Are you an offer-holder with an undergraduate degree already under your belt? Are you wondering what your first year will look like at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies? If so, look no further! My name is Ryan and I am a current GEP year (first year out of four, equivalent to years 1 and 2 combined in the 5-year program), here to tell you what you can expect from you first year in vet school.
To start the year off, GEP’s must arrive a bit earlier than everyone else, starting in early August instead of the ‘typical’ late September. This starts the ‘summer session’ of vet school, covering Animal Body 1, which includes basic anatomy of the dog, cow, and horse. This session is extremely intense, beginning with learning all the bones of the dog in one week! Scared yet? Don’t be! Although this 2-month period was a TON of information to learn, including (but not limited to) the bones, muscles, and digestive tracts, I thought it was a great experience getting used to the fast-paced curriculum of vet school, and it’s definitely doable! The professors are always available for extra help if you need it, and they make it very clear that they just want us to succeed.
At the end of the summer session in late September, there is a short 4-day break before starting semester 1, which most people take advantage of by traveling abroad (more than we already are), or re-cooping after the intense amount of information we just learned. I personally went to London with a few friends, and it was exactly what I needed to let my brain rest before starting new material!
Semester 1 included Animal Body 2, which is the beginning of normal internal systems of the body (and more). This is extremely important to learn, as we need to know what is normal in order to know what goes wrong! Animal Body 2 included parasitology, immunology, inflammation, cell pathology, bacteriology, and virology, so a wide breadth of information to say the least! Semester 1 and 2 are broken up by winter break, which is 3 weeks long.
Finally, Semester 2 (currently) includes Animal Body Systems and Cases, which is more of normal functioning systems, but with a clinical twist (which, to me, makes it so much more interesting and relevant!). The subjects are split up into two sections, one from January to March, and the second from March to June (but we have a month off in April). The first half included the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, nervous system, digestion, metabolism, and neurophysiology. The second half has been contents of blood, reproduction, endocrinology, and the renal system (so far)! To me, this semester has been the most enjoyable relating to material, especially because it is more of a review of what I learned in my undergraduate degree to prep me for vet school. I really enjoyed reproduction and endocrinology in my undegrad, so I’m excited to learn more and relate it to clinical cases this semester!
Because we have a month off in April, we end the year in early June, and then it’s off to home to complete my animal husbandry EMS! As you can see, the GEP year contains A LOT of information, but goes by in a flash, I promise! Before you know it, you’ll be starting your GEP year too, and you’ll understand the crazy whirlwind it can be!
I hope this helps clear up any confusion on what is taught during the GEP year, as I know I was a bit confused and overwhelmed with figuring out what the first year of vet school would entail.