Being admitted into OVC is the most incredible feeling in the entire world for any young student dreaming to one day become a veterinarian. But one thing many students, myself certainly included, don't consider in that happy moment is the immense, enormous, near impossible amount of hard work ahead of them in the program. Long days in the classroom followed by even longer hours in the library, huddled over books and laptops full of seemingly endless information. A vet student's new dream becomes the day they finish their third year (phase 3) final exam marathon and can finally, FINALLY, enter their clinical year. This is the year they can at last leave the depths of the classroom/library, don their scrubs, lab coats, stethoscopes, steel toed boots, and coveralls, and best of all - interact with real animals every single day!
Like any vet student, this is the year I have been looking forward to the most. For people who don't know me, my name is Justine Forbes and I am a fourth year student at the OVC. Though born and raised as a city girl in Burlington, Ontario, I've always been a rural girl at heart, dreaming of the day I can have my own hobby farm. I currently live in Cambridge with my boyfriend Kyle, our bratty cat Malibu, our little rat Bean, my lovely python Aztec, and about a million spiders who seem to love our quaint house.
I'm incredibly excited to be taking part in the externship blog project this summer. During my time at OVC, I would always try and keep up with reading the blog posts from previous years. The posts helped me to see what fourth year would be like, since in your first couple years at OVC fourth year seems like a black box students disappear into. I love how the posts act as an insider looking into the life of a final-year veterinary student, and I can't wait to provide that window to all who are interested - friends, family, vet students, pre-vet students, anyone!
Fourth year is the final frontier of vet school, completely new and adventure-packed. Students are unleashed into the real world, under the guidance of their veterinary professionals, to apply their learning over the past three years. It all begins with the veterinary externship. The externship is eight weeks spent at a mixed animal veterinary practice (covers both food animals and dogs/cats), and acts as an opportunity for veterinary students to gain exposure to various species in a clinical setting and learn hands-on from practicing veterinarians. I will be spending July through until the end of August with Paris Veterinary Clinic, a beautiful mixed practice in one of the most adorable small towns in Ontario. Back when I was deciding which clinic in which to complete my externship, I visited Paris Veterinary Clinic for a working interview. Personality is extremely important to me, and I was nervous to make a good impression, but my nerves faded away almost immediately. I was able to meet many of the staff members there and I instantly felt relaxed and welcomed. I can't wait to work with and learn from everyone there, grow and contribute my skills, and also explore the city of Paris, which has been referred to as “the prettiest town in Ontario”.
Before I begin my externship adventure, I have a few exciting plans for the first half of my summertime. First off on the list is a vacation! Third year final exams were exhausting, and I needed a bit of R'nR so I can be ready for my rotations. I spent the first half of the month of May exploring Italy and Spain and refusing to open a single piece of technology. Goodbye laptop and school notes! Then I will be completing a few internal rotations here at the OVC. I am participating in the small animal Outreach program, focused on community-outreach and animal welfare. I am also participating in the Avian/Exotics rotation, which is very exciting for me because I have an unusual passion for unique species such as ferrets and snakes. I have a dream to one day own a multitude of snake species, much to Kyle's displeasure as they are certainly not his favourite animals! Although the next couple of months will be busy, I won't be going without squeezing in some cottaging, dirt biking, boating, and hiking! I am passionate about the outdoors, and am an avid runner, so will also be participating in at least one or two half-marathons!
I am bubbling with excitement at the very thought of throwing on my steel-toed boots, yanking on my rectal sleeve, leaving my NAVLE studying textbooks in a haphazard pile on my desk at home, and setting off on this adventure of a lifetime. I greatly welcome the opportunity to take whomever wishes to read my blog posts for a ride-along with me on this journey.
Thanks for reading!