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UD alumna reflects on time at UD, experiences at veterinary school

UD alumna reflects on time at UD, experiences at veterinary schoolUniversity of Delaware alumna Rebecca Radisic had been an East Coaster all her life but when it was time to apply to veterinary schools, her gaze gradually shifted toward the West.

Now in veterinary school at the University of California, Davis, Radisic, who graduated in 2015 with a degree in pre-veterinary medicine and animal biosciences from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), said she has no regrets about applying for a school that she thought was a long shot.

“When I applied, it was definitely one of my reach schools. I knew I had the numbers and statistics to get an interview, but I was still very unsure whether that would happen,” Radisic said. “My thought process was ‘if I get an interview, I get to see the West Coast for the first time.’ I think in the back of my mind I knew that I was really intrigued by the UC Davis curriculum, though, and the interview really solidified how much I enjoyed the school. I kept Davis in the back of my mind just because I knew how hard it was for someone out of state to get in.”

Radisic, who was recently awarded a second place outstanding senior award from National Block and Bridle, an honor for which she applied while a senior at UD, said it was a tough choice between UC Davis and an Eastern veterinary school. Ultimately what drew her to UD Davis was the curriculum and the feeling she got during her interview.

“I felt comfortable on campus. The vibes that the students gave off were very approachable. Also, the curriculum really drew me in. Starting right away your first year you have a required class in which one Thursday a month you have your schedule completely free to go in and shadow a certain area of the teaching hospital. I loved that Davis really wanted to try to get us hands-on with animals as soon as possible,” said Radisic.

Another big plus was the adventure aspect, with Radisic relishing the opportunity to try out the West Coast.

“My whole family lives in Philadelphia. I grew up about 30 minutes from there. Why not try something completely new that I may never have the chance to do again? If it turns out that I am very much an East Coaster, I could always come back after vet school. So far, I have zero regrets about choosing this school,” said Radisic.

As for her time at UD, Radisic said that certain classes, such as anatomy and comparative physiology, as well as biochemistry and molecular biology of the cell, helped her prepare for veterinary school.

She also singled out the classes she took with Erin Brannick, assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences and the director of the CANR Comparative Pathology Laboratory.

“I cannot say enough kind things about both of Dr. Brannick’s classes – histology and biomedical communications. Both of them were very helpful during my first case research exercises and histology, especially in any of the microscope labs we’ve had. It’s so helpful to have had a background in looking at those tissues before,” said Radisic.

“Furthermore, just being at an ag school and being exposed to the large animal side of things was really beneficial, even if that’s not necessarily what I want to go into. Ultimately, I also think all of the opportunities UD had to get involved really helped me with time management and balance. Once I got to vet school, I felt very secure in taking on clubs and extracurriculars to help me unwind.”

Radisic said it was helpful for her to maintain an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of her veterinary and animal hours, tallying the hours after any experience. That exercise helped her quantify experiences on her veterinary school applications.

Radisic also said that for any current undergraduates who are planning to go to veterinary school, in addition to working hard and getting good grades, it is very important to do what feels right for them as individuals.

“If you absolutely know from previous experience that you’re not a horse person and you would get nothing from an internship revolving around them, don’t do it. Apply for experiences and internships that actually get you interested and excited because those are the things that will stand out in an application and beyond that will inform you of where you want your future veterinary career to go,” said Radisic, who added that at the same time, students shouldn’t be afraid to try things out of their comfort zone.

“If you’ve only every worked with cows before, don’t be afraid to try out a small animal internship or volunteer experience over the summer. Keep an open mind and just go with the flow. If you really are passionate about what you’re doing it will work out in the end,” she said.

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.