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Vet School Haikus

Submitted and written for us by Alexandra Ford from Louisiana State University

How to study for

systemic pathology:

It's the liver's fault.


Giardia is

a fancy word for needing

a fresh set of scrubs.


My leg fell asleep

in the middle of class. It's

tick paralysis!


Pink and purple stuff

is all I see when I'm in

histology lab.


To the person who

donated a Keurig to

our classroom; Bless you.



Happy moooooday

Thank you to Avery Goho from North Carolina State University for sending us this udderly amazing photo. Making cow friends and listening to the beautiful cacophony of their bells in Switzerland


“A Vet Student Experiences a Biology Conference”

Erika Brigante from Ross University sent us this wonderful piece about her experience attending the 4th International Marine Conservation Conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Thanks Erika!

How is anthropogenically produced noise affecting wild cetaceans? Why are rhodoliths important to the ecosystem? What management issues could arise when changing the fishing quota in certain states? How can we, as scientists, best communicate with the public? How is Inuit food security being managed and what can others learn from this? How are veterinary epidemiologists and biologists working together? How well are sea stars recovering from the wasting disease? How are invasive and endangered species being managed, and what are some ways to overcome the obstacles?

These questions highlight a few of the many topics I was fascinated to learn about while attending the 4th International Marine Conservation Conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland for a week in July and August, 2016. Scientists from around the world came together to learn from each other and to, ultimately, better the ocean through conservation.

While there, I was able to present my own research project on diet assessment of Lionfish in St. Kitts. My abstract was accepted for a poster presentation in which I was able to practice my presentation and communication skills, observe other research projects and presentations, and personally engage with the public and experienced scientists from varied perspectives to build professional relationships. This was my favorite part of the trip because it made me realize how much I could enjoy public presentations, something I had previously dreaded. I got to teach enthusiastic people about my project while getting taught other methodologies which would improve my work. I loved being able to participate in a dynamic, open dialogue that was fun and intellectually stimulating, and it even lasted longer than the duration of the poster session. Occasionally, I was asked why a vet student was attending a bio conference, which led to discussions exploring how veterinarians and marine biologists are working together and in what areas improvement would be especially beneficial. Furthermore, I was honored to have met some of the authors that I had cited in my
poster and to receive great advice and knowledge from them. This experience really brought home the ideology set forth by the One Health Initiative, and I hope to collaborate in this same way throughout my career.

In between the lectures and workshops, I was able to explore the beautiful outdoors of Newfoundland, especially along the shores. I took a whale watch tour and observed some wild Humpback Whales as well as thousands of puffins and guillemots. The conference attendees were also given the chance to participate in one of the town’s annual traditions by attending the George Street Festival in which talented artists performed. We also got to view an early screening of the inspirational film, Sonic Sea which details how humans are impacting wild cetaceans and what resolutions are possible. Overall, this trip further encouraged me to pursue my passion to become an aquatic veterinarian with a focus on positively impacting the marine environment and wildlife.
It also helped me discover how to pursue these goals and what specific roles I could take to be the most impactful.

In addition, I brought home some resources for my friends and family to practice more sustainably on a daily basis as small steps toward a healthy future.

If there are any students considering attending a conference, I would highly recommend it because actively learning from professionals outside of the classroom as they expressed their passions and work greatly enhanced my perspectives, knowledge, curiosity, and drive to pursue this field. Furthermore, it helped prepare me further for my future career path, which I think is invaluable.



Cutest Pets

"Carlos of Green Gables from Prince Edward Island, Canada" 


Thank you to Nicole Mann of The Atlantic Veterinary College for sharing these great photos of her pets; Fiona and Carlos.


"Princess Fiona""Curious Carlos"


What do you do in your free time?

Thank you to Kristian Joyce from The Ohio State University for sharing your new hobby and this unique piece with us!

What do you do in your free time?

This is a common question to encounter during an interview. I usually chuckle to myself and internally answer “sleep” but instead answer with something that I liked to do in undergrad or during my summer breaks. Reading is my go-to answer even though I haven’t picked up a novel since starting vet school. It’s often hard as a vet student to find time to grocery shop or walk the dog, let alone have a hobby. Let’s face it, vet students don’t have a ton of free time. If anything, you’ll hear us boast about how little sleep we’ve had, how many hours we’ve studied, or how many days it has been since we last showered because we don’t have time to do so. I always wondered why interviewers seem to care so much about what people do during their free time; I didn’t realize the importance of this question until last year.


Last year, I was experiencing all the things typical vet students experience. Stress. Fatigue. Burnout. It would be hard to find a vet student that isn’t experiencing one or more of these at any given time. I had certainly experienced my fair share up until then. The difference was that I was starting to lose sleep. My mind had a hard time turning off at night after working so hard all day. I was constantly thinking about something I learned that day, a test that was coming up, my growing student loan debt, whether I would become a decent veterinarian or not, among many other things. I would lay there for hours unable to relax. One night, I was browsing YouTube videos for something to lull me into sleep when I encountered a video of a woman knitting. Watching the repetitive motion of the video was not only relaxing, but it was also captivating. Night after night I would watch videos of people knitting and crocheting, and I became both fascinated and mesmerized by it.


One day, I decided to give it a try. I bought yarn and a crochet hook and made time every night to sit down and crochet. I found that the repetitive motion of crocheting relaxed my mind and allowed me to sleep much easier. Instead of lying in bed for two, three, sometimes four hours, I was crocheting for 30 minutes to an hour and immediately falling to sleep. You can’t really focus on stressful thoughts when you’re pushing yarn in and out of a stitch.


After a while, I got pretty good at crocheting. This surprised me since I never considered myself the least bit artistic. I made a little bit of everything: scarves, hats, blankets, stuffed animals, and baby toys just to name a few. One night, I messed up while making something. It turned into a weird ball shape when it was supposed to be a flower. I was just going to throw it away when I realized that I could stuff it with some catnip, close the end of it, and make it into a really ugly cat toy. It wouldn’t be pretty, but then at least the yarn wouldn’t go to waste. Turns out, my cat LOVED this new toy of hers. She not only played with it, but she also carried it everywhere she went. At that point, I realized how awesome this new hobby could be.


My nighttime routine soon became something that I did between classes, while at lunch, and whenever I needed a mental break. I began to look forward to taking breaks from studying so that I could crochet. My cat ended up with about twenty cat toys over the course of a few weeks. I realized that my house was going to become overrun with cat toys if I kept this up, so I started giving them away to friends. I was soon getting requests for more toys, different colors, and custom designs. People started asking me how much the toys cost so they could place an order! I then took a crazy next step: I opened up an Etsy shop and started my own business.


Opening up an Etsy shop was a lot more work than I originally expected. Not only did I have to develop patterns for different cat toys, but I also had to photograph them, advertise my brand, and manage my shop. Although it was a lot of effort, the payout was quick and worthwhile. Before long, I had a steady stream of orders coming in. I was ecstatic to be making money from a hobby! The money earned from this hobby helped tremendously with my finances, but most importantly it was keeping me sane.


Fast forward to today. My shop celebrated its one year anniversary in December. I have had over 300 sales on Etsy alone and I have sold cat toys to seven different countries. I put my shop on vacation for a few months to focus on studying for my NAVLE, and I missed picking up my crochet hook every single day. I found sleep harder and harder to come by, and I found my stress level rising. I quickly realized how important this “hobby” was for me.


Crochet taught me the importance of work-life balance. Sometimes you have to turn off your brain and do something that you love because there’s more to life than the next test coming up. My academic career has been entirely focused on reaching my professional goals, but I now realize that it is the journey we take to get there that matters. My travels are no longer rife with stress and burnout. They’re certainly there, but instead I think of the cute photos and wonderful reviews I’ve received, the milestones I’ve reached with my business, and the joy of sharing my passion with the people I love. This stress-relieving hobby will surely make it easier for me to cope with the demands of my future profession and life in general. I now finally understand why interviewers ask “What do you do in your free time.”


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