Chevy Chase, MD
Animal Science: Sustainable Animal Husbandry
Veterinary Medicine: Small Animal Practice
Summer College 2014
Hi, I am Yasmina, a rising senior at Sidwell Friends School in Washington DC. I grew up in Florida and moved to DC in 2007. At school, I play varsity soccer, take photography, and am the graphic design editor for my school newspaper. I enjoy singing, playing piano and interning at a nearby animal hospital. Each summer, I volunteer to work with horses on a farm for a couple weeks. I speak English, French, and Arabic.
I will attend CUSC for six weeks in the Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science programs. I will take the Small Animal Practice and Animal Husbandry courses. The first course draws on my strong desire to physically help animals, the second on my passion for understanding how animals think and how we can interact with them. I cannot wait to spend six weeks exploring the campus, making friends, and learning about animals!
The first week of Summer College has been great! Before coming to Cornell, I was nervous about making friends, but there are many opportunities here to meet people. The day I arrived, there was an ice cream social with everyone at Summer College, where I was able to make new friends. The scavenger hunt that took place during opening weekend was also fun. Throughout the day, we participated in many bonding activities that gave me the opportunity to meet students living in and out of my dorm. It has been really great learning about different people's cultures and backgrounds.
Signing up for Intramural Hiking and the Cornell Summer Yearbook have provided more opportunities to meet others who share similar interests to mine. In addition, I have met numerous people in my Small Animal Practice course. I was definitely anxious when I first arrived, but I must admit that the welcoming environment has made the whole experience really wonderful.
Each day, the Small Animal Practice course class becomes more and more interesting. I am learning about everything from the anatomy of dogs and cats to their histology. The first half of my class is lecture-based, while the second half is lab-based. I have had the opportunity to dissect various animals as well as to interact with the different animals we are studying, which was absolutely amazing! I would say the most challenging part is managing the work load because of the amount of information we learn in such a short period of time. It's difficult to absorb all of the material when the course is moving so quickly, but the labs have really helped me visualize everything we are learning in our lectures. Overall, the class has been so much fun and a great opportunity to study animals.
During the past few days, my friends and I have been exploring the spectacular Cornell campus, which is one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever seen. There are stunning gorges, hiking trails, and a lot of greenery all over campus. Coming from a smaller school, it was difficult at first to find my class, but over time, I have been able to figure out how to get there.
The food at the dining hall is also incredibly delicious. There are endless meal choices such as sushi, cheeseburgers, salad, pizza, pasta, etc. I went to a bagel restaurant in Collegetown with my new friends and shopped and watched a movie at the mall. Tonight I am going to a highlighter dance with the other Summer College students. I am excited to meet more people!
Cornell is an amazing place and I am more than happy to spend the next five weeks here.
My second week at Summer College was absolutely fantastic! Not only did I meet even more people, but I also had a phenomenal time in my Small Animal Practice course. On Thursday night, there were fireworks for the Fourth of July, and the next day there was a barbecue with music for all of the Summer College students. My friends and I spent a lot of time continuing to explore the campus as well as Collegetown because of the loads of free time we had during this three-day weekend. In the next couple of days, my friends and I plan on visiting some of the nearby lakes and waterfalls to swim, watch the sunset, and enjoy the beautiful views!
In my Small Animal Practice course, we focused this week on the respiratory and circulatory systems of dogs and cats. In addition, we learned about how to take care of orphan kittens and about many common diseases found within dog and cat populations. We were blessed with the opportunity to listen to many professors from Cornell speak about their specific areas of expertise. These professors were very lively and kept the presentations interesting and exciting. I have also greatly enjoyed our interactive labs and have found our tutoring groups very helpful. It's crazy to think that there is only a week left in my first course!
My third and fourth weeks at Cornell have been the best yet! They were a transition period, in which those who signed up for only one course left campus and those participating in the second session arrived to campus. As a result, I initially had a difficult time parting ways with my friends who were enrolled in only the first session. However, I was surprised at how quickly I bonded with the newcomers in my dorm and class. Together, we have already spent a great deal of time exploring Collegetown. We went to a hibachi restaurant the other night, which served absolutely delicious food. We also went on long walks near the lakes in the area and noticed many fireflies along the way. They were beautiful! In addition, we watched many a sunset near the clock tower.
I have also greatly enjoyed my new course, Animal Husbandry. It focuses on animal welfare and various conflicts in the farming industry. The labs have been so fulfilling! Each day, we travel to a new farm, where we learn about the farm's strategy in caring for its animals. One would think that these outings would become redundant. However, each farm has a unique way of dealing with its animals, making every trip an educational experience. Moreover, the hands-on nature of these endeavors has only added excitement. I was able to put my hand in the stomach of a fistulated cow, something I never thought I would do. I have truly relished in the opportunity to be exposed to different types of farming. Before this course, I knew very little about farming and animal welfare. However, in such a short period of time, I have managed to learn so much.
Overall, these past two weeks have been amazing, and I cannot wait to spend the next two weeks with my new friends and in my new course!
Though the past week has been very busy with work, my friends and I still made time to see one another. On Friday, we went to the mall and watched the movie Lucy. The following day, I suggested that we go shopping in Downtown Ithaca, something I had wanted to do for awhile. Though I was able to take some time off this weekend, I unfortunately was not able to attend the last barbecue due to work.
My course has continued to be incredibly interesting! This week, we visited dairy farms, an experience I never thought I would have. We learned about how each farm produces its milk and cheese, though I must admit my favorite part of the trip was tasting all of the delicious, fresh cheese produced by the farms.
It is truly crazy how quickly time has flown by. I cannot believe that I have only five more days left! With the end nearing, I cannot help but appreciate the substantial amount I have learned through my courses and the several friends that I have made.
My last week at Cornell was bittersweet. I became quite sick and was unable to attend a few days of class. However, my friends, professor, and TA helped me stay up to date on my Animal Husbandry course; they took time out of their schedules to explain lectures I had missed. As a result, I was still able to turn my assignments in on time and to complete my exam. What was more difficult than taking the exam was saying goodbye to my friends. Though I only spent six weeks with them, I feel as if I have known them for a lifetime. I plan on staying in touch with them in the hopes of continuing these cherished friendships.
The courses I took at Cornell gave me the exposure I was looking for in order to determine what path to choose for my future. While I found both courses very interesting, I believe that pursuing a veterinarian or agricultural career may not be the best fit for me. Rather, I would like to focus more on animal behavior.
Aside from allowing me to make lifelong friends and clarifying which educational direction I would like to pursue, the Cornell University Summer College program made me realize how independent one must be when living at college. I had to learn to balance my social life and academics on my own. I also experienced living with a roommate, and consequently, sharing a living space with an individual I had not known before.
Overall, my experience at Cornell was eye opening, challenging and very enjoyable. I want to take this opportunity to thank the institution, my professors and my friends for such a meaningful and worthwhile experience. I hope to see you all soon!