A Day In the Life [of a second year veterinary student]

Often, I find myself wrapped up in those whirlwind days where you don’t even have time to be tired until you actually fall onto your pillow. Because a lot of people I know are curious about how I spend my time here in Ithaca, I thought I’d share it with you.


6:45AM- It’s wakeup time! Did I mention this is your first day of Spring Break? Congrats- you’ve finished your exams! Now quick, get out of bed before all of your animals starve to death (at least, that’s what THEY think will happen). Feed the dog, feed the cats, take the dog outside, and somewhere in all of that find time to eat some breakfast and make it out the door by 7:20.

7:20AM- You’re off to the wildlife center! Have a slight panic attack at the height of the stack of charts on the counter, but then get to work calculating drug doses, trying to read a little bit about each patient to figure out what’s going on.

7:45AM- Once all of the meals and medications are ready, head to the back with other student volunteers and the vet tech. Todays patients include several ducks, two swans, a couple of red tailed hawks, a barred owl, and a cardinal! Make sure everyone gets the correct medications and food, and also clean/disinfect their cages while they’re being treated! Oh, and watch out for the talons on those red tails!

10:00AM- Phew, morning treatments are finally finished, and you’ve cleaned up the mess you made. Time to head home to regroup before heading to school to get some work done. You manage to do some dishes and thrown some laundry in before leaving again.

10:45AM- Head back to school to meet with a professor about that symposium you’re organizing in September.

11:30AM- Head up to the parasitology lab, where you need to figure out whether your slides have adhered properly so that you can stain them. On your way, quickly gulp down some iced coffee and a granola bar. You don’t see your advisor around, so you do some other work until he shows up so that you can consult about staining procedures.

1:30PM- After consulting with your advisor, you decide to stain one slide to see if the procedure is working properly. It’s a lengthy procedure, so you spend a lot of time twiddling your thumbs and instagramming pictures of the paper towel where you blotted the stain off.

2:15PM- Success! The slide stained. Now you decide to stain a bunch more so that you can spend time scanning them for amoebas at a later date.

3:15PM- All your slides are stained, but preliminary scanning on the microscope has shown very little in the way of parasites. Oh well, no time to worry about that right now- you’ve gotta get home to take the dog out before going back to the wildlife center.

3:55PM- You’re out the door, heading back to the wildlife center for evening treatments. Luckily, many of the animals only need medications in the morning, but now you also need to mop and clean the kitchen area.

6:15PM- Finally, you’re heading back home. Luckily, you had the forethought to make extra food earlier in the week, so there is still a little bit of lentil curry and naan to heat up for dinner. Your roommate’s mom and brother are over for dinner, so you try and at least look somewhat civilized as you cram food down your throat. Don’t forget to feed your pets, too (not that they would let you forget)!

7:45PM- Throw on your coveralls, because it’s time to head over to the research barn to milk and sample some cows that are in a mastitis drug trial. This is the first (and only) paid activity you are participating in today.

10:00PM- You’re finally done with the cows, and ready to head home and go to sleep. Just kidding! It’s your good friend’s birthday, so you’re going out! You decide that you actually do need to take a shower AND wash your hair because one of the cows had a grand old time licking your head.

10:45PM- You’ve managed to shower and make yourself look presentable (you hope?), so you head downtown to meet up with friends.

1:15AM- After a great night out dancing with your buddies, you collapse into bed. Somehow, you managed to brush your teeth and change into pajamas before diving for your pillow. You sigh, as you set your alarm for the next morning, thankful that morning treatments are at 8:00AM and not 7:30AM on Saturdays. But still, that 7:00AM alarm comes just a little before you’re truly ready. Happy Spring Break!


So, there you go. Now I’ll say right away that this isn’t exactly a typical day (I’d normally have at least a few hours of lectures wedged in there somewhere), but each individual thing I did is something that I do with some level of regularity when classes are in session. If you read this and thought “Wow, she’s crazy, doing all of that on her day off,” well, you’re probably right. And if you read it and said “Wow, I’m jealous!,” then YOU’RE the crazy one. Just kidding. Mostly. But, really, I do love vet school! I wouldn’t trade my life at this for the world. And I encourage everyone to go out there and find the thing that you feel strongly about, and find a way to make it your life!

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