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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Student blogs


Waitsfield, VT
Veterinary Medicine: Equine Practice
Summer College 2013
Hey! My name is Hadley and I live in the small town of Waitsfield, Vermont. I have happily just completed an academically arduous junior year at Berkshire School, and now I am enjoying the summer. With my new and much appreciated free time, I am already engaging in my favorite hobbies: tennis, hiking, reading, playing the piano, Spanish language (self-study), horseback riding, and the occasional episode of Breaking Bad.

In June, I will attend Summer College for three weeks to study veterinary medicine, specifically: equine practice. I have grown up around horses and have competed in many VHJA (Vermont Hunter Jumper Association) shows. I have also done a veterinary internship in the past, which I loved. I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue this interest at Cornell!


The first week has flown by! After a busy few days, I am happy to relax quietly in the air-conditioned comfort of my common room. It has been an exciting week: I've met people from all over the world, experienced a college-level class, and gotten to know the Cornell campus. The students I've met are extremely dedicated to their education and success. I am especially close with a few girls in my class, and I spend almost the entire day with them.

In my dorm, I have made several friends as well. I do not have a roommate, which is fine; I enjoy the space and solitude. Even though I have my own private place to study, I usually go out and work with friends. Too much time alone can stir up homesickness and nostalgia. But there are plenty of activities! For instance, last night I went bowling with a group of friends. Even if you're like me and bowling isn't your forte, it's a good place to socialize and listen to music, with a jukebox that will play anything from Swedish House Mafia to the Rolling Stones.

As for my class, I like to think I'm taking the best class Summer College has to offer. I'm a horse lover, in a room filled with horse lovers, learning about horses all day. Of course, the class is demanding and rigorous, but the dynamic schedule keeps me focused and intrigued. My day starts 8:15 a.m.: I have a quick breakfast in my room, grab my bike, and pedal over to the Veterinary College before 9:00 a.m. class. Next, I attend a three-hour lecture, divided into sections, each taught by different teachers. This week we have covered a variety of topics, including parasitology, anatomy, nutrients, genetics, wound care, and more.

In the afternoon we have a two-hour lab in the equine park. This is my favorite part of the day. We apply what we've learned in class with hands-on experience. For instance, after covering horse anatomy in class, we used an ultrasound to examine the horses' internal organs, and made sure they were functioning properly. During lab, the professors are always available for questions, whether it's about the material we've covered or their own veterinary experiences. Although I have a class with thirty people, I always find time to talk one-on-one with my professors.

Even after class, my professors keep me busy! I always have an article to read, a project to work on, a paper to write, or a test to study for. This is when my friends and I open the books, open the pack of Oreos, and get to work. Out-of-class work is the main reason I haven't touched my summer reading books or my tennis racket since I've been here. That stuff will have to wait until the weekend! Finding time to balance work and extracurricular activities is challenging, but doable.

Cornell's Summer College is great because you get to pursue your interests while getting a true feel for college life. Today, I saw a tour pass by, with high school students looking in awe as they walked through campus for the first time. I suddenly realized, that was me one week ago, a high school student trying to imagine college life. In such a short amount of time, I feel that I have found my place on the Cornell campus and can't wait to see what's in store over the next two weeks!


Class is getting more interesting, more complex, and more rigorous. We've gotten to the point where when anyone asks a question, the answer sounds something like: "it depends" followed by and intricate and lengthy explanation. I just spent the majority of my evening looking up words on Webster's online medical dictionary: verrucous, lichenified, leucocyte, aetiopathogenesis, etc. The homework readings are challenging, and I look forward to analyzing them with my professors. In class we've been learning a lot about diseases, and how horses build up antibodies to protect themselves against certain pathogens. Tomorrow, I will be giving a twenty-minute presentation about colic! There is never a dull moment in this class; time seems to disappear into thin air. It's hard to believe that there are only two days left. Now I can't help but wonder if this is the career I will pursue in the future. I suppose only time will tell.

As for time my time outside the classroom, I have loved every minute. Exploring Ithaca with my friends is one of my favorite activities. I admire those who have mastered the art of balancing an appropriate amount of studying, socializing, and sleeping. Usually I have to sacrifice one of the three: never my studying, and rarely my social life. In other words, caffeinated beverages have become my sustenance, my oxygen. Of course it does not have to be this way! Here you are responsible for your time, and if you choose to spend the day Instagramming pictures of your Insomnia cookies, you might find yourself writing a paper very early in the morning.

One of the great things about Summer College is that you have freedom and opportunities; it is up to you to recognize them. For instance, if your class gets out early, you could use that opportunity to go check out a library across the street and start your research ahead of time. As a result, you might have extra time later to go on a hiking trip, or check out that Mexican place everyone's been talking about. Opportunities are everywhere. At Cornell, there is something new around every corner just waiting to be discovered.

p.s. I would like to give a shout out to Maddie and Kailey. You guys make Summer College awesome.


My Summer College experience is officially over. I'm already settled in at home, with only one month of summer left. Now, instead of looking out my dorm window and seeing Bus 81 make stops on the busy streets of Cornell's campus, my view is a sheep pasture encircled by forest. Instead of spending my days with thirty loquacious horse-loving girls, I am back to my routine of teaching tennis and harvesting shiitake on our small farm. I am happy to be back with my family, but I miss the new friends I made, and the excitement of those three weeks.

I would like to apply what I learned at Cornell outside the classroom, so I am considering doing an internship with a local equine veterinarian. My family and friends often ask me to tell them what I learned at Summer College, but when I go into detail, the subject matter seems complex and I feel pedantic. Although I may not be able to strike up a conversation about equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, I am glad to have been given this introduction to the realm of equine veterinary science.