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Class of 2022: Friendship, Fun and Photo Dumps

A first-person essay by Allyson Patterson, who after graduation will be completing a Food Animal Internship at the University of Missouri. 

The Class of 2022 arrived at school dressed as Noah’s ark.
The Class of 2022 arrived at school dressed as Noah’s ark.

We forgot there was a career fair that day. In our defense, it was Halloween and we are vet students, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Class of 2022 came to school dressed as Noah’s ark, complete with pairs of giraffes, sharks and birds and even six banana slugs, to name a few. The only word that adequately describes the sight of 100 future doctors talking to job recruiters while dressed as the animal kingdom is “hilarious.” 

When asked about my NC State CVM experience, I don’t think about the exams, the surgeries or the studying. I think about the mischief and memories my classmates and I created.

What makes the Class of 2022 special is that while, like most vet students, we are ambitious, driven and maybe even a little bit high strung, we also really, really like each other. I once described our class dynamic as “obsessed with ourselves, but in a good way,” and I stand by it. We encourage each other professionally and cheer each other on personally. We remind each other of due dates and attend each other’s weddings. We share notes and send gifts when Class of 2022 babies are born (seriously, in the past four years we’ve welcomed six future veterinarians with four more on the way). 

Not only is the Class of 2022 wildly supportive of one another, we also have a lot of fun together. We can find a reason to celebrate almost anything. 

The class also created and sold valentines with the faces of professors as a fundraiser.

Who could forget the Class of 2022 Ugly Holiday Sweater Party, complete with a gift exchange featuring a half-eaten loaf of bread? Or the time we created a video montage in which we made fun of our own first-year vet student naivety and offered practical advice such as “Beggin’ Strips don’t taste like bacon”? Only the Class of 2022 would be brave (insane?) enough to design and sell valentines with our professors’ faces on them as a fundraiser, honoring the tradition of asking forgiveness instead of permission. 

The plates included superlatives, one for each student.

My personal favorite vet school memory is the now-infamous Paper Plate Award Ceremony, a spectacle during which we awarded one another actual paper plates proudly proclaiming hand-written superlatives including “Most Likely to be the Male Protagonist in a Hallmark Christmas Movie” and “Most Likely to Convince You to Adopt a Kitten.”     

Even when we weren’t planning classwide initiatives, the Class of 2022 found ways to create joy in the mundane. Between-class Port City Java runs were an almost daily occurrence among friend groups. Many a snack was shared by being discreetly passed down the rows of North Theater during lectures. We would regularly attend pub trivia in groups of 10 or more, absolutely dominating the “Animal” and “Science” categories. 

When classes moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we stayed connected through our perhaps overly active class GroupMe. Pet photo dumps, the sharing of massive numbers of pet pictures, became a frequent occurrence during quarantine. There’s even a truly outrageous lip sync video of us singing along to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” in some dark corner of the internet.

If I had to describe my class in one word, I would choose “friendship.” If I could choose a second word, I would probably choose “ridiculous.” Through good days and hard times, we maintained our sense of community and our sense of humor. It is a privilege, and a whole lot of fun, to be a member of the Class of 2022.    

  • Allyson Patterson
Banana slugs were part of the Noah’s ark menagerie.