Royal Veterinary College c/o 2021

image.pngHi! My name is Alli and this fall I’ll be trading in my New England life for 4 years in the original England! London to be exact.

A little about me: I am 25 years old from Eastern CT. My family has always had dogs, lots and lots of Labradors (currently at 6). While I was in high school we even bred labs for a few years. Even with all my crazy dogs, I always wanted to be a teacher. Once I started freshman year of college I realized it wasn’t for me, so I transferred schools and changed my major to Animal Science and worked with as many 4 legged friends as I could. It took me an extra year to finish my undergraduate degree thanks to my full time job and organic chemistry 2, then I ended up not applying for vet school in my last year of undergrad. In the end it was for the best; I got a job as a vet tech at a small animal practice and gained TONS of experience. I learned to love small animal practice, which I never thought I would say. I had always imagined a mixed animal practice, with lots of horses and I thought small animal only would be boring… it’s not!

Even though I love my job as a tech, I couldn’t give up on being a vet. So after a great year at my current job, I completed the VMCAS. I applied to 11 schools, and I was offered 5 interviews, attended 4, and recieved 1 offer first, then 2 offers off the waitlist. After days of debate, I couldn’t pass up my wildcard first offer at RVC.

I will be leaving everything that won’t fit into two suitcases as I head off for a crazy adventure in England. I’ll be even be leaving my 11 year old lab with my mom because she can’t fly :(. Still, I am looking forward to all the opportunities I will have in and out of school while I work towards being a real vet! I am simultaneously scared out of my mind and jump-up-and-down excited, but there is so much to do before I leave, I should be keeping pretty busy this summer!

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So you want to be a Cow Vet (OSU c/o 2019)

Hello fellow future veterinarians,

My name is Jackie Lee and I’m a rising third year at “The” Ohio State University. I would like to start by thanking Erika for the invitation to author some veterinary school ramblings. I am looking forward to chronicling my path to becoming a full fledged cow vet and to sharing my experiences with other vet students.

So to begin, a little bit about myself. I am a ruminant person – specifically, all things dairy cattle and sheep. I am going to talk about how I became one of those crazy cow-vet-wannabes and offer some advice to those who might be considering a career in dairy medicine.

I am originally from a (used-to-be) farming town in northeast Connecticut. Our little town is known for having the largest number of dairies of any town in CT. I became familiar with some of the CT dairy industry when I worked on a dairy during the summers of my undergraduate career. Actually, working on that small 70 cow dairy and riding along with one of our local cow vets is what first inspired me to consider dairy medicine. Not only was I fortunate enough for that experience but I also grew up on a small hobby farm where we raised beef cattle. I am  engaged to a dairy farmer and professional sheep shearer – hence how I become acquainted with a fondness for those wooly four legged devils. We have a profitable sheep business together selling breeding stock, market lambs and quality wool. So, if you ever wanna talk sheep, let me know!

Now is probably a good time to say – I do NOT think that you need a farming background to be a large animal vet. However, you need to be motivated enough to learn on your own because vet school does not prepare you to know the farming way of life.  I would highly recommend visiting farms as well as riding with a cow vet if possible. It is often easy to visit dairy farms – many times, a simple phone call to the dairy to ask if you can visit is all that it takes. Another option is to get a farm job part time if you can manage it. I got a job during my second year of vet school on our university dairy and I’ve continued to learn there. It is also great for my sanity because I love working there with the cows and it provides me with a break from vet school. Finally, join a food animal club if your vet school has one. OSU has a very prominent food animal club that offers lectures and wetlabs on a variety of food animal topics which really helps supplement core curriculum. Basically, it really helps to immerse yourself in the farm environment one way or another – you can’t learn the farming way of life entirely from a book or sitting in class.

And it truly is a way of life. When you are a dairy vet, your job is to help make it a well managed, profitable business through the health and welfare of the cows. You are married to the dairy and their problems are your problems. Even if its 3 AM on a Sunday morning or during Christmas dinner. In my opinion, farmers have one of the most honorable professions in the world with some of the highest responsibility – feeding the people of this earth. Dairying is perhaps the most difficult way of farming compared to beef ranchers, poultry and pig growers though each has their own set of challenges. They work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year and you should expect to do the same if you are on their team.

Ok, down off my soap box now.

Another piece of advice that I can offer to you is to get hands on experience during your free summers. It is so incredibly invaluable especially in the large animal field because we don’t always have as many large animal clinical opportunities in school as we do compared with small animal. For example, my first year summer I externed at four mixed animal practices. I started to learn basic cow vet skills that you need to know such as palpation and DA surgery. This summer, I have six externships which are mostly dairy exclusive or large animal mixed practice. I will be blogging about some of those as the summer goes on.

Finally, be as proactive as possible about your physical health if you want to be a cow vet. It is a physically demanding career, more so than small animals many times so you need to be strong. To clarify, I’m not talking about being hulked out, could-be-a-WWE-wrestler strong. You can be a small person (like my 5’4” self) and still be a good cow vet (trust me, I’ve seen it), but you really need to have some reserve strength. You also need to think smarter than say a 6 foot tall, 200 pound male cow vet. What I mean is, be more creative when we are not strong or big enough to get the job done the traditional way. We sit in class all day and see our muscles atrophying before our very eyes so when we get to the summer it can be a little bit of a shock to our body. I took up long distance running to establish physical endurance and I maintain core strength through my work at the dairy. It has truly helped me maintain physical strength so far this summer so I’m going to stick with it.

Well, that is all the advice I can think of for now for other aspiring cow vet wannabes. My first cow vet-student chronicle will be on my bovine externship in New Mexico – stay tuned!

 

 

SGU c/o 2021

Hey guys, my name is Colleen!

A little about me: I obviously love animals and all things medicine. I also love the outdoors. I’m an equine enthusiast, but when I can’t get to the barn I love riding my dirt bike around off road. I am also an avid reader and not ashamed to admit that I am obsessed with Harry Potter to the point where it may actually be weird. (Go Ravenclaw!)

My past and plans

I will be living in the Caribbean for the next three years starting in August. I just graduated from my undergraduate institution after 5 years instead of the traditional four. I spent the first two years of college in engineering and found it really wasn’t for me. All that math and coding and sitting at a desk all day just didn’t suit me.

I managed to squish all of the required shadowing hours and extracurriculars into the next two years. Now I am headed to the Caribbean! Not much of a beach person (I’m from Florida) but I think I can swing it. I will be bringing my bunny Pickett with me. At home I have a dog and cat.

I am keeping my mind open, but I have interests in exotic animal medicine, oncology, pathology, and various other areas. My dream job would be a zoo vet but we will see where I end up.

I do have a significant other, but he will not be accompanying me to Grenada because he is in Australia finishing up his master’s program in engineering. This next adventure is for me to face on my own and I am very excited!!

Please let me know if you have any questions about being an international student, caribbean vet schools,  admissions, or life in general.

Oklahoma State c/o 2021

Hello!

My name is (also) Emily, but for the purpose of avoiding confusion I’ll refer to myself as Em in my posts. I’m happy to be representing Oklahoma State University’s veterinary school on Destination Doctor and will be glad to answer any of your questions as they come up. I will begin veterinary school as a first year this upcoming August.

A little about me.

I was one of many who knew that they wanted to be a veterinarian from a young age. I was fascinated with animals and the outdoors and was known for domesticating strays and feral kittens in my backyard before re-homing them. I also once, as a ten-year-old, tried to rehabilitate a half-drowned grasshopper that was essentially paralyzed by hand-feeding it blades of grass and droplets of water on leaves. Needless to say, I was a little strange. But I’d probably still try to rehabilitate an insect if you brought one to me, though I do prefer mammals at this point. When I’m not doing veterinary medicine related things, I’m usually spending time with my large family of eight. I’m also an avid reader of fiction, preferably set in the Victorian Era, because who doesn’t love a romantic, 1800s kind of guy and elaborate gowns with giant hoop-skirts and corsets?

victorian

See what I mean?

My path to veterinary school.

I hadn’t really seriously considered veterinary school until my freshman year of college. Before then, I had just viewed it as a distant dream. But once college began, I really started to focus on gaining experience (as I started out with zero) and spent a lot of time at a veterinary hospital near my home where I worked, and continue to work with, the greatest mentor in a veterinarian I could have ever hoped for. I probably would not have made it this far without her. So find yourself a good mentor! It’s important. I also have spent many, many hours as a med tech at a kitten rescue which has been an invaluable experience and also a great stress-reliever. Just last week I sat on the floor in one of the rooms and was swarmed by nineteen kittens. Yes, nineteen. If that’s not heaven, I don’t know what is.

These kittens are from another day. I love how the two kittens on top are tapping my head to make sure I’m still alive and wasn’t smothered by their adorable roommates.

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I devoted most of my time to academics and took a relatively high course load in order to be on track to enter veterinary school after three years, rather than four. Although skipping senior year is not for everyone, I felt like I had experienced all of undergraduate that I needed to and was ready to move on to bigger and better things, i.e. vet school (and, of course, avoiding an extra year of accumulating more debt).

And so here I am! I’m looking forward to blogging through these crazy four years.

Em

Cornell c/o 2021

Hello everyone! As we’re coming into summer leading up to this grand new adventure I thought I ought to introduce myself. My name is Emily, I’m a 25yr old incoming DVM student at Cornell University. I’m excited to be joining my fellow authors in chronicling the chaos into which we are about to descend.

My path into veterinary medicine was a little tumultuous. I attended a small unknown liberal arts college for my Bachelor’s in Biology, but that wasn’t my goal when I started. Leading up to late in my sophomore year in college I had no interested in veterinary medicine or the sciences at all. My goal was to become a financial auditor (exciting, I know). I stumbled into this field as a result of a volunteer position the summer of 2011 that turned into a job and then, well, turned into a passion.

I first applied to veterinary school for the class of 2018. I applied to my in-state school and a few others, a fairly narrow net that included Cornell. I had strong academics but little name recognition, and only a year or so of experience as an assistant in a small rural clinic. I was rejected outright from everywhere but Cornell, where I was waitlisted. That experience, combined with some major changes in my personal life, led to me to question my commitment to the field and ultimately remove myself from the waitlist.

In the interim I tried everything I could to find something else I was passionate about. I debated nursing, pathology, cooking, and a host of other assorted fields. But I kept ending up back in veterinary medicine. When I applied again this past cycle (with the push of a very supportive spouse), I promised myself it would be the last time. My grades had not changed but I had nearly ten times the amount of experience now with some added variety (wildlife rehabilitation, emergency medicine, specialty care). I applied to  five schools and was rejected from two, waitlisted at one, and accepted to UC Davis and Cornell.

Deciding to attend Cornell was complicated, and my spouse’s job ended up making the bulk of my decision for me. We will be in a long distance relationship throughout the next four years, something which admittedly scares the hell out of me, so I’m going in to the c/o 2021 full tilt with the goal of making what we want in our life happen and still trying to stay sane. At this point my interest lies mainly in small animal emergency, but that tends to change for a lot of people during school as they get more exposure.

I have two small dogs living here in Ithaca with me, both Cornell patients as well, so I’m sure you’ll hear a little about their adventures too.