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A diary entry during quarantine by a vet student

INSTAGRAM @brookesterz   
Brooke Weinstein is a first-year veterinary student at Oregon State University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in animal science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She currently does not know what type of career in veterinary medicine she wants, but enjoys helping animals in underserved communities and working with marine mammals. Outside of school, Brooke enjoys traveling and the outdoors, especially going on hikes with her dog and scuba diving. You can follow her on Instagram and her dog @jackjack_thegoodestdog.

Dear Diary,

It is day 37 since quarantine started. It is day 24 since I started at Zoom university. Man, I miss my classmates, my lecture hall, my coffee shop, my library, and my school, Oregon State University. Let me tell you, this is not what I signed up for when I sent in my application a year and a half ago.

Today, I woke up at 7:30 a.m. I was going to get out of bed to feed my dog, but he wanted to cuddle, so I decided to stay and cuddle him back.

Gen Path Zoom meeting started at 8:00 a.m., so I brought my laptop and iPad into bed. It was a quick 50 minute class, but I had Gross Anatomy immediately after. Yikes, since I decided to stay in bed, I now only had 10 minutes to feed my dog, let him out, and make breakfast before my next professors started their Zoom meeting.

I was three minutes too slow, but I think everyone was just figuring out if their screen was showing up for us. Phew. Today in Gross lab my professors tried to show us the equine and ruminant laryngeal structures via webcam. Well, I know the cricoid is covered by the cricoarytenoideus dorsalis and that the pyriform recess is lateral to the aryepiglottic fold. Couldn’t tell you what they look like…. That’s okay though. I’m going to use the online 3D anatomy dissection simulators tonight on VIN’s, Minnesota’s, and Colorado’s website while I draw in my veterinary anatomy coloring book. I’ll figure it out!

Gross ended a bit early today, so I got a nice hour and a half to walk my dog and eat lunch before immunology lecture started. Physiology was right after. Not too bad of a day overall. Lectures from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., just like the non-pandemic times. My butt kind of hurts though. I think the cushion in my kitchen chair is wearing thin.

Got my blood pumping again by taking my dog for another walk. Talked to my dad during it. As a former vet student from the Stone Age, he finds the way I’m learning mind blowing. He said his lectures consisted of a professor, a blackboard, hardback textbooks, a classroom full of students who wanted to show up, and an assigned class notetaker. That means if you accidentally fell asleep in class, just make sure you’re on good terms with the notetaker that day. Thank God he didn’t experience a pandemic during his time in vet school. I think they would have had to all be held back a year. I’m only a first-year, but I do not want this to last five years!

Well, time to study for my immunology quiz.

~ Brooke

P.S. I couldn’t sleep so I got to thinking about this all:

Although our current education situation is not ideal, I have learned a lot regarding myself and the future of veterinary medicine. Motivation to keep on top of studying has definitely been hard, but the fact that I am still working hard to make sure I am truly learning critical information proves to myself I do in fact have the passion and drive to be a quality veterinarian. I also believe the amount of technology and online resources utilized during this time will change the way veterinary medicine is taught and practiced. Many schools already used recorded lectures available online, but this further proves much of lecture material can transform vet school into an online program (in person labs will definitely need to still be available weekly). Additionally, the rise in telemedicine is going to continue and become what I believe our generation will utilize.

Being a vet student during COVID-19 is a rollercoaster. But, I think it is a great learning opportunity for all of us, from Gen Z to baby boomers. Lock-down forced changes onto a fairly stagnant profession and it will soon be our generation’s turn to take the experience from this unfortunate time to make the veterinary profession even better. I can’t wait to see what happens!

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