This afternoon was the white coat ceremony for the class of 2011 at my vet school. I went through the first two years of didactic material with the class of 2011; then they continued on to third year while one classmate and I entered our research year. She and I will join the class of 2012 for our third year next year, while the class of 2011 spend their fourth and final year (a fifteen-month year) in clinics. The white coat ceremony marks the end of their three didactic years and the beginning of their clinical training.
It’s a funny time. There is a several week pause between the last of the exams and the beginning of clinics, during which you take some elective classes or just sleep a lot. It feels like vacation, but you spend most of it panicking about starting clinics. Will I make a fool out of myself? Will I survive on so little sleep? Will I lose all my friends because I won’t have time to see them for fifteen months? (The advice of the fourth year student who spoke at the ceremony: Eat whenever you can. Sleep whenever you can. Don’t make weekend plans.) The ceremony reminded me a little of orientation day at the beginning of first year. We were all so proud to have made it, and so terrified of what was to come.
I was deeply proud of my classmates, and a little sad to know I could have been with them but had chosen not to be. I’m looking forward to working with them in the hospital, as they replace the current senior students (who will be on off campus electives from now until graduation) and I continue my research. It is so strange to think that this is where I’ll be in another year.