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By Krista Morrow
Washington State University
Class of 2013

                As freshman students, we learned a game in pathology lab to practice correctly describing inflammation of certain organs. For example, if the spleen in an animal has signs of inflammation, you would refer to this as splenitis. To play the game, we went around in a circle in front of 25 or so peers, and one at a time named an organ for the next person to label. Some of us were more devious than others and thought up crafty ways to stump our classmates. They named obscure anatomies of the eyeball or other such parts that anatomy class didn’t even cover, sure enough causing profuse stammering and blotchy red faces.  Luckily I was given easier organs to describe.  

                However, I had to leave the lab every 15-20 minutes in the middle of a practically rib-breaking coughing fit (leftover from a nasty, long lasting virus all my classmates had that year-what we lovingly remember as the Plague of the Class of 2013). The game had ended by the time I had finished coughing up a lung, and the professor was asking us if we had any questions about organs we might have missed. Of course there would be a test!

                I’m usually a pretty quiet person, and especially as an awkward first year student didn’t typically enjoy asking questions in front of my classmates. However, I was drugged on cough syrup, Dayquil and had eaten more than the suggested dose of cough drops in one day than a person should consume in a week. I suppose I was in a drunkenly brave state of mind. “What would you call inflammation of the ureter?” I asked. Immediately I could feel some weird glances, and my teacher had paused and was kind of quizzingly staring at me. “Well, if you hadn’t have been in the bathroom, you would have known the answer to that question!” a classmate joked with me, and the rest giggled at their perceived irony of the situation. (I didn’t have to leave for the bathroom 4 times, I really was just coughing!) So apparently ureteritis had been asked about already.  Moral of the story-you don’t die from asking silly questions, but it would behoove one to stay quiet on days when one is drugged up on cough syrup!


Health and Fitness- Vending Machines 

By Madison McGee

Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine


I do not have much time to exercise as a vet student and an anesthesia technician so I try to

watch what I eat. This is not always easy since my schedule changes minute to minute some

days and I never know when I will get to eat. Vending machines only have chips and candy bars,

which are not only unhealthy but also expensive. Therefore, I bring my own “vending machine”

every day. I have a small lunch bag with an ice pack, a cheese stick, a squeeze fruit packet, a

fruit snack, craisins, granola bar, and lunch (sandwich, leftovers, etc.). The cheese sticks come

in a variety of kinds likes mozzerella and colby jack. Buddy Fruit and Dole make 100% fruit

squeeze fruit packets that are great on the go, come in lots of flavors, and are a good alternative

during the winter when good fresh fruit is hard to find. Buddy fruit also makes 100% fruit snacks

and one pack counts as a single serving of fruit, plus they taste great. Craisins are like raisins, but

made from cranberries with a little more moisture for those who think raisins are dry. The typical

granola bar (not coated in chocolate) is another great option on the go that is filling enough to get

you by till dinner and allows you to pass the vending machines.


Creative Corner

By Chelsea Mason

Virginia- Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

This photo represents "Where would you be if you weren't in class"


Running on Empty

By Claire McPhee

Class of 2012

North Carolina State University

Prior to veterinary school, exercise was a vital component of my life. In college I became very involved in racing bicycles and triathlon training, and even during graduate school, I had flexibility in my schedule to run and ride my bike on a daily basis. For years, I had become accustomed to a high level of physical activity and exercise. And then came veterinary school…


This is professional school, and beginning from day one, we become professional…sitters! Veterinary students spend between 5 and 8 hours per day spent glued to a seat while information is pummeled into our heads. On breaks between classes, we peruse the bake sale table, where our clubs raise money for activities by peddling sugary snacks. Our reward for finishing each day at school is to go home exhausted, and sit all night, reviewing and memorizing what we’ve been taught. In addition to the stress of the material we have to learn, for the active among us, the stress of sitting still for the entire day is definitely an additional burden.


But fear not—this tale of woe has a happy ending! Now at the end of my third year of veterinary school, and heading into clinics (where ironically, I will be lucky if I am able to sit down for 20 minutes a day to eat lunch) I will no longer spend the better part of my day warming a chair. However, I have also found ways to successfully make exercise (even marathon training!) work with veterinary school, and offer a few tips that might help get you off the couch, or away from your desk.


1. By taking the time away from studying, you will have better focus and absorb more information when you are actually studying. In the words of my austere 9th grade health teacher, “When you’re tired, don’t take a nap! Go for a jog!” While I never would have admitted it at the time, it’s possible that Mr. Sabers was on to something. I challenge you to see whether exercise can help to clear your head after a day at school and refresh you for a productive evening of focus.


2. Your pets will be better behaved and love you for it. Vet school is hard on them too, and walking/running will provide good bonding as well as getting out some of their pent up energy (and yours too!)


3. Set reasonable goals. If you are a goal-oriented person, try signing up for an activity, like a short triathlon or a 5k road race. Then put a plan in place to achieve that goal and stick to it. Working towards a goal is an excellent way to stay on track with training.


4. You can still learn. If the test is tomorrow or you aren’t willing to give up study time, that’s okay. Try recording lectures and putting them on an mp3 player to listen while you move. Most laptops have built in audio recording software (On a Mac, try the “notebook” view in Microsoft Word – you can then export the audio). You could listen to lectures in “audiobook” setting on an iPod, which enables you to choose a slightly faster playback speed. Even if you don’t pay attention to every word, you might still get a lot out of re-listening to lectures out of the class mentality. When you get home, try to write down what you remember as the most important things from the lecture, and maybe glance through the presentation slides while it is still fresh in your mind. If you’re really not paying attention to a lecture, try switching to music for a while.


5. Exercise can improve your sleep patterns, so you can get the most out of class tomorrow. Disclaimer: if you aren’t sleeping enough, your body may not get a tremendous benefit from a workout. Exercise should be combined with a reasonable amount of sleep (number of hours differs for everyone).


6. Make healthy habits now. Veterinary school may not be the busiest time of your life. In the future a job, plus family, pets, yard work, meal preparation and more will make you look back at these years and *sigh.* The sooner you start prioritizing your health, the more likely that you will be able to do so in the future.


7. If running or walking are not your thing, look into joining a community or university sports league. A weekly game of softball or soccer might be just the thing to take your mind off the canine gastrocnemius muscles and help develop your own gastrocnemius. Additionally – intramurals or community sports are a great way to meet people who are not in veterinary school. This will help you remember that there is a world outside our vet school bubble and that interacting in that world can be fun!


As veterinary students, we sacrifice so much to achieve our professional goals—but are those goals worth sacrificing our health and well-being? The American Heart Association recently published an article based on a review 74 studies on physical activity and other factors to determine which strategies were effective for reaching goals and staying healthy. The studies indicate that a healthy lifestyle increases the average American life expectancy by nearly 7 years.[1] Think of that as 7 more years to enjoy life after you have finally paid off student loans! So go ahead, give yourself permission to find out if regular exercise can make you a more efficient and healthier vet student.




[1] Artinian, N. T. et al., Interventions to promote physical activity and dietary lifestyle changes for cardiovascular risk factor reduction in adults: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation 122(4):406-441.



Creative Corner- Tohalah at Sunset 

By Sarah Lehman

Class of 2012

University of Pennsylvania

Taken while on a RAVS volunteer trip