My name is Erica, and I’ll be starting my 3rd year of Veterinary Medicine at University College Dublin this autumn.

vet with calfI’m really looking forward to this upcoming academic year, as I will be a Vet Peer Mentor to members of the graduate class starting this September, many of whom are international students like myself. As a Peer Mentor, I assist with the incoming class’ Facebook group and will hold meetings with my mentees. Additionally, I’ll be attending their orientation, much of which takes place at Lyons Farm Estate in Newcastle, County Kildare.

While we are there at Lyons Estate the vet students get to work with the horses, beef and dairy cattle, and sheep. This hands-on experience (including in our Clinical Skills Lab) is one of my favorite aspects of the degree; I recently completed my pre-clinicals in sheep and horses (both in Ireland) as well as pigs and cattle (both in the United States).


Vet student with lambI’ll also be volunteering as a Vet Big Sibling this year, a program I benefited from as a Vet Little Sibling. It’s really nice to have one-on-one contact with a more senior vet student who can help answer questions and I am happy to pay it forward. In the past, group socials have included bowling and ice skating.

I think it’s really important to become involved with clubs and societies on campus; this is something you can do during Freshers’ Week. Previously I’ve joined VetSoc (the highlight for me being Vet Ball), the Veterinary Business Management Association (which holds an annual symposium), Vet Equestrian (great if you’re interested in taking lessons and going on treks), and One Health (a good way to meet students in medicine and agriculture). I had the opportunity to travel to Michigan State University with three of my peers to represent UCD at the Animal Welfare Judging Assessment Competition; while there we gave presentations on shelter cats, growing and finishing pigs, captive seals, and beef cow-calf operations.

Vet_with horse

Erica with the mechanical horse in the vet school.

When you start college I would also recommend stepping outside of your comfort zone and making friends in other areas of study. There are events and activities almost every day of the week at UCD. I lived in Glenomena Residence during 1st year and am still in touch with all of my former flatmates (several of whom are non-vets). Another way I met new people was by attending fitness classes at the gym.

When I’m off campus, I enjoy supporting Dogs Trust, the Irish Blue Cross, and Dublin Zoo. Make sure to come back to the MyUCD Blog in the coming months as I share what it is like in third year vet!