My non-sugar coated challenges as a veterinary student

Externship Project

I have begun my final year of veterinary school and am heading to Paisley Veterinary Services this summer for my externship. It seems like forever ago since I was playing doctor with my plastic stethoscope and giving fake needles to my stuffed animals.

My name is Stephanie Wong and I am a fourth year veterinary student and part of the Externship Blog Project this year. I specialized in genetics during my undergrad at Western and since then, have had a special interest in personalized medicine. Being interested in such a specific area of veterinary medicine definitely comes with its difficulties. I am pretty sure all of my classmates were not a fan of our first-year genetics course! Nevertheless, the summer after second year, I moved to Madison, Wisconsin...the land of cheese and cows...for a summer research project in genetics. It was a little scary to move away on my own, but the research experience I attained was so valuable.

I am beyond excited to begin my externship this summer, as I look forward to solidifying everything we have been studying in class. As I begin adult life as a real veterinarian in just over a year, I know my externship will help me become confident in managing cases! It's time to throw away the plastic stethoscope and stuffed animals, and put my big girl pants on!

I decided to join the Externship Blog Project because I wanted to show vet students that it is okay to be worried and doubtful about your capabilities at this point in our education. I am nervous to start applying things we have been studying, to not know something, and to have to say “I don't know” a million times...but I know this is part of the natural learning process towards becoming a confident veterinarian. I want to share my experiences this summer with fellow students, to help anyone else who may be or doubting their abilities to enter clinical practice. If you can be anything in this world, be kind to yourself and never never, never, give up, because you are incredible.