Second Semester of First Year…

What can I say about the spring semester of my first year at CSU? It was…incredibly difficult. The material isn’t unmanageable but the volume is crazy. They say veterinary and medical school is like trying to drink from a fire hose, and this semester really felt like that. We averaged 2 exams a week, which doesn’t sound so bad until you’re taking two exams every week for the whole semester. I never felt like I could catch up, I was continuously treading water to just keep from drowning.

This past semester was filled with the following classes:

  • Foundations (1 credit) this is basically our skills class
  • Neurobiology (4 credits)
  • Nutrition (2 credits)
  • Bacteriology/Mycology (3 credits)
  • Parasitology (2 credits)
  • Virology (2 credits)
  • Biology of disease (5 credits)
  • Food animal (2 credits)
  • Large animal dissection (elective, 1 credit)

This came to a total of 22 credits. Which I think is par for the course in vet school, it was just a lot of little classes compared to a few very credit heavy classes last semester.

I felt like this meme applied to my life this entire semester. In addition to all the classes that is vet school, after some serious burnout from last semester I have also been trying to strike that life-vet school balance which is still elusive. However, I survived this semester, so it’s not all bad. I’ve also been told that the second semester of first year is the “worst” semester for many students studying at CSU, I hope that holds true.


This summer holds a lot of exciting opportunities, I have to do some case studies for school (summer capstone) and study for an exam on the first day back, called the capstone exam. It’s supposed to cover material from all of first-year and passing it is required to move on in the curriculum. While I could talk until I’m blue in the face about why I disagree with having this exam at CSU when no other veterinary school has anything like that; I’m just going to move on! This summer I will be doing an externship for 2 weeks at Pioneer Equine in Oakdale, California. Once that is completed I will be spending most of the remaining portion of the summer doing an externship with a cowhorse trainer in South Dakota. This is more of a personal project for me than veterinary experience and, right now, a break from veterinary related activities will be great! Check back for updates! I’m sure there will be many stories to tell on these shenanigans!

In addition to everything else, I found out I’m pregnant during my second semester. Luckily I won’t be due in the middle of the fall semester (my worst fear). I was really hoping that I wouldn’t be due until winter break, but alas that’s not the case. I’m due over Thanksgiving break, right before finals (ugh). Though it could be a lot worse, and next semester’s schedule is relatively lighter so should allow for a bit more wiggle room to figure things out. I’m hoping everything goes smoothly and I can complete finals on time and then have winter break to get used to the whole parenthood and vet school thing! Definitely going to be a steep learning curve, and next level difficulty when it comes to vet school. Though, I feel like I have a really good support system going into this, so everything should work out with time. 🙂


Term 1: Complete

This winter break has been the most unproductive month of my life and it’s been absolutely wonderful. I’m really pleased with my grades for my first semester of vet school, and that has motivated me to start applying to different summer programs that will broaden my veterinary horizons. I’ve looked into different opportunities at local zoos, community outreach programs, and animal hospitals. There are so many branches of veterinary medicine, it’s hard to pick just one thing to gain experience in. So instead, I’m casting a wide net and seeing what comes up. Its somewhat scary to think about the fact that I only have two summers left before I start clinics, but I’ve already learned so much in my first semester and I am excited for what comes next.

I’m leaving to go back to school in a couple of days and I have mixed feelings. I love my classes and the challenges that they bring. At the same time, I’m not ready to go back to the island. I get incredibly homesick. Life is just a lot easier to manage in the States when you have a car, water pressure, a dishwasher and all the other little luxuries you don’t appreciate until they’re gone. It may sound petty, but when you’re studying all day on Saturday for a big test, you really don’t want to take two hours of your time to walk to the grocery store and back in the 90 degree heat! (I can’t afford my own car) If you have applied to SGU and are granted an interview, you will be asked a lot about how well you cope with low-key chaos, international travel and other such bumps in the road. Think about your answers carefully before coming. When you come to Grenada for school, you are embracing a lifestyle. It’s wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but it may not be for everyone. SGU is a great vet school and you have the option of completing your clinical year pretty much anywhere which is really cool and an opportunity unique to the Caribbean schools. We make great doctors and isn’t that all that really matters in the end?

Speaking of school, my friend and I have been thinking of ways to keep our heads above the water throughout the whole semester. Last term, I found that my brain just collapsed right before the finish line and I performed poorly on some of my finals. A handful of these turned my A’s into B+’s which was so frustrating! As I said, I’m still really pleased with these grades because I did my absolute best, but a small part of me keeps thinking there must be a way to prevent these end-of-the-year brain meltdown episodes. I’m going to test out some study strategies this semester and if they work, I will be happy to share them with you.

As a parting gift, I leave you Pickett’s face




Winter Break update!

So I survived finals of semester 1! It was a crazy ride, and honestly, I feel like the first set of finals was the scariest part for me. All the exams are difficult but finals are the only time I have exams in all my classes back-to-back.

The first semester had it’s own set of challenges, getting used to veterinary school (sitting in class ALL day) and getting used to the workload is probably the biggest. I also had to adjust to having all of the horses away from me, but over winter break I was able to go pick up one. Plans to move the others (and the cows!) are being made, but so far poorly executed. I’m just not used to them being gone, and not being able to ride at whim. However, I’ve filled my time with clubs. I’m a member of SCAAEP, SCAABP, and Small Ruminants, in SCAAEP I’m also the first year representative. This has been great, but also trying at times. I’ve had to do a lot of last-minute learning with the wetlab I put on and now helping organize the symposium to be held in February this year.

I also work at the veterinary textbook store, which I’ve learned a lot about over this past semester. I’ve never been one to sit idle but I also procrastinate, so I’m always moving on something that I’ve put off!

Winter break was definitely needed, my motivation tanked after the third round of exams. It’s good to be kind of idle sometimes, I still have a few things to do for work and clubs over break but not having classes has recharged my batteries (a bit).

This next semester is rumored to be either the hardest or one of the hardest (depending on who you talk to) in our curriculum. So I’m planning to work heavily on my organization skills and to stop procrastinating as much (but let’s be real, that’s been a goal for awhile now).

Bring on Semester 2!


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:


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!


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.

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.


Fall 2017 2
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.

Hello world

Hey there everyone,

Today’s introduction post comes from the heart of the Midwest (or so they keep telling me), where the summers are short and muggy and the winters make you think your face will fall off: Minnesota! My name is Channing and I’m a third-year veterinary student at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Joking aside, this is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever lived, the people are lovely, and my campus is small and fairly quiet. The UMN CVM is on the St. Paul campus, the cute, rural feeling little sibling of the massive east and west bank Minneapolis campuses. This is nice for those of you that don’t want the distraction of dealing with heavy traffic, congested walkways, and of course, undergrads.

As a third year, we have moved from the main building of our program and into the beautiful Ben Pomeroy Center, an old barn and historic part of the vet school that has been converted into a cafe, administration, and classrooms for third year classes.

If you have any questions about the University of Minnesota, let me know, otherwise, I’ll leave off of it for now.

I’m originally from southern Arizona, but I’m told I was simply born in the wrong place (I tend to agree), and moved to Fort Collins, Colorado after graduating from high school for my bachelors, and later my masters degree. After living there and going to school for five years, I was accepted in to the DVM program of the University of Minnesota, so I packed up my life and moved even further away from my family to make a home here in “South Canada”. I haven’t looked back, and neither should the rest of you when the time comes!

I have two amazing black cats, Tyki (top), a 6 year old male black DSH, and Asia (bottom), a 5 year old female black DSH, both of whom are rescues. They’re the sweetest little things when Tyki is being a jerk, and you will hear of them frequently.

I also have a two year old female blue heeler/Australian Shepherd cross named Tesla (left), and I partially have an 11 month old male black standard poodle named Jarvis (right, and he’s really my boyfriend’s dog, but I watch him and take care of him a lot). Cool fact about Tesla: she’s actually the daughter of Erika’s two dogs, Ursa and Carbon, and two of her brothers, Einstein and Ludo, are with my two brothers. Talk about keeping it all in the family!

Lastly, I have a little devil of a cornsnake, he’s three years old and his name is Ragnarök, or Ragnar for short. He’s the first reptile I’ve ever had, and he’s kind of a jerk, but he’s real cute when he behaves. The second is my boyfriend’s ancient cornsnake, Aggie. She’s huge, and she’s a diva, but is also a snake shaped puppy sometimes.

Aside from that, my life revolves around vet school, with side notes of video games, my boyfriends, and mental/emotional breakdowns!

I have a strong interest in diagnostic imaging, research, and teaching, so I plan to pursue a residency after graduating from vet school, and probably a PhD after that. My ultimate goal is to either go into academia, where I can actively practice, do research, and teach all at the same time, or failing that, I’d like to go into industry where I can research and spend extra time with outreach projects.

In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m a small animal person, but I have a very important message for all of you, especially small animal people. Just because you want to track one way or the other, doesn’t mean that the rest of the species are unimportant. Small animal veterinarians are the best link between agriculture and the public, and it’s important for all of us as experts (or future experts) in the field to work together to provide the best information possible to the general population. I will probably talk about this more later, so be prepared.

I believe I’m the last of us to be starting classes for the year, so I will wish all of you luck in your classes, be they undergrad, post-grad, or vet school courses!


Hello and Welcome to my First Blog Post!

Hello! My name is Victoria and I am going into my third year of veterinary school at St. George’s University (btw if you saw the earlier SGU post I can definitely confirm that it is beautiful here!)

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This will be my final year on the wonderful island of Grenada which while I am excited for my upcoming clinical year, I am sad to be nearing the end of my time here. You see, at SGU a vet student will spend three years here in Grenada and then for the fourth year we go to other vet schools for our clinical rotation. If anyone is curious I can elaborate on why that is in another post and talk about the process of applying for fourth year schools.

I currently have a cat that I adopted my first year of vet school and his name is SS Marmu


His name is actually an acronym for the nerves of the brachial plexus which would be Suprascapular, Subscapular, Musculocutaneous, Radial, Median, and Ulnar nerves. It was one of my favorite parts to dissect in anatomy lab so I decided I would name my cat after that. I also have a foster dog named Luca who is a local dog that ended up with one of SGU’s vet student organizations called Spay and Neuter Pothounds (SNP).     20993090_10154705792662026_6331983695900017224_n

The local dogs here are called pothounds and are often tan, medium sized, with short fur but you can get a huge variety of shapes, colors, and sizes due to all the different breeds that have ended up in Grenada. For example, a former student from SGU DNA tested her dog and it came back as 75% Rhodesian Ridgeback!

After veterinary school, I am seriously thinking about becoming a bovine veterinary though I am undecided on if I want to focus on beef or dairy. I did have the opportunity to work with a dairy veterinarian last summer and it was a blast! I really enjoyed working with the cows, I find the industry fascinating, and I love farmers. They were all such down to earth very practical people. I have spent time in small animal clinics like any vet student but I have found that I enjoy large animal medicine more. However, I have two more years of veterinary school to go and a little over two years ago I had no idea I’d be going to school in a foreign country and loving it. So, I don’t know what the future holds but I am looking forward to finding out!

If anyone has questions about SGU or the island feel free to leave a comment and I’ll answer the best I can. I love going to veterinary school here because it’s so different from anywhere else you can go to vet school. It certainly presents its own unique opportunities and challenges. Animal welfare and care is very different from the US and because of that students here see so many things that either never or rarely occur in back home. Also, not going to lie, I LOVE the weather here. Many students think it is too hot but I think it’s great and I am not looking forward to going back to places that have more than just a wet and dry season.

So, keep an eye for posts from yours truly in the future! I’ll be writing more about living in Grenada and very soon I’ll be writing a post about going to Nicaragua this summer to spay and neuter dogs and cats. Until next time!