One of the things Dr. Goodwin told me would be the best thing I could do for my career at this point is to take a week or so this coming winter break and network. Visit facilities, shake hands, and meet people who might be hiring when I graduate. Since I live in Spokane and two major lab animal facilities are just a short jaunt away in Seattle - the University of Washington's Comparative Medicine Department and the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center - I decided to contact them about possible job shadowing opportunities.
UoW was very prompt to reply and although initially we were trying to arrange an externship where I would actually be on rotations (surgery, necropsy, etc.), the dates did not allow that as most of the faculty and staff would be away for the holidays. Instead we're arranging a week where I come and do a facility orientation and shadow the vets on their daily activities.
The Fred Hutchison Center has also been in contact but the director is away at a conference for the next few weeks, so we're supposed to speak again and make arrangements for a visit the same week I'm in Seattle at UoW when he gets back.
This is a hugely amazing opportunity and I am so grateful to Dr. Goodwin and both facilities for working with me to allow this to happen! Unfortunately it means I won't be seeing my family this break. The week that I originally would have spent at home with them I will now be in Seattle working. I had to call and cancel my flights and rebook new ones yesterday. The good news is that I have $300 in credit from Frontier that I can maybe use for a brief 2-3 day visit home if my budget allows it in December.
I'm nervous and thrilled at the same time. I want to learn a lot from this experience, but at the same time I have to impress future colleagues.