% of my time in dissection and feeling like I have no clue as to what is really going on; trying to find things on the Virtual Canine Anatomy program we use and then hunting for it on the dog in front of me.

What I can say is though veterinary school is a lot of work it is a blast! I’m very happy with my classmates and love how many people came out yesterday for a beer after our very first exam (more on that later)!

CSU does a different orientation than most schools, we have a few days of death by powerpoint but we also go up to CSU’s mountain campus for basically a class camping trip. I had a blast, we did ropes courses, many more powerpoints and group activities to help you get to know your classmates before we are thrown into classes together. It was really great and I think helped a lot of my classmates (myself included) to prepare for the oncoming semesters and come to terms with the reality; we finally got in!

Once orientation week is over though, school comes barreling at you like a deranged llama. I was sitting in anatomy class on the third day of classes when the sheer volume of information hit me and I realized that my life would now consist of studying and sitting in class basically all day. I do what I can to keep up, and I do study outside of class a lot but I’ve just survived my first exam and while I hope to continue to improve on the grade scale I have realized that these are just more classes and more exams. There is more information on each exam and the information comes at you faster than a machine gun fires bullets but you can make it through with a lot of work and a bit of luck. I always feel behind on studying since information comes so rapid-fire, but I still have found somewhat of a balance.

Outside of studying for the exam this past week, I took all of my large animals (excluding one horse, Jamaica) down to Arizona for safe keeping through the winter. I brought the horses and cows up with me from Texas, found a place to board but had to come to terms with moving them since we couldn’t find a place to rent with property, the boarding facility was 30 minutes from campus and where I lived (precious study time) and shelter for them during winter would be limited. So the decision was made and I scoured my schedule to find an appropriate time to move them before winter hit, labor day weekend was my last shot since it was a three day weekend and the next break I would get would be over Thanksgiving. Moving the horses made it very difficult to study for that first exam, but I know that it was MUCH better to be moving them now, at the beginning of the semester, vs somewhere in the middle. Luckily Jamaica is still here in Denver with a friend so I will at least get some horse time this semester. I’ve only been separated from the horses one other time, when I moved to Colorado for my undergrad it was three months before they followed, so being away from them for this long I’m sure will be difficult but they are in good hands for the winter as my grandfather is watching them. The trip to Arizona, despite taking away from study time, was great. I was able to see a couple old friends that I almost never see due to finances and distance, the drive back was an adventure as my truck decided then would be a good time to randomly freak out but we made it home and another week went by.

 

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Are we there yet? -Reveille on the trip to AZ

 

In summary, vet school is difficult. I’m not sure that CSU is any more difficult than any other school but I really enjoy the sense of community our class has and our professors are really there to help us learn. Most of them are very animated and make those long hours of sitting in the same chairs bearable. Added bonus: we have “cubes” which are desks, everyone has one assigned and so you always have study space you can go to.

Countdown to Vet School

I’ve been in Colorado since the start of the summer (June 1). I moved back up here after completing my MS at Texas A&M, I subleased through the summer and boarded my horses about 30 minutes North of the school. Right now I’m in between housing as I needed to vacate my sublease before my lease for my new place begins. I’m excited to be all moved into the home where I will spend my first year of veterinary school.

This summer I took a job working at an equestrian barn where we do several summer camps teaching children to ride. I’ve been out in the sun hanging out with horses every day, it’s been great but the anticipation of orientation is definitely setting in; I’m so excited!

I also resumed riding along with one of my favorite veterinarians this summer, Dr. Wheeler. It has been quite the reunion and it has been great hearing him introduce me as a veterinary student! I’ve learned even more this summer from him!

In addition, I’ve also started meeting some classmates as they have been trickling in since the beginning of summer. We have gone out to breweries in Fort Collins and went tubing down the Poudre River. We are all anxiously awaiting the journey ahead!

Until next time!

Erika

Poudre River float!
Poudre River float group!

 

Tips for getting in to veterinary school

Applying to veterinary school is a very exciting time in every aspiring DVMs life! It’s a great milestone, you’ve either finished a degree, prereqs or gotten experience hours finished up. Or maybe you’re on your way there and need some tips for getting in!

There are many, many things that each veterinary school considers during the selection process so this list is by no means exhaustive; there are things we don’t even know!

  1. Achieve a good GPA. While you can get into veterinary school with a less than perfect GPA a good one will help you tremendously and so GPA is #1 on this list!
  2. Be involved in shadowing, volunteering with veterinarians and any other hands on experience involving animals you can get! You should keep an accurate record of your hours, what you did and what type of animals you saw. This will make your application so much easier to fill out! Also, keep good record of contact information for anywhere you volunteered or worked.
  3. Get involved in the community! Having a diverse background is really helpful and will make you a more well-rounded candidate. The selections committee will want to see that you have pursuits outside of vet med, this includes school clubs. Bonus: When you’re a vet these outside pursuits will probably help you stay sane!
  4. Apply to more than one school, if possible. One tip for getting in is casting as wide of a net as you can. Research schools and find out what they are looking for in a candidate, this will help you select which schools to apply for. Check out their websites, most of them have a page dedicated to what they look for. I’ve used several methods over my 4 applications and this year I went with schools that took a more holistic approach, and now I’m starting vet school! (If you want help/advice please message/comment!)
  5. This goes along with #4, make sure you have the right pre-requisite classes for each school. If you are missing a pre-req but took a similar course E-MAIL THE SCHOOL. Don’t be afraid to contact a school you are interested in, they have teams dedicated to answering these questions. ASK!
  6. Write an awesome personal statement, and have as many people read it as possible. This is important, don’t just have vet affiliated people read it, everyone who reads it should come away thinking you absolutely NEED to be a vet!
  7. Have good recommendations. Don’t just ask anyone to write you a letter, make sure the people who are writing your recommendations know you well enough to talk about your talents and skills. I recommend at least one vet, a college professor/advisor (or both!) and an employer if you’ve had a job through school.
  8. Make sure all transcripts make it to VMCAS or TMDSAS early, when I applied this year the first thing I did was request transcripts. On my third application one school threw out my app because I requested transcripts about two weeks before the deadline and my school didn’t get it sent on time! Same goes for GRE scores, send them as soon as you can.
  9. Submit your application as early as you can. I don’t think this gives you an advantage for many schools but some do start looking at applications as soon as they come in, and schools like Ross and St. George have rolling admission, so they start interviewing as soon as 2 weeks after you submit!
  10. If you get an interview, don’t wear heels! This won’t affect your admission (as far as I know) but most schools have a tour before or after interviews and you don’t want to miss something because your feet hurt!
  11. If you get an interview, be yourself! If you try to edit yourself you will probably seem uncomfortable or unconvincing; it’s always best just to be yourself! The school wants a good fit and you should too!
  12. If you get multiple interviews, go to as many as you can! You never know what school will be the one to accept you. I was accepted to CSU out-of-state and they are known to be “harsh” on out-of-state students sometimes because they take so few.
  13. MMI interviews: if you have MMI interviews I recommend googling some practice questions (even ones not vet related). You can’t guess the content of the questions you will see, but you can get comfortable with talking for 5-6 minutes.

14. The final tip: if Vet Med is really what you want to do in life, don’t give up if you are          not accepted on your first or even second try. It is extremely competitive to get into            a school, it says nothing about what kind of vet you will be if you have to keep                    trying.

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“The difference between success and failure is, most often, not quitting.” -Walt Disney



It’s about to go down.

Hi everyone!

I have some exciting news to share! I have been talking with some friends and others via the interwebs, and we will be adding more students and hopefully much more content throughout veterinary school.

Not only will you be getting posts from us (myself and drgraceyk) here at CSU but we will have students from other veterinary schools posting as well. So if you are looking for a candid look at a school you’re thinking about attending I hope you can find it here, or if you just want to hear about the struggle that is veterinary school.

We will also be sharing links to other blogs and hoping to do some collaborative work. Some of us are already in school while the rest of us will be starting up this year!

We are really excited to bring more perspectives to the page and hope you’ll enjoy reading about our antics!

For your reading pleasure here are some of my favorite veterinary memes:

Now for a short update on my life:

My Master’s is almost complete! I take my finals in just under two weeks, which I’m having difficulty getting the motivation to study for (my backpack sits in the corner of this room and I occasionally glance at it and feel guilty). Though I’m doing pretty well in all my classes right now, but I would like to get the elusive 4.0 as I know it probably will never happen again.

A couple weeks ago, I got a concussion falling off of my mare (Sassy) which hasn’t happened for a very long time, but alas it does happen, sometimes, when your horse uses you as a yard dart. I was riding bareback and took a turn too fast (whoops), though that hasn’t happened in like 6 years either; but it happens. I’m probably (finally) going to invest in a helmet, I’ve spent a lot of money on this brain of mine!

Soon after that, I got a pretty nasty cold which I am still recovering from. My cat, Bucket, also had to go to the vet to find struvite crystals in his urine so he is now on a special diet to control that.

Now I’m just waiting for Sassy to come into heat (which she has started) so she can go up to Weatherford, TX to be bred.

The ending to my MS is nothing short of exciting, but we are on the home stretch! Then it’s off to Colorado!

How getting accepted changes things…

As I’m sure you’ve read I was accepted to veterinary school!

I never really thought about it but things do change once you’ve been accepted, and I’m not just talking about the giant weight that’s lifted off your shoulders.

One thing I’ve noticed is the veterinarians I volunteer with are so excited for me! One of them has lamented to me about how A&M should have accepted me so I could stay and help out at the clinic during breaks. Which would have been awesome! Talk about reinforcing the material.

I’ve also been allowed to do a lot more procedures at the clinic, as the doctors I work with feel I won’t get as much hands on experience as they think I should. This has really benefitted me as the techs have redoubled their efforts to help me learn to draw blood (I’m great on large dogs, not so much with the small). I’ve also been able to assist in some spays and neuters; which I’m sure will be helpful!

I’m about halfway through my classes for the last semester of my MS; I’m so excited to be done! Then I have to find a place to live and haul all the animals back to Colorado!

Second Acceptance

In late December I received an email from State University and I interviewed the last weekend (Feb 17, 2017). I’m not going to talk too much about it, because I was waitlisted. But, I really enjoyed the feel of the town and the veterinary school itself. I’m really interested in large animal and their case load was pretty good. I also liked what I saw on the tour of the veterinary teaching hospital. It’s all connected, compared to CSU, it made it seem like it would be easy to get from small animal to large in a flash. Another thing I liked is that their lecture halls are on the same campus as the vet teaching hospital; whereas CSU you’re on main campus your first year (or two?).  They are also breaking ground on a new vet teaching hospital, so if you’re interested in MSU I’d definitely recommend checking it out! Four of us from A&M were interviewed, two were accepted and the rest of us waitlisted; Aggies represented!

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Three of the four people I know from A&M that interviewed at MSU. Myself and two friends interviewed the same weekend.
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Photo of MSU campus from a parking garage

 

My second acceptance came much earlier than expected, I was told I’d hear back on February 15th and I actually got an email on the second from CSU (which went to my spam mail, again!) that there was a status update on my application. Of course, I panicked thinking it was a rejection just two weeks after the interview but I was very pleasantly surprised when I had an admission’s offer!  I was sitting in class and I actually had to leave so I could call everyone and tell them the great news.

It was actually really strange to withdraw my application from the waitlists of Iowa, Western, and Michigan. However, it was even harder emailing SGU to tell them I was relinquishing my seat for the incoming class; they will always be the first school to give me the opportunity to continue my education and fulfill this dream.

The most exciting part is that CSU was my number one choice going into this. Which is why I completed my undergraduate coursework there. The in-state tuition at A&M would have been nice, though.

I plan to continue updating this blog; follow me through orientation and the next four years!