What’s veterinary school like? Our Q&A with a DVM Class Representative

Allie Catalino is a 4th year DVM student, an AVC class representative vice-president, and seems to have many of the secrets to vet school success dialed in. Fortunately for us, despite being incredibly busy working on a farm this summer, she took the time to share some of her vet school experiences and insights.

Whether you’re about to enter your first year, nearing the end of your degree like Allie, or already graduated, there’s surely something to be learned or related to in this brief Q&A conversation, so read on!

 Q&A with Atlantic Veterinary College veterinary student Allie Catalino. EasyAnatomy is a 3D canine anatomy study app for veterinary students and veterinary education.

Who are you?

I’m Allie Catalino, a fourth year vet student at the Atlantic Veterinary College (University of Prince Edward Island), and also the AVC Class Representative Vice-President.

Originally I’m from Baldwinsville New York, and prior to vet school I did a four-year degree in biochemistry. Right now I see myself focusing on either large animal or cardiology in the future, and outside of vet school (not that there is such a thing) you could probably find me horseback riding, or hiking.

Before starting your veterinary degree, how did you evaluate your vet school options?

I would always hear that vet school is really hard to get into, and I constantly kept that expectation in mind, but in the end I only applied to five. I tried to talk to as many people and friends as possible about what was best, and I had one friend who went to AVC and really loved it – especially the smaller class sizes and chance for one-on-one with the profs.

A lot of people also told me that “med school is always a backup”, and I certainly had plenty of friends who applied for vet school and didn’t get in.

What are some things you have done that have helped you to get the most out of your studies?

I’ve joined a bunch of clubs, as many relevant ones as possible (I don’t necessarily participate in everything, but that gets you on all the email lists, and then you can be sure that you’ll be aware of the valuable events).

Also there are many optional supplemental lectures offered at AVC, and pretty much every lunch hour I’ll sit in on one.

Do you have a go-to vet school study tip to share? (other than using EasyAnatomy of course :p)

The way I like to study is to go through all the class notes and rewrite them in my own hand writing while at the same time condensing them. Then I go through them again, and highlight the most important things.

So far I’m still here, so it must be working!

Tips for finding school / life / work balance?

There’s no such thing!

But seriously, there is never time off, there is only time in which I’m choosing to set aside school work, because I need the mental break.

You always end up getting behind even when you promise yourself that “this is the semester I will stay on top of things”. You will fall behind no matter what, so take a night off.

How are you evaluating your future career options?

I have a lot of experience with horses, which is partly why I’m considering the paths that I am.

As soon as I entered vet school, doors started opening everywhere – like a kid in Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory really! These doors come from professors I meet, or potential jobs I hear about that I had no clue even existed. I met a great cardiology professor and started shadowing him, and I’m shadowing another vet in the large animal field.

In the end my decision will come down to whether I want to do more schooling or not. Money is not something I’m chasing or something that’s influencing my decision – because I’m going to vet school!

Favorite Animal?

Horses (but I will be ridiculed for saying that).

doghorse

Favorite Animal Ailment?

Tetralogy of Fallot

Favorite Procedure?

I would love to someday do a balloon valvuloplasty to correct pulmonic stenosis.

In terms of what I’ve already done… earlier in vet school I went down to Belize and worked at a spay and neuter clinic. While there I assisted in the treatment of a dog who had taken a machete to the skull!

Any wisdom to share for up-and-coming vet students?

Everybody tells you that vet school will be tough, and it will be tougher than you can ever imagine. But once you’re in, everybody helps you and supports you. Once you’re in they’re not trying to knock you out, so take advantage of the resources and people that are there for you.

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So it sounds like veterinary school is hard, harder than you’ll even imagine, and that it takes up pretty much all your time. That might sound a bit daunting, but it also sounds like if you make the effort to engage yourself above and beyond, then you’ll be amazed by the ocean of opportunities and possibilities you discover on the path to a rewarding future career.

Allie was also one of the early users of EasyAnatomy, so we’ll end this post with her thoughts after first testing it:

“The ability of the app to help out with muscles that are difficult to see in real life dissection is wonderful. The spinal column muscles would have been infinitely easier to learn if I had this two years ago!!”

Find out why Allie, and many other 1st – 4th year DVM students worldwide use EasyAnatomy to help learn and revise canine anatomy:

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