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Crazy to think Vet School at my Age?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by Mojobaggins, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. Mojobaggins

    Mojobaggins Junior Member

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    Hi All,

    As I am contemplating a career change to Veterinary Medicine, I stumbled upon these forums. I have a read and learned a lot. Similar to Panduh's post, I am seriously considering Veterinary School. However, my situation might be a little more complicated. I apologize for the length of my post but I hope it'll explain my situation.

    I'm a 35 year old male who has gone thru two careers already. My first career was in finance. I got tired of crunching numbers and transitioned to Information Technology. However, the whole time I've never enjoyed my careers. I was good at them and they paid well.

    I've always have had pets(currently have 3 dogs) and loved animals. I have assisted in animal rescue and fostered dogs in the past. Over the last several years, I've thought about becoming a Vet but the thought of many years of school has made me not considerate it seriously. Though, I know I would find veterinary medicine to be a very rewarding and satisfying career, being able to help animals but also their owners.

    Well, I am now seriously considering the options of going back to school. There are a couple of catches but I believe I have come up with a plan that I'd like to run by everyone to get your opinion/advice. I have a BA in Finance, Minors in Economics and History and a MBA. With all of that schooling, I have no applicable science background.

    In order to complete the pre-reqs and gain experience, I am considering the University of Massachusetts at Amherst's Second Degree in Animal Science Program. My BA is from here, so a number of requirements have already been fulfilled outside of the science and animal science classes. UMass at Amherst also has an Early Acceptance Program into Tufts. After my second year of the program, I could apply for early acceptance into Tufts and if accepted, a spot would be reserved for me when I graduate. My goal would be to graduate within 2.5-3 years. During this time, I would also attempt to gain as much hands-on-experience as possible.volunteering/internships. I believe this would be my best means to being accepted into a Veterinary School.

    If I am accepted into a Veterinary program, I am then looking at another 4 years of school. Afterwards, I might be looking at another 3-4 years via an academic internship and residency to specialize(possibly oncology). Thus, I'm looking at becoming a Veterinarian at age 43-47. Am I crazy?

    My friend who is a veterinarian, specializing in neurology, told me the 4 years after school to specialize would include dedicating my life towards the pursuit. I'm currently single, would I have time to actually meet/marry someone, have kids, etc? I've enjoyed being a home owner but would have to sell my house to go to school. After school, all the money I've made/saved would have been used towards financing my education and would hopefully not have had to borrow any. That would leave me with only my retirement savings in my forties.

    I really believe I would love my career as a Veterinarian but I wonder if the enormous sacrifice monetarily, socially and life-wise is worth it. Any advice/opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!

    Best,
    Mojo
     
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  3. HorseyVet

    HorseyVet Senior Member
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    I rearranged a few things you said so I could talk about them together. Some people hate that (=feel they are misqouted), so I appologize up front, just in case....

    Ok, first I think your background/degrees would actually make you *very* valuble as a veterinarian and to the community in general. One thing that is not uncommon for vets is that because they love animals they are crappy with money. That is, there is a constant struggle between wanting to help everything that walks in the door and keeping your business afloat (or evening trying to remember that it *is* a business). There really is a demand and a real need for several types of dual-degree vets....specifically law and business. I'm not saying vets are money-stupid, just that well most of us have far more medicine and science knowledge then money and sometimes it's a real problem--either accidently hurting ourselves or being hurt by others economically.

    You said you might want to specialize and do a residency/intership. Those take a lot of time, but you might be able to supplement youself by consulting while you're in residency. After you're out you might be able to manage both.

    About money- although you said you're tired of crunching numbers, you might enjoy it if it's helping other vets (be better vets through better money management). You're likely to be paid well for your efforts. If I had the choice of taking money advice from a money-only person or a money-savy-vet.....I'd likely choose the vet.

    I'd recommend that you try to take a look at Veterinary Economics (trade journal). If you have problems getting it (or to see if you like it at all), I'd ask your personal vet if they have an old copy (likely they do). It might help you get a better feel.

    I'm guessing you're in MA.... depending on your situation you might want to look for other programs (not that there is anything wrong with your idea, it sounds great, just throwing this out there to give you more options/ideas). A lot of schools offer an accelerated program that is designed for people who already graduated with a non-science degree, that have decieded to go/apply to human medical schools. Although the goal of many of these programs is to help you pass the MCATS, many of the classes are the same as the vet-prereqs. The reason I mentioned it is b/c at some schools they run you through all those courses in a bit faster then if you took them as a typical undergrad. I'd just make sure the program's classes are good with the vet adcoms before you did anything...just an idea.

    As everyone says, if you really want it, do it....I really think you'd be an asset, and again, you might be able to write your own ticket.
     
  4. youthman

    youthman Senior Member
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    If you're located in Seattle, WA - contact Washington State University or Oregon State University, and see what type of program they may have for you as an undergrad, then as a vet student at their school. I know Oregon has a pre-vet option as well as a post-baccaleurate program. Take into major consideration the state which you are currently a resident of. This is the state where you will have the greatest chance of getting into vet school.

    If you're located in MA, definitely do the Adventures in Veterinary Medicine program. It's 1 week and you cover a multitude of topics, including economics. It's very real, and quite priceless if you ask me. There you will also receive great advising on what YOU need to do specifically to get into vet school - and you will meet others in the same boat as you. http://www.tufts.edu/vet/avm/adult.html
     
  5. lazyjayn

    lazyjayn Member
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    You aren't too old. Not untill you're dead.

    I'm going to start sounding like some kinda broken record someday, but...

    you said you're single- is anything holding you in NE? The east coast in general? The US? You might seriously want to check out the accredited overseas schools. Fewer pre-reqs, and since you alread have a degree, you might have *some* of them.

    Otherwise, if I were you, I'd contact a half dozen vet schools I was interested in (or check their web pages) and find out how they deal with non-trads, what the time limits are on their prereqs, and any tips and tricks they might have for you. 2-3 years for pre-reqs, then assuming you get in your first try, 4 years for school...

    Makes running away to another country sound mighty fine. 5 years, and you're out (ok, 6 for netherlands, do you speak dutch?)

    j.
     
  6. Mojobaggins

    Mojobaggins Junior Member

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    Thanks for the replies!

    HorseyVet - I'm currently in Seattle, WA but planning on moving back to MA by the end of the year to keep my residency there. I was looking at the UMass Second Degree Program in Animal Science b/c of it's early acceptance program which may make being accepted a little easier into Tufts(no GRE's required, the highest number of accepted students from a particular school come from this program).

    I did however look into possible Post BAC programs and did find a couple which would allow me to finish my prereqs in as little as 15 months which would be really nice.

    And yes, it would be nice to be able to use my Business background in the veterinary field.

    youthman - Washington State and Oregon State would require me to relocate. And since I'm still a MA resident, if I'm going to relocate, it would probably be back to MA. I did look into the Adventures in Veterinary Medicine. It looks like a great one week program. The program is full til next summer. If I decide to go back to school next spring, I will make sure to apply/enroll for the AVM program for next summer.

    lazyjayn - overseas is a good idea, however, having three dogs doesn't make it very practical or easy.
     
  7. Olddodger

    Olddodger Member
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    Hiya Mojo,

    You're never too old. I'm 38, and just about to start my 3rd semester of pre-recs.

    BTW, professors LOVE older students, as it gives them someone to talk to who will actualy listen to what they have to say.

    I have a degree in Mech E, as well as a Master's in Aviation Science. I'm doing my own post-bacc at a small local university for a bit of damage control and the pre-recs. The school is expensive, but I love the setting, the professors are top notch, PLUS there is a lot of opportunity for undergrads to get involved in research or TAing if you want (I make beer money by TAing a lab section).

    I figure I have another 3 semesters to finish my pre-recs, and I'll apply next year (2007 for 2008). That give me plenty of time to finish school up and get some volunteer time under my belt.

    Oldie
     
  8. lillytwig

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    :thumbup:
     
  9. lillytwig

    lillytwig Membership Revoked
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    my brother says he has older people in his dental class. pilots, attorney, cop i think, the point is, you have time to do something else, and if it is a passion, tackle it!

     
  10. Olddodger

    Olddodger Member
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    Every once in a while I come across a person who says "That's a big risk at your age" to which I reply "true, but I'll be the same age whether I do it or not".

    Oldie
     
  11. Mojobaggins

    Mojobaggins Junior Member

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    Thanks everyone for their replies and support! Olddodger, I'm going to send you a PM b/c I got some questions for you.

    Before I really kick start this new journey, I wonder if I have the grades/experience to be accepted. As an undergrad, I wasn't as dedicated as I should have. And for my MBA, doing it at night and the length of time it took to get it, I slacked at the end.

    Undergrad GPA - 3.1 MBA GPA - 3.2

    I have not taken the GRE's yet but my SAT and GMAT scores were both - 75 Percentile for Verbal and 99 Percentile for Math.

    I have yet to take my prereqs but have identified two post-bac programs that I plan to enroll into. I feel confident that I can finish a post-back program with a greater than 3.5 GPA.

    Sadly, I don't have very much Veterinary experience. I have been involved with dog rescue and fostering. I have spent quite a bit of time with Vets thru various injuries/ailments(blown disk, back surgery, cancer, chemotherapy, acupunture, dental work, etc) that my three dogs have incurred. From those experiences, I have learned a lot from discussions with vets and also from my own research. I also have several vet friends that I have discussed veterinary issues with.

    As I accomplish my post-bac work, I plan to volunteer my time in both small and large animal clinical work. Hopefully, prior to applying to Vet School(Tufts being my number one school), I will have 1,000 or more hours.

    And good or bad, being an asian male I believe may give me some special considerations in the decision process.

    Any thoughts?
     
  12. kate_g

    kate_g Senior Member
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    Heh... Not in California! :) (Asians are nothing special here, I think they outnumber whites in the state as a whole and definitely in the undergrad UC population.) I think overall being male might be more of a novelty for vet school. :) Just a guess, but ethnicity would probably help at the more rural midwestern/southern schools more than than the west coast or any urban area. (Actually you might be able to find admission stats for your schools of interest that include a breakdown by ethnicity...)
     
  13. youthman

    youthman Senior Member
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    Someone posted a link with the ethnic breakdown a while back. kate_g is 100% correct, UCD has plenty of asian males in vet school, but some (actually many) of the more rural schools have 0 asian males. However, I would never count on this to serve as an advantage. A white female with better qualifications than you will still get chosen before you (at least, that is how you should be approaching this).
     
  14. Mojobaggins

    Mojobaggins Junior Member

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    My observation was made from reviewing incoming class demographics of Tufts where I believe there was only one asian male accepted in the last several years.
     
  15. kate_g

    kate_g Senior Member
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    Might just be a fair representation of the applicant pool. I.e. if 1% of the applicants to Tufts are Asian males, then with no special treatment you'd expect 1% of the student body to be Asian males. I'm with youthman, though... Even though the adcom will *probably* give a little extra consideration to someone of unusual gender/ethnicity (even unconsicously if not by policy, just because everyone wants to get their diversity numbers up), you're probably better putting that out of your mind as much as possible, trying to just be as competitive as possible, and *if* you get a little boost from the diversity angle, so much the better...
     
  16. youthman

    youthman Senior Member
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    If there was only one, I believe he was a career changer as well, and actually didn't have much vet experience (the bare minimum). Did his pre-req's through UC extension classes.
     
  17. miltonmcdougall

    miltonmcdougall Junior Member
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    Hi Mojo,

    I'm not that much older than the average student, but I'm probably a bit older than most (27). During interviews, I noticed that the interviewers seemed to view my age and non-Veterinary work experiences a plus. I was accepted to two out of five schools and waitlisted at one, so I suppose it worked. An MBA should really help in starting a practice one day, so I'd push that angle in your interviews.

    As far as the monetary and social issues, I admit that it's a little scary. I'm leaving an established social life while also going into huge debt. Your not having debt after school is a huge plus. If the idea of specializing scares you, remember that you can still work with plenty of oncology patients as a general Veterinarian too. You're never too old to do what you love, but the longer you wait, the more you'll worry. If this is truly what you want to do, go for it. Oh, one more thing...Vet schools are generally populated by large amounts of estrogen. If you're looking to find a woman, what better place than Vet school? :)
     
  18. bclover

    bclover UIUC-CVM Class of 2012
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    Just thought I would jump in...

    Wow! There seem to be more than a few of us that are finally (and I do stress finally!) heading in a direction toward something that we are truly passionate about. Of the previous posts, it looks like I may be even a bit more "chronologically gifted" at the ripe old age of 41 as I make plans for a career change.

    I am in the process of taking a few refresher sciences courses and getting in the few pre-req's that I need (beyond my original BS degree) now, as well as getting my finances together in order to apply within the next two years. I wish I could do it quicker, but my current occupation just demands too much time to do more than one, or at the most two, classes per semester. I work in agriculture now and have personal livestock experience as well as doing volunteering at the local vet clinic, wildlife clinic, etc., but I am a caucasian woman, which are a dime a dozen in the veterinary school application pools these days (why didn't I do this 20 years ago? :rolleyes: )

    I must admit I go through moments (even days) where I wonder just what I am thinking, but I agree with the previous statement that I will be ___ age no matter what (the good Lord willing), so I might as well be doing what I love when I get there.

    One question: the journal mentioned before, "Veterinary Economics," is it currently in circulation? Also, what topic areas does it tend to cover. The whole economics thing is an area of concern as I move toward this dream while trying to not put my husband and our assets in jeopardy.

    Thanks for letting me share!
     
  19. giles

    giles Junior Member
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    Hi Mojo

    Good post.

    Clearly you could become a vet, if you wanted to. As far as figuring whether the sacrifices are worth it, that's a question only you can answer. Although there is a lot of job dissatisfaction amongst vets, there are also some who love what they do, so you might want to investigate this a bit further, to look at the reasons why and see which group you might end up in.

    You should also consider the reasons why so few males apply to vet school nowdays and again see if they might also apply to you.

    If you understand the reality of veterinary work, rather than an idealized picture, and are really sure you would love it, then go for it.

    Good luck

     
  20. chancer

    chancer Membership Revoked
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    It is never too late to do what makes you happy. And look at it this way, you want to spend the next 35 years doing something you don't want to do?

    Or, the next 28 after school doing something you do. A lot of it also has to come down to money and how important that is too you. If you already have money there are several things you can do with it to make you more, as you already know since you have an MBA. However, is more money going to make you happy as a person? In my experience it has been a poor substiute, but having money can be nice too.

    There are also programs overseas such as in Australia that goes stright to vet school. It is 4 sometimes 5 years and the certification will transfer back to the states. You won't neccessarily have to take the pre-req's, as long as you would feel confident you could pass.


    And lastly you could always work part-time in doing something that is a little more enjoyable and volunteer 2 days a week in a shelter. Or, if you have the funds, start your own.

    Good Luck.
     
  21. sambone

    sambone Cornell 2013
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    Someone said something really insightful to me when I was feeling overwhelmed by the time committment (years) of prevet/veterinary school: those years are going to pass by, no matter what you're doing! This is obvious, but not something you really think about much. Hopefully when those years have passed, you'll be happy with the decisions you made before. Anyhow, good luck making this big decision. I'm an oldie too, with a BA in history from a few years back, but spent the last two years working full time and slowly chipping away at prereqs and will finally be able to apply next summer. It feels GREAT!
    and on a side note, I'm asian too-not male though- and crossing my fingers it'll help me out a tiny bit.
     
  22. medtechv79

    medtechv79 Senior Member
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    Hey Oldie,

    I think that's so cool that you are deciding to go back to school...at your age......I am in my mid 20's and starting pre vet prereqs.....I am taking gen chem this semester and see how I do....you're like an inspirations to me as well as the others! its nice to know there are alot of non trads in the same boat!:)
     
  23. medtechv79

    medtechv79 Senior Member
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    I think with yer GPA and background u will probably get in....just do well on the pre-reqs and GRE! I have a cousin in vet school and she said most vet schools typically look at the last 45/60 semester hours u have taken....(roughly if u take the prereqs and more right now, that's already what like 30 hours??) and do well on them they might not look too too much at yer past grades.....I know VA Tech will look at the last 45 sem. hrs if u don't have a cumulative GPA above 3.3 or so?
    Also, I've heard for some people it takes a couple tries to get in....so....don't forget about that!! Yeah too bad u aren't interested in looking at the caribbean...I've heard it might be easier to get into vet schools down there....you get the same residencies as in the states but u will have to move u and yer dogs to another country if yer finances can afford it! Cost of living could be cheaper??? nice sunny days? hahhaha.....I've met a few vets who grad. from Ross University...even some med school grads too! Don't rule out that option if you realize stateside vet schools are hard to get into! (which I know they are)
    But good luck! Go for it! this day and age...so many people change careers whether they're 40 or 50....u only live once.....so do what u want to do! that's what I think!
     
  24. Mojobaggins

    Mojobaggins Junior Member

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    Medtech,

    Thanks for your post! I've been thinking a lot of my situation. Currently, I have my house in Seattle on the market and plan to move back to Boston. The plan was start a Post Bac in Premed this spring. BUT the thought of six years of schooling(Post Bac and Vet School), the $200k+ in tuition/living expenses and starting from scratch(nothing) in my forties has me contemplating to just go back to my IT career. Plus, the thought of having the time to meet someone, get married, kids, etc is something I wonder would be dramatically hampered if I were to go the Vet route.

    Several folks have mentioned studying abroad and I did just look at Ross University's website. How does it rank compared to US schools?

    Well, you've given me some more things to think about. Thanks!
     
  25. are_jay

    are_jay Junior Member
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    I doubt it was even ranked with US schools. But that doesn't matter. The point is to hurry up and get through it (all the coursework will be similar) then back to the US for practical experience. Most schools in the US now allow Ross students to do their 4th year rotations there (I don't know how certain students end up certain places though), and a lot of people spend a year doing an internship after vet school just for the experience, with no intention of doing a residency. Oh and if I remember correctly, Ross is year-round (can also start any time of year). I have never heard anyone say anything bad about Ross. I think it shows some determination because not everyone is willing to pack up and live on an island away from home for several years.
     
  26. Mr.Pants

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    Funny thing to find this thread today...my wife and I have been discussing the logistics of getting me into Vet school. I'm 32 and have been working in IT the last seven years, but have no interest in staying with it as a career. The twist in my situation is that I have spent those years supporting my wife as she finished her undergrad degree and followed it up with, yes, Vet school. She graduated this past spring and is now well into an internship.

    I don't know if I'm crazy or not, but I do know that these past 4 1/2 years have really opened my eyes to the breadth of veterinary medicine and just how fantastic the field is. I have always loved animals, and seeing the ways in which my wife has been able to care for them and the many different avenues of specialization that exist has been inspiring. The prospect of accruing another batch of six figure debt is somewhat terrifying, but if it's worth it, it's worth it, right? ;)

    Our tenative plan would be for me to keep my current job until the completion of my wife's internship, and then go back to school full-time for pre-reqs and gain as much hands-on experience as possible over the two years it would take to complete classes.

    It's scary tho, and many things gnaw at me and threaten my confidence. The fact that my entire family with the exception of my wife will think I'm out of my mind makes it easy to question myself. Am I too old? Did I miss my chance at this? I've already spent gobs of money on school and invested all this time into work, why do it all over? Seeing the replies in this thread are very reassuring; "No, no," and "because it's always worth it to pursue a passion," are great answers to see.

    If anyone else sees this thread and has been in a similar situation or can speak to it, I encourage you to do so. Thanks everyone for the replies. :)

    P.S. About Ross...I know several Rossies and the school there is very intense. Easier to get accepted but very demanding, not to mention relentless as there are no real breaks. Needless to say, they show up in the US for clinics very prepared.
     
  27. artstar

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    Would you believe I am feeling the same way, and I'm going to be 26 in about 2 months? My undergrad degree was in a completely unrelated field, and it's been about ten years since I've taken any science or math...

    But something about being a DVM is very appealing to me, and it's all that I can think of that I want to do. For me the challenge is self-doubt. Like, "sure, you're smart, but what makes you think you could really do this? Go back to reading Shakespeare", etc.

    Glad to know I'm not the only one with doubts. :luck:
     
  28. HorseyVet

    HorseyVet Senior Member
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    I think what's almost more important then "smarts" for the "second career" folks is that the reality of vet med is really what you want to do, as opposed to the idea. Many people have very romantic ideas about vet med.

    Before you go about re-working your (and often your family's) entire life/situation, I really would recomend spending some solid shadowing time at multiple clinics to makes sure it's really what you want.
     
  29. youthman

    youthman Senior Member
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    I must admit, a major concern for me was whether I still had the intelligence to even be competitive in science curriculum. I took a few math classes and it really helped, not only to boost my confidence, but to wake up the parts of my brain that had been asleep for years. It's very much like riding a bike. You're a little shaky at first but soon enough you pick right back up where you left off.
     
  30. MissBehavior

    MissBehavior Junior Member
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    I completely agree. My brain has finally woken up after all those years of not using it! I do still ocassionally have those moments (I'm having one right now!) when I feel like I'm not as smart as I used to be, but they always pass. :) (Although, I haven't started Ochem yet, so we'll see....)
     
  31. youthman

    youthman Senior Member
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    O-chem is in my opinion the first true test of your academic abilities. Think of everything else as just a warm up. I really enjoyed organic.
     
  32. Orthonut

    Orthonut Garryowen
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    pah! I laugh at your discription of "old" I have several classmates who are in the "45-58" year age range.

    So no, you're not crazy. You're crazy if you don't apply.
     
  33. artstar

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    Oh, don't worry, I don't have too many romantic ideas about vet med. It's impossible to have pretty notions about veterinary work when you're in reception. I work at a v. busy clinic in New York frequented by demanding yuppie-types, so you can just imagine the amount of client-related B.S. I have to deal with on a daily basis... not to mention the emotionally draining aspects of dead and dying animals, euthanasia, amputation, over-the-phone triage... For instance:
    Client: "My cat has an ear infection! I want to be seen immediately!"
    Me: "I'm sorry ma'am, we have no appointments today, I can schedule you for tomorrow.."
    Client: "WHAT DO YOU MEAN NO APPOINTMENTS?! WHY SHOULD MY CAT SUFFER?"
    Me: "Ma'am, I'd be more than happy to refer you to the emergency clinic in our neighborhood if you feel strongly about getting your cat seen today."
    Client: "I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU CAN'T SQUEEZE ME IN!!!"
    Etc.

    I'm going to start trailing with techs soon; my clinic has a very good way of turning receptionists into techs, so that's next for me in my grand plan. Thankfully, after the first couple of days (which were very difficult to adjust to), I found vet med all the more enticing.

    My issue has been getting confidence to pursue something so drastically different from my undergraduate degree, when I feel like my brain has been turned to sludge from 3 years of post-graduation angst. :oops:
     
  34. HorseyVet

    HorseyVet Senior Member
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    rofl:laugh:


    It all should come back. I would advise not to be afraid of using whatever resources your university has to offer such as tutoring and study skills classes. Ask your profs. questions. Also don't let the traditional undergrads get you down and/or be intimidated by them. Usually they're yahoos anyway. A lot of schools offer some kind of non-trad. club/services which aren't always made really public...so certainly ask and look for those.

    Good luck
     
  35. artstar

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    When I was an undergrad, I would have scoffed at using tutoring or study skills resources... it's really funny how a little bit of growing-up will change your mind about things, because now I would love nothing better than to utilize those same sorts of resources! And yes: traditional undergrads are most definitely yahoos. Thank you for your kind wishes!
     
  36. Hollycozza

    5+ Year Member

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    Hi Mojo,

    You could save a few years of uni by studying in Australia. Vet is an undergraduate five year degree here, so you could just go straight into a vet course. We have three AVMA accredited schools- Melbourne, Sydney, and Murdoch.

    In my class at Sydney uni we have one person who is 45 and one who must be about 70!!! We have a lot in their 30s too.

    Good luck with it all!!!:)
     

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