Cougar Orientation and Leadership Experience

What do past participants have to say about COLE?

The COLE program had a major impact in my life. When I read that we had to go "camping" for several days, I was definitely apprehensive because I didn't know anyone when I first got there. But after COLE, my group members are my closest friends in the program because we build such a tight bond together.

~~Dr. Rian Calugcugan (Class of 2015)~~ 


COLE was a great chance to get to know some of my fellow students before classes started. It is done without the stress and craziness of classes. You won’t meet everyone, but at the very least they become familiar faces when you get to CVM. This helps set a foundation for the next four years and it will help you start your journey in the right direction. It was this foundation which made four years of vet school better and it eventually better prepared me as I continued on my own journey after graduation.

~~Dr. Michael Clark~~



COLE was a highlight of my vet school experience!  It was awesome to be able to meet my classmates in a relaxed and fun atmosphere, as well as the older vet student mentors and faculty--some of which are still my mentors to this day. (I had so much fun that I went back to COLE twice as a student mentor!)  It was also very helpful to learn about the concepts that are taught at COLE, such as client communication, emotional intelligence, and leadership because I use these skills everyday as a veterinarian.  Overall, the biggest asset of COLE is that it sets the stage for your class to become colleagues instead of competitors and helps you to create bonds of friendship within your class.  By having that framework in place before the first day of vet school starts, it will help you and your class stay strong and stick together as a team when school starts getting tough.

~~Dr. Lisa Otto~~

I think COLE has a very powerful impact on students, though those impacts are hard to quantify.  What I see happening with students is a radical shift in perspective.  For example, talking about letting go of competition and cooperating (reinforced by the group experiential exercises) is really an important shift.  I think COLE also encourages students to think more broadly about themselves and their lives---that their worth isn't just about grades and their profession, but about the kind of people they are.  I think it introduces the idea that the veterinary profession is a people business, and not just a medical one.  I think all the ideas that are introduced at COLE---normal personality differences (as exemplified by the different  MBTI  profiles), servant leadership, emotional intelligence, and coomunication---are all ideas that are expanded upon throughout the non-technical professional curriculum.  To use the metaphor of farming, it's like COLE prepares the ground and plants some seeds that over the next 4 years can grow into maturity.

~~Dr. Carolyn Wyatt~~
WSU College of Veterinary Medicine Psychologist

When I first moved up to Washington, I did so alone.  I was very intimidated by being by myself in a new place and starting vet school.  I don't know if the new students coming in will have heard of the "impostor syndrome", but I definitely had it.  Anyway, COLE was a wonderful means of helping me to understand why I was chosen to be a part of WSU's veterinary program and how I can be of service to the animals and clients I will see, as well as my classmates.  It was also a great way to make friends and get to know people- COLE had a way of creating a sense of teamwork among the new students rather than a competitive atmosphere.  I came away from the experience not only relieved that I knew more about the people with whom I would be spending the next four years, but I started school with so much more confidence in myself than when I moved to Pullman.  After COLE, I knew that with patience, hard work, teamwork, and faith in myself, I would achieve my goal of becoming the best doctor I could be.

~~Dr. Jen Hylin~~

I think COLE is a very good thing – notably for students in the entering class to get to know each BEFORE all hell breaks loose!  Back in my day, we just showed up scared, alone and each convinced we were the dumbest person in the class.  It was terrifying!  This is SO much better.

~~Dr. Steve Hines~~
Professor of your Immunology and Systemic Pathology courses

COLE was an awesome experience. It gave me a chance to come together with my classmates prior to starting school, and get to know them through games, leadership activities, and down time by the river. COLE provided me with tools to maintain balance in my life during vet school. COLE also gave me the opportunity to meet faculty and staff that I would be working with during my four years at WSU. There was a much stronger sense of camaraderie in my class after our time at COLE. COLE inspired me to get involved in student leadership, and I would encourage you to be open to new experiences during your time at COLE. Relax, have fun, and welcome to the WSU family! 

~~CPT Emily Pieracci, DVM WSU Class of 2009~~
US Army Veterinary Corps

Having students develop some common ground and get to know each other a bit at COLE before classes start has a noticeably positive effect on the environment in the anatomy lab – which is important given how much time the students spend there during Fall semester!  Different students find COLE valuable for different reasons, but a consistent outcome has been that the anatomy labs feel more relaxed from the start, and students are generally a little more comfortable working with their colleagues because a lot of the introductions and ice-breaking have already been done at COLE.  It’s great that students feel better, of course, but it’s valuable from an academic standpoint as well because people learn better when they’re more at ease in their environment.

~~Dr. Leslie Sprunger~~
Professor of your anatomy and physiology courses

Washington State University