Rachel and I recently attended our 10-year Vet School Reunion at UC Davis! Wow, has it really been 10 years already? When we graduated, we were fresh-faced and full of energy, ready to go out there and make a difference. Aside from our families meeting for the first time (which is a story unto itself), our transition from school to our first jobs was relatively smooth. Little did we know how much more learning there was to do in the “real world.” But that’s a future blog post.
The Class of 2002 graduated at an awkward time. In 1998, our freshman year, the Vet School was placed on limited accreditation due to its aging facilities and we all wondered if the piece of paper we would receive at the end of our journey was going to be worthless (had we graduated one year later, our diploma would have been signed by the Governator! That would have been worth something!). On the bright side, we didn’t have to pay the exorbitant tuition fees that current vet students suffer. It wasn’t until 2005 when the school was restored to full accreditation status.
Seeing the updated facilities at the reunion brought back lots of memories for Rachel and myself. The new Anatomy Lab’s ventilation system left no hint of formaldehyde in the air, whereas our old lab’s scent permeated our nostrils and clothes long after we left. Each student now has their choice of either a Macbook or a PC laptop upon entry for notes and syllabi. Our class felt privileged to get our own ucdavis.edu email address! The new lecture classrooms were amazing, and the chairs now allow students to recline to a more comfortable napping position. In the micro lab, instead of raising our hands for a question and waiting to be noticed, students now have a system akin to the flight attendant buttons on airplanes.
Despite the changes to the learning facilities, the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital remained largely the same. Rachel and I walked those hallways and reminisced about old times and memories we’d shared there. The last year of vet school is undoubtedly the most intense, and many hours are spent on clinics learning about what we would encounter after graduation.
There were many other class reunions going on simultaneously, too. The inaugural Class of 1952 even had one member attend, I believe! Our classmates have scattered across the US and gone on to varying careers. Several of our classmates went on to get advanced degrees in different specialties such as surgery and emergency care. A couple of our classmates are doing shelter medicine and one is teaching veterinary students at the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine.
Much has changed in both our personal and professional lives in the past 10 years. But we still believe that veterinary medicine is the best profession in the world and we love what we do.