The student who was two places at once.

It was likely between the 20th and 30th time in the same day that someone was inquiring if I knew the whereabouts of my class mate. When the clinician asked, I glanced up because this was one of the few times that I actually had an answer of value. I started to say she’s over by the treatment table, but then did a double take…

And then there were 3. . …but there should be four. Four students on rotation. I knew the 4th was around, she’d taken appointments in the morning like the rest of us. She’d mastered the art of disappearing, that was for certain. I could honestly imagine myself creating this imaginary 4th year student, and how it could seem real. With how she drifts in and out of the day, I could see it correlating well the peaks and troughs of the daily stress.

There are at least a couple “magician students” in every class, with some more talented at with their disappearing acts than others. With so many rotations, one is,destined to share at least one rotation with disappearing student. I’m thankful I did not have one on some double-shift of a rotation, like neuro or internal medicine.

Prior to fourth year, there was a mini ceremony celebrating the ascension of the 4th years into their clinical rotations with a simultaneous “adios” to the new doctors. When it came to suggestions, advice, recommendations, tips or otherwise helpful guidance, there was little in the way of variation between students. All the new graduates seemed to agree on a very few key 4th year “commandments.” The fact that the advice lacked topic breadth, it was clearly an indication of just how important the concise advise had been. The fact that after a grueling year, the new grads had only a handful of  suggestions, wasn’t indicative of disregard for the incoming 4th years but rather, it emphasized my point that these things are just that much more important. I remember getting a pen out, just to be sure I don’t miss any of the tips/suggestions/hints. It was an academic gold mine, right here.



“the Class of 2014’s proposed 4th year commandments for the class of 2015.”

(profanity to follow, just a warning)
1. Don’t be an asshole. Not to clients, not to doctors, not to techs and not to your peers. And not to the animals, which goes without saying.
2. Give every shot your best shot. You’ll get it confused, get it backwards, get it wrong and plain forget about it. But whatever you’re doing, do it as well as you can.
3. Have fun. And if not, fake it until you make it.
4. Don’t be an asshole.

After this informal list of 4th year commandments, we received some more specific advice, stories that somehow touched on every emotion in the psychological rainbow. Warnings, encouragement, inside jokes and a “peace out” bliss. The fourth years left us in a daze, the Friday before the start of clinical rotations. Something tells me this blissful “hand-off” was nothing unique to the class of 2014.

** BI interrupt here to say, I’m not foreshadowing on thoughts that my classmate is an asshole. In fact, she is courteous, helpful, hilarious and must have some sort of invisibility cloak because that lady is gone.**

ut, among the tales of fourth year, we took a spur topic over to the stereotypes of fourth years. And there was comical re-retelling of the handful of students with the uncanny ability to be two places at once. Now, I know exactly what they were laughing about. I brought this up to my friend at OSU, curious if this “character” appeared at other schools. To my astonishment, she knew all too well about the magician students.


See…someone asks where Erika is, she’s here. You know she’s in the veterinary hospital, you could text her for help and she’d come through the treatment doors in less than 5 minutes. She’s here, but she’s not here. Two places at once. Trying to find one of these students, and you can check the vet school in its entirety. It’s not like there’s even a second floor. Student lounge is where you find most missing students . Nope. Bathrooms: nope. Lockers: no. Exam rooms, labs, surgery suites, janitors closet, kennels, conference rooms, parking lot, lobby, hallway, reception, wards, barns, feed rooms, stockroom, pharmacy, other offices. No where to be found.

And I am impressed and awe-struck by the fact that after taking 3 back-to-back appointments and rushing around like to rest of us, I never once see her doing what I spend 75% of my time there doing..paperwork. Already done, like filled out ahead of time. It’s insane…insanely efficient. I’ve got no qualms, no unkind thoughts about her…like I said, text her for help and she’d be there in less than five minutes. Not too many other students I’d wager that on. The whole thing is mysterious, and impressive.