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Class of 2020 Story: Joining an Unbeatable Team

Class of 2020 Stories

The following by Allison Baucom is the fourth in a series of Class of 2020 stories running up to the CVM’s oath and hooding ceremony on May 8.

Read all of the stories here: https://cvm.ncsu.edu/tag/class-of-2020

Like most, I was worried about the transition to veterinary school. Of course, I was concerned about the “drinking water out of a firehouse” course load and content density, the never-ending studying and the rigorous pace of the curriculum. 

However, I was also worried about how I would transition to not being a member of a competitive sports team anymore. 

Being a member of a team had been a part of my life since I was 4 years old, all the way through playing college soccer. Because of this alone, the CVM was going to be a big adjustment. 

From my first week at the CVM through my last day in the Terry Center, this fear was put to rest.

I hadn’t been stripped of being part of a team, I had become part of one of the best teams imaginable. 

First, I became a member of the Class of 2020. There is no way to appropriately summarize how the Class of 2020 team has supported, loved, and encouraged each other over the last four years. I feel certain that the adversity we have faced has not been experienced by any other class.

On top of the normal stress and uncertainty of vet school, we experienced the loss of one of our greatest and strongest members of our class, Samantha Lin. The way our class pulled together to comfort and console each other was nothing short of teamwork at its finest. 

Then, as if the universe wasn’t already impressed by this 2020 team, COVID-19 disrupted the end of our fourth and final year together. While we were all heartbroken, we once again pulled through together as a team to overcome this obstacle. 

It would have been easy to sit back and ask, ‘Why us?’ Instead, we overcame these unimaginable circumstances with grace, maturity and tenacity.

To quote Dean Lunn, “We have not, and likely will never, graduate a stronger class.” I am so proud to be a member and a teammate of this Class of 2020.

Moving forward, my first three years at the CVM were filled with ongoing teamwork by the Class of 2020 as well as the opportunities for being a member of a team through clubs, Open House planning, group projects, selectives and surgery experiences.

In fact, “being a member of a team” is a skill that requires instructor signature multiple times in the school’s clinical competency tracker and is a necessary skill to graduate. 

Once I started my fourth year, I became a member of yet another team in the Terry Center. Looking back, I am in awe of how this operation runs so flawlessly. As a tertiary care center, the cases that each service sees are complex, often involving more than one service or specialty area.

To watch the way that neurology consults with ophthalmology, the way dermatology leans on cardiology, the way oncology relies on ultrasound, and the way everyone depends on internal medicine is nothing short of stunning. 

Allison Baucom

Baucom with her dog, Tucker, and her cat, Dan. Photo by Sahar Sheikh-Ahmad,

Soft tissue and orthopedic surgery cannot complete their procedures without anesthesia working in full force. Anesthesia cannot work safely without the utilization of the clinical pathology lab.

The clinical pathology lab cannot run samples until they are collected, ordered and sent by the clinical technicians or fourth-year students. The whole operation is mesmerizing and astonishing. It’s a display of pristine teamwork. 

My four years at the CVM led me to realize that veterinary medicine as a whole is about working together as a team. Veterinarians must be able to work with technicians, other veterinarians, specialists and pet owners. Together, we all make the same end goal possible: the best level or care and the most optimal outcome for our patients.  

So, in response to my fear four years ago about no longer being a member of a team: I was wrong. I am so thankful to have been a member of the NC State CVM team, and I look forward to serving as a teammate in the veterinary community.

Allison Baucom is from Salisbury, N.C. After graduation, she will join a small animal general practice.