July 1, 2018 at 12:24 pm

Pre-Vet Biology Major Overcomes Challenges for a Successful First Year

Nate Gribble holds his dog

Nate Gribble ’21

by Kristin Distel

Pre-Veterinary Biology student Nate Gribble describes his first year at OHIO as equal parts rigorous and rewarding.

During that first year, he learned innumerable lessons about Biological Sciences—and how to achieve even the most challenging goals.

‘I’m Going to Stick with It’

“I told myself, ‘This major is not going to be easy, but if it’s going to lead me to where I want to go, I’m going to stick with it,’” Gribble explains.

Where he wants to go, he explains, is the East Coast, where he plans to open his own large- and small-animal veterinary practice.

Gribble was reared on a farm that raised 30-50 head of cattle at any given time. He says he loved growing up alongside not only the cattle but also dogs, cats, chickens, and bees. “I love where I come from,” he says.”

“Helping animals is my first instinct, and I’m really interested in the science behind animals. Every animal is different. If you really look at different animals and species, they’re distinct, and that was a big discovery for me,” Gribble explains.

In addition to the skills he gained at his family’s farm, Gribble has become more familiar with animal care through his work.

“I shadowed animal care with [local veterinarian] Dr. Rick Kroner through all four years of high school, and when I graduated, I asked Dr. Kroner for a job. I still work at his practice,” he notes. “Assisting with animals’ surgeries made me realize this is what I want to do. I help pet owners understand what their animal is going through and the importance of keeping animals vaccinated. It’s really rewarding.”

Gribble’s desire to become a large- and small-animal veterinarian led him to major in the Ohio University Biological Sciences-Pre-Professional major, which put his real-world skills to the test.

Ann LaComb ‘Reminded Me That I Can Do This’

Gribble cites the intensive course load and final examinations as teaching him how to dive into difficult academic work while also seeking available campus resources for assistance.

“In spring semester, I had five intensive final exams; I was studying 24-72 hours a week. I worked incredibly hard and even slept at Alden Library sometimes,” he says.

In order to help ensure his academic success throughout his freshman year, Gribble made use of several fantastic campus resources—academic advising, Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL), and learning communities.

Gribble met frequently with Ann LaComb, OHIO’s Pre-Professional Adviser for Biological Sciences. He notes that with her help, the semester became much more manageable and rewarding.

“I met with her a lot, and she made things seem so much better,” Gribble says. “She reminded me that I can do this. I realized that school is going to be hard, but it’s worth it.”

Gribble explains that he knew he could stop by LaComb’s office anytime to ask her questions and seek support and encouragement. LaComb also plotted out the next four years of Gribble’s academic career in preparation for veterinary school.

“I know she’ll be there for me throughout my time at OHIO,” he adds.

‘I’d Tell Any Freshman to Take Peer-Led Team Learning’

Gribble also enrolled in OHIO’s Peer-Led Team Learning courses, which are one-credit classes that allow students to work closely with a peer mentor in a study session setting. He took a PLTL course for both CHEM 1510 and BIOS 1700.

He explains that the extra practice and guidance he received in those sessions raised his grade by 2-3 percent in Chemistry and 5 to 6 percent in Biology.

Man holds dog, standing indoors

Nate Gribble

“I’d tell any freshman to take the Peer-Led Team Learning for biology, especially,” Gribble says. “We usually have a packet to work on, as well as an overview of what we worked on in the two or three previous lectures.”

“Peer-Led Team Learning helped tremendously, and it’s definitely worth it,” he says. “I didn’t think I could earn an ‘A’ in Biology until I got really involved in PLTL.”

Gribble additionally notes the importance of support provided by his Fall Semester learning community.

“I really loved my learning community, and I met a lot of people I still talk to and study with,” he notes. “I’m a commuter, and I work several jobs, so I’m trying to balance study time, work, and a social life. Scheduling study sessions with my learning community really helped keep me on track in my classes.”

Looking Ahead to Veterinary School

With a successful first year under his belt, Gribble is looking to the future. With advising help from LaComb, he plans to apply for early admittance into veterinary school, for which he is now taking pre-requisites. He also hopes to graduate from OHIO after his junior year.

“Right now I’m looking at veterinary schools where I might apply, and I’m hoping to intern at a veterinary hospital in Columbus next summer.” Thanks to Gribble’s hard work and the support of campus resources, his ever-higher goals are rapidly becoming attainable.

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