My SAVMA Symposium Top 5

My SAVMA Symposium Top 5

Every year, veterinary students converge upon a designated host veterinary school for the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) Symposium. This year’s symposium was held at Texas A&M. It was the first SAVMA Symposium I have attended and it was an amazing trip. Here are my top five favorite things from the symposium.

1. New Perspectives

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Texas A&M Veterinary School

In my opinion, traveling to new places both around the world and in our country is very important in order to understand different perspectives.   I was happy to be introduced to the culture of Texas through Texas A&M’s “Experience Texas” social event. This event featured a meal of traditional Texas BBQ and two-stepping/line dancing lessons to a country music cover band. This is not something that you can find in Massachusetts!

2. Learning from Texas 

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Cummings School students at the Houston Rodeo

An advantage of the symposium being held in a location so vastly different from New England (besides giving Cummings School students a reprieve from the snow) was that we could learn about elements of veterinary medicine that one can only find in Texas. Many students took a behind-the-scenes field trip to the Houston Rodeo, the largest rodeo and livestock show in the world. This gave students the unique opportunity of learning about the role of the veterinarian in a rodeo setting. The symposium also invited a variety of speakers to talk about all different aspects of veterinary medicine during the lecture hours held on campus. Lecture topics ranged from what it is like to be the state veterinarian, to managing colic, to pinniped anatomy. With the stacked schedule of lectures, wet labs, and field trips, there was something for everyone. 

3. Travel Adventures   

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The San Antonio Riverwalk

Day trips were available to explore the state outside of College Station, the home of the veterinary school. I signed up for a day trip to wander along the picturesque San Antonio Riverwalk and learn about the history behind the Alamo. I was happy Texas A&M organized opportunities for students unfamiliar with the area to do some traveling. The bus ride to San Antonio was nearly as exciting as the trip itself since along with cattle and horses, antelope and zebras were in some of the fields lining the highways!  

4. Connecting and Re-connecting

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Lexi and Alyssa, V19, with friend Zach, PennVet19

We are always told that the veterinary profession is a small one. Symposiums allows you to make connections with veterinary students from other schools by attending social events that foster an environment to meet future colleagues in a more casual setting. It is also a great opportunity to meet up with old friends. Lexi Gallina, V19, and I reunited with a good friend from our undergrad days at UConn. Our former physics study buddy, and fellow pre-vet club officer, is now at the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school. We merged friend groups and had the chance to talk about the similarities and differences in our veterinary programs. We now have more friends at UPenn who we can visit next year when they host the 2018 symposium!

5. From Scrubs to Semi-Formal

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Cummings School students at the closing gala.

The closing gala was held at Kyle Field, one of the largest football stadiums in the country (it really is true that everything is bigger in Texas!). We all took this rare opportunity to dress up and take group pictures wearing clothes that aren’t coveralls or scrubs. The gala was extra special for us because the keynote speaker was Dr. Elliot Garber, V09, an alumni of Cummings School. He further emphasized what I had been learning all weekend: there are many different paths you can pursue as a veterinarian. We are lucky to be in a profession that can offer us so many career opportunities.

Through the symposium I became closer with my classmates, more connected with other veterinary students, and more knowledgeable about the veterinary field. Tufts SAVMA helps financially support attendance at the symposium, so I would highly recommend taking advantage of this learning and traveling opportunity for other students.

 

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