Factors when picking a school

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by whyrightmeow, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. pinkpuppy9

    pinkpuppy9 Illinois c/o 2019

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    This is a bit more controversial, but some LA clinicians also probably don't want students who have zero interest in working with large animals. It can be hard to show that you aren't okay with being elbow deep in an animal, covered in poop, etc. They're there to teach those who want to learn as well as practice good medicine. Even just in our labs so far, there is a hint of frustration when the majority of students are only there because they have to be. I do feel bad/like I'm wasting their time, but we have to be there even if I have absolutely no interest in doing a rectal on a pissed off mare.

    Part of the reason that my school did away with tracking entirely is because our large animal track had more elective blocks. Students who wanted more externship time would take the LA track, despite having zero interest in large animals. Supposedly it was a point of frustration for the LA faculty. We still have core rotations we all have to take. Equine medicine, equine surgery (yeah, they're two separate blocks :rolleyes:), food animal management. Our anesthesia service also does both sides of the hospital so you get your LA anesthesia there (not sure if that's a universal thing for vet schools or not). We can't avoid large animals completely.
     
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  3. Lab Vet

    Lab Vet Resident, Laboratory Animal Medicine

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    It's just my opinion. Plenty of people disagree with me. I'm fine with that. I'm one of those folks who pines for the romantic notion of James Herriot as the archetypical veterinarian- interested and capable of performing basic medicine on all sorts of different species. Yes, I get it- that sort of thing doesn't really exist anymore in today's world. I've found that some of my classmates are very happy in their own bubbles- i.e. ONLY interested in dog/cat practice, would NEVER have any interest in working on a horse. I've never had that mentality, so I guess this fierce devotion to one or two animal species just surprised me. I'm much more of a generalist myself. Neither is right or wrong, just different. You and @kcoughli are right about the mixed track. Even for schools with strong tracking curricula, mixed is always an option for students. That's probably the way I would have gone had I not been committed to lab animal.
     
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  4. Lab Vet

    Lab Vet Resident, Laboratory Animal Medicine

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    I figured prospective zoo vets would be the most 'generalist' of us all (in terms of species coverage). Is that not the case? What about all of the hoofstock present in today's zoological facilities- they make up a large percentage of the census? What's the difference between working on a Zebra or Oryx as opposed to a horse or domestic ruminant?

    I guess I'm just generally surprised by how 'uninterested' some of my classmates are in large animal/production medicine. Casting a net for opinions here- do you think it's because of society's loose connection with agriculture these days? I've certainly witnessed the disinterest you describe here in my own labs at school, and again, was disappointed. To each their own, I just really enjoyed working with all species in vet school.
     
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  5. JaynaAli

    JaynaAli Need it STAT or want it STAT? They're different.
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    In my experience, most students that are planning to practice only one arm of veterinary medicine get so much tunnel vision about how they’ll “never use this” or “never treat cattle/horses/cats” or whatever. I see this almost daily when we teach chemistry to students and ask them to interpret a cow or horse chemistry. But that septic calf isn’t so different on a physiology level than a septic dog. The cow with LDA is a whole lot like a dog with a proximal GI obstruction. Yes, I see the point that you could be spending your time learning to treat small animals and learn those things too, so the purpose of this post isn’t to say if tracking is good or bad (I went to a school that didn’t track), just that a better attitude about it and trying to learn the info to apply to smallies can go a long way (and vice versa). But the stuff I teach is a required course for everyone, not something that they choose when they track, so I admit it’s a bit different.
     
  6. pinkpuppy9

    pinkpuppy9 Illinois c/o 2019

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    So me personally, I don't like repro and was referring to our repro labs. I actually really love horses, and I don't mind large animals besides repro. I have some horse experience, but one of our labs required us to get up close and personal with a bull and I was a little nervous about it.

    If I ever make it to zoo med, I see myself consulting with a theriogenologist anyways (as many zoos do) because you can't exactly make a mistake with AI, yanno? Some zoo vets do use their repro stuff from school, but there are also theriogenologists that travel to all the big zoos for this stuff too. It just depends on the genetic value of the potential offspring, funds, and so on. The majority of my zoo years, I saw zoo vets bring in boarded veterinary dentists, a human gyno, a veterinary repro specialist, and more. Remember that they are generalists, so like any GP, they'll refer for things out of their zone of expertise.

    I think a student isn't interested in large animal med because they weren't exposed to it as a prevet (or they were, and didn't like it). They went to school to do small animal GP, so I don't really see why there's a bit superior attitude coming from you about this. I'm sure you didn't mean to come across this way, but now you're bringing up society and trying to find a reason as if there's something 'wrong' with not wanting to work with large animals. Many/most of the large animal people I know have zero interest in working with small animals, so we might as well bring that into the picture instead of picking on people who never want to touch a cow. I feel like a large animal practitioner is far more likely to end up seeing a few cats/dogs here and there than a SA practitioner is to see a horse/cow. :shrug: Gotta look at both sides of the coin here. Also, what is it to you whether your classmates are interested or not? They're not there to meet your expectations of them.
     
    #1105 pinkpuppy9, Jan 26, 2018
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  7. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango
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    I do, too, actually. And I'd love to treat a vast array of patients.

    But that just isn't the real world (at least, in this area) anymore. :(

    Truth be told, I kinda go back and forth. On the one hand, I love the "treat all types" (including wildlife), and I'd enjoy that.

    But on the flip side, I also love that I can deliver a near-human-medicine level of capability that just isn't possible in the James Herriot-style of veterinary medicine. I love that I have ventilators, and fluid pumps/syringes, and scopes for every part of the body, and CT/MRI, and a chemo hood, and oxygen cages, and ultrasounds .... all that jazz.

    Kinda hooked both ways?

    I would love to go spend time vetting other creatures. I volunteered with wildlife before vet school and really would love to spend time there. But, yanno, they have wildlife vets there full time (2 of them). Kinda hard to branch out once you get a job and start focusing.
     
    #1106 LetItSnow, Jan 26, 2018
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  8. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango
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    I'm betting it's multi-factorial.

    1) There may be more interest (less disinterest) than you think for some people. I actually love all of it - I just can't viably give attention to it, and needed to really focus my learning on what I'd be doing. Practical over romantic, I guess.

    2) Definitely I think part of the loosening connection to agriculture plays a role. My kids see a cow and .... it just doesn't mean anything to them. No connection to "hey, that's where you get your milk and burgers from."

    3) Specialization: With vet med becoming more deeply specialized ... some people come in with that intense focus. Not so much that they don't care about other things like LA - just that they're hyper-focused on their area of interest and planned specialty.

    4) Cost: Vet school is just so damned expensive ... it's really hard to taking on that much debt to learn something you don't plan to use.

    5) ...?
     
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  9. pinkpuppy9

    pinkpuppy9 Illinois c/o 2019

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    To be fair, generations above me are very much the same way in my experience. I think agriculture has been separated from most peoples' lives for many generations now. Either way, no kid can be expected to have an understanding of agriculture if they aren't taught/exposed. It's becoming less and less important to society since family farms are practically extinct and it's just not an aspect in peoples' lives anymore.
    If you really wanted some wildlife stuff, you could always accept wildlife in order to triage and then sent them to a rehab center. That's pretty valuable, especially in areas with no local rehab places, or places nearby but with no on staff vet. Even just being willing to euthanize a dying HBC something as a 24 hour clinic is a pretty great thing to do, assuming it could be funded. I know it's not exactly wildlife rehab, but it's getting those different species that require unique medicine that you probably miss. Just a matter of getting word out that you're willing to do it.
     
  10. WildZoo

    WildZoo Illegal in all 50
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    Just not ferrets, amirite? ;)
     
  11. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango
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    Weasels in general, I think. That whole family can go ‘way.
     
  12. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango
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    I think it's definitely changing. I mean, I'm nearly 50, and it is very, very different than when I was a kid.

    I think some families have been separated for many generations, for sure. Kinda goes without saying. But I think a much larger percentage of the population is separated from it now. And that's probably supported by the general shift in population from rural areas to metropolitan areas.

    I agree, you can't expect a kid to have much understanding if they don't have exposure. I wasn't make a judgmental statement about it - just a factual one.

    It's unfortunately not that simple.

    There are two places in the Twin Cities that see emergent small mammal pet cases, for instance. I, on the other hand, don't have the facilities for them - we don't see them, so we don't keep appropriate food, caging, etc. I'm not up to date on the medicine. So it would be folly for me to say "sure, let me treat your emergent bunny case" when there are much better places for them not very far away.

    Similarly with wildlife - It's also not as simple as what I'm willing to do. I have to consider lots of factors: Do I have the facilities? Do I have the techs? Do I have the *time*? We are generally slammed taking care of what we're designed to see - it would be doing a disservice to those cases for me to expend inefficient time seeing cases we're not set up to see. How exactly am I going to see those wildlife cases and keep them overnight before transferring to rehab? I'd need appropriate housing, appropriate food ... I'd need to sit down and consider infectious disease issues ... I'd need to think about how they would impact my ICU nursing staff load ....

    It's just not as simple as "Hey, LIS wants to see some wildlife, let's go for it." Not in a busy referral center like our practice, anyway.

    Think about this: Even the UMN VMC doesn't see wildlife or companion small mammal cases. There's probably a reason.....
     
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  13. WildZoo

    WildZoo Illegal in all 50
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    But look at my avatar! So cute!
     
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  14. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango
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    Cute is often the most dangerous. And evil.

    Sucker you in with cuteness.

    Right before they eat your face off.
     
  15. Dogtor1457

    Dogtor1457 MWU C/O 2021
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    1st year at MWU:

    Pros: Beautiful campus, wonder weather, tons of live animal experience, smaller class (our class started with 114 but was only supposed to be 100), all the classes are recorded so you can go back and re-listen to lecture, getting surgery experience as early as first year (i have already done 3 cat neuters & during second year, we do all canine/feline spays and neuters), professors have an open door policy so it's really easy to find them, buildings are open from 5am-midnight so you have access during those times, super nice counselors, there are two learning specialists to help you figure out a way to study, professors really care about your grades and helping you out, there are always post-exam reviews where you can review the test and look at the ones you got wrong, the small animal clinic is SO PRETTY, free tutoring through student services

    Cons: quarter system (I actually really hate it), anatomy lab is not well structured, new school so they are still trying to figure out the curriculum, parking (not that terrible... there are a lot of students here but it's free), the large animal part is not very good (they are working on it though), really focused on One Health so that's kind of pointless if you aren't really into that stuff, small gym, SO EXPENSIVE
     
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  17. WildZoo

    WildZoo Illegal in all 50
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    Sounds like me tbh :thinking:
     
  18. pinkpuppy9

    pinkpuppy9 Illinois c/o 2019

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    Never said it would be simple.

    I'm certainly not trying to pressure you into trying to see wildlife, but if you want to chat about it more off the thread just for s's and g's, I'd be happy to :)

    Tbh, I walk a lot of GP/emergency clinics through stabilization/triage of wildlife before they can transport them to us and you have the same concerns many of them bring up, which often have reasonable solutions (such as don't even worry about feeding, keeping them in a carrier or even a box overnight is fine, etc.). Again not trying to make you feel like "oh, it's easy, you should be doing this!" or anything, I get that your staff/hospital may not want anything to do with wildlife and that's fine. Also can't do much beyond euthanasia if you guys are slammed all night.

    I think a veterinarian is involved in aspects of One Health by default. You don't have to be in a research/government/etc setting in order to have a role in protecting humans/the environment/other animals.
     
  19. DVMDream

    DVMDream Don't disturb the snowflakes
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    And hopefully they expand their ER services before you get to final year. I am curious do they ship students out for certain rotations because as a vet practicing in the area, I haven't been impressed when I call them regarding an ER case and they basically say "we can't deal with that". So, really, they aren't set up any better than a GP clinic at this point.
     
  20. ziggyandjazzy

    ziggyandjazzy Oregon State c/o 2022

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    Oregon state doesn't have SA ER currently but they have an ICU. Would you see that as a downside?
     
  21. Ashgirl

    Ashgirl Pokemon Academy c/o 2018!

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    I'm just curious, but I wonder if not having an ER would affect caseload a little? For instance, a lot of our transfers to different services come from our personal ER, which seems to be quite an additional boost to the things you see on onco, soft tissue, ortho, neuro, cardio, etc etc etc. Plus if you have an ER you have a benefit of having an ER rotation itself and can learn a ton, though some people would love it or hate it depending.

    ETA: I found some VIRMP data that says OSU sees 10,000 SA cases a year while other schools see something along the lines of 18,000, 20,000, etc. However, this could be due to other things like newness, location, etc. And they do have a small class size so who knows it might all be about the same in terms of caseload experience.
     
    #1119 Ashgirl, Jan 28, 2018
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  22. ChoopLoops

    ChoopLoops NCSU c/o 2022 :)

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    @Ashgirl can you point me to where on that site you found the caseload data? Would love to see how different schools compare...
     
  23. Ashgirl

    Ashgirl Pokemon Academy c/o 2018!

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    Here ya go!

    VIRMP: Program Search
     
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  24. ziggyandjazzy

    ziggyandjazzy Oregon State c/o 2022

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    OSU's class size is just over half the size of most schools so I would imagine it would be quite equal. They are also in the process of expanding their hospital (with 50 million dollars) and I would imagine that would increase the caseload by quite a bit. Their hospital works as referral only but I do wonder if that is going to change with the expansion also.
     
  25. DVMDream

    DVMDream Don't disturb the snowflakes
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    ICU is going to give you some ER training. Midwestern doesn't even have an ICU based on my conversations with the staff over there.
     
  26. ziggyandjazzy

    ziggyandjazzy Oregon State c/o 2022

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    I guess they at least have a teaching hospital. I recently learned some of the newer schools don't. I think LMU and Western. What do the students even do for their clinical training? Is it all off-site? I guess it doesn't matter much to me because I didn't apply there but I am curious.
     
  27. SkiOtter

    SkiOtter c/o 2022

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    Yep all off site, at least for Lmu
     
  28. DVMDream

    DVMDream Don't disturb the snowflakes
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    I mean, teaching hospital is great, if it can teach. I'm hoping their students can do off site training but I'm not sure, hence my asking the person above who is at Midwestern.
     
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  29. vetmedhead

    vetmedhead Allied to the landslide

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    Yeah, a lot of the newer schools have been doing this style of "teaching hospital" where instead of having students on rotations at an actual teaching hospital on-site they rotate them out into clinics and such in the area for their fourth year. My guess is that doing it this way circumvents the rather large funding and maintenance problem of building, staffing, and running a physical teaching hospital (which is a massive $$$ investment). I'm not sure how students feel about it as I don't know anyone off the top of my head that I keep in touch with who's in their clinical year at schools that organize clinics like this but I'm sure like everything else there are some students who love it and some students who don't.
     
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  30. SkiOtter

    SkiOtter c/o 2022

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    And the fact that UTK is like an hour and a half max from LMU and VAMD isnt toooooo far either (under 4 hours) if you were an hour or two on the Virginia side of LMU (so like 2.5-3.5 hours from utk) you’d go to VAMD

    So having a THIRD teaching hospital there and expecting a decent caseload probably wouldn’t be too easy since the other schools are more established and people are probably going to be more likely to make the bit extra of a drive to go to either of those over Lmu.
     
    #1128 SkiOtter, Jan 28, 2018
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  31. WildZoo

    WildZoo Illegal in all 50
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    Just gonna throw in that the increase in case load isn't always a good thing for every service. Like you did there at the end, you always have to take class size into account. UTK class size is pretty small, and our small animal ER puts extra strain on some services that already kind of need more students (students we don't have).

    We're hopeful this will improve with upcoming curriculum changes though, since there will be more substantial overlap in clinics with 3rd and 4th years with the future one and a half clinical years.
     
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  32. Lab Vet

    Lab Vet Resident, Laboratory Animal Medicine

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    Wasn't my intention to sound superior, it was just an observation, and honest question. In my experience, the large animal folks at my school appear to be a bit more willing to step over to the small animal side than vice versa. Not true of everyone, of course, I just get more of an isolationist vibe from the small animal peeps. Of course my classmates owe me nothing- they enrolled in vet school to pursue their own interests/ambitions, and certainly aren't beholden to me. They are, however, my colleagues. It disappoints me when I hear any member of our profession disparage branches of the field 'not their own' as being unimportant or irrelevant. Just rubs me the wrong way, is all.
     
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  33. Lab Vet

    Lab Vet Resident, Laboratory Animal Medicine

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    Aren't all veterinarians, regardless of specialty, focused on One Health to a certain degree? They should be. It's a big part of our job. It's so important that this very concept is incorporated into the Veterinarian's Oath.
     
  34. pinkpuppy9

    pinkpuppy9 Illinois c/o 2019

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    I mean if you have classmates who are legitimately saying LA medicine is unimportant, then that's crappy. If they're just not personally interested, it doesn't mean they don't recognize its importance. I'm fully disinterested in therio, but that doesn't mean I feel it's unimportant.
     
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  35. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango
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    I think it's an accurate observation that LA people are willing to step over the line a bit..... I also think a little of that is practicality - as a SA ER doc, the odds of me having to even vaguely treat a horse or cow or whatever are allllllllmost zero. As close as possible. The reverse isn't true, though. Plenty of LA docs do double duty out on farms and do wellness care for farm pets, etc. And, it's far, far more common for a LA vet to leave LA practice and go SA than it is for a SA vet to leave SA practice and go LA.

    I don't think it is necessarily "disparaging" a branch just because you don't have interest in it. I have TONS of respect for the other branches of veterinary medicine - including yours, pathology, LA practice, food safety, whatever. My utter lack of interest in them doesn't mean a lack of respect or that I disparage them.

    I just know what I want to do, and because of the complexity of modern medicine, I want to be free to focus my efforts on that and not be burdened learning something that I won't use and that other colleagues will know so much better than I will.

    I mean, even if I owned a horse ---- I'd still get an equine vet to take care of it. And one of my classmate equine friends? She relies on a SA vet to take care of her cats.

    That's just modern medicine, I think.

    I don't think it's unreasonable of you to make the observation. But I think you're going a little far when you negatively view us SA people for our focus.
     
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  36. Lab Vet

    Lab Vet Resident, Laboratory Animal Medicine

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    I guess it's my perception. They don't straight up tell me 'LA medicine is useless.' They just grumble when they have to participate in labs, etc. having to do with anything other than a dog or a cat. I hear you on Therio- one of my least favorite classes in vet school. I love physiology, but have always disliked repro with a passion. Something about it, just doesn't captivate my interest. As you said, however, that doesn't mean that it's unimportant. Just the other day, I was in the ER working on some rads, when I caught one of our Therio residents out of the corner of my eye working on a tiny bulldog puppy in an incubator. Mom was having a rough time (several retained feti- headed to surgery), but this little one had a chance to make it. Indeed, she did! The resident did an excellent job, and knows far more about veterinary 'pediatrics' than I ever will. I was really impressed. Different strokes, for different folks. Thank goodness for that. I have classmates that think lab animal vets are the devil incarnate. Nothing I can say will change their mind. I'm fine with folks not having a passionate interest in a field, but I do expect you to give your faculty the attention they and their specialty deserve- for the minimal amount of time you may be exposed. That's all I'm asking. Most people do this (I don't mean to paint the many, many SA practitioners in my class with a negative brush), but I do recall very specific instances of comments being made that were, in my opinion, poorly placed and ill-conceived. That's more of a commentary on the individual, not folks that prefer to be sole SA practitioners.
     
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  37. Lab Vet

    Lab Vet Resident, Laboratory Animal Medicine

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    Totally fair. Sorry if I came across that way. Not my intention.
     
  38. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango
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    I know. And believe me, I "get" your disappointment. Like I said earlier, I share a piece of the romantic idea of earlier vet med.
     
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  39. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango
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    Ha. Thinking about this thread, though.... (And I agree with Lab Vet that students should give respectful attention to all of the teachers/clinicians, not just the ones in their area of interest).... I remember that one of the most disinterested people in my class was a guy who planned on swine medicine. ANY other class and he'd sit there rolling his eyes, popping gum, snoring, whatever. Anything other than pay attention.
     
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  40. Lab Vet

    Lab Vet Resident, Laboratory Animal Medicine

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    Right there. That's the behavior/attitude that really fires me up. Can't stand it. I don't care what you're interested in. Totally uncalled for.
     
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  41. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango
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    Karma took care of it - rumor is he paid for it on NAVLE. :)
     
  42. pinkpuppy9

    pinkpuppy9 Illinois c/o 2019

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    I get it. I had classmates complain about the small handful of exotics lectures sprinkled throughout the three years of our lectures, and those are the only lectures truly applicable to my interests. I have zoo/exotic electives to attempt to bridge the gaps (they don't, there isn't enough time), but LA/SA people still have just as many, if not more, electives given that they have 99.99% of our curriculum.
    Lol, I was the most disinterested person when it came to our swine respiratory and cardio lectures. Definitely not disrespectful, though.

    How did your classmate fare in clinics?

    ETA:
    annnnd there ya go
     
  43. Skimble

    Skimble With Beans
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    There are many areas of vet med that I have ZERO interest in, but I'm SO glad there are people that are not only interested, but passionate about those areas. I also try to make the best of those lectures/labs because I know I won't ever do some of those things ever again, but those skills do carry over to the areas I am interested in. (Anesthesia is the bane of my existence right now, thank DOG other people love it!)
     
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  44. kjl3e

    kjl3e LSU C/O 2022!

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    Thanks for sharing! I am currently trying to decide between LSU and Mizzou and am having a hard time choosing!
     
  45. LyraGardenia

    LyraGardenia Kansas State c/o 2020

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    Just to make sure you're aware, that post is from 2008 so some things may have changed. I'd look at the Google doc for the most up to date info! Vet School Pro/Con
     
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  46. Ashgirl

    Ashgirl Pokemon Academy c/o 2018!

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    If you have any questions about Mizzou you are welcome to PM me as well, I am a 4th year here!
     
  47. kjl3e

    kjl3e LSU C/O 2022!

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    I saw that after I had replied to the post! Thanks for sharing the google doc!
     
  48. migc

    migc LSU c/o 2022

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    I tried searching for this topic but couldn’t find anything specifically relating to it.

    I’ve been accepted to 3 vet schools and have narrowed my choice down to 2 (LSU and Mizzou). I love both and think they both have great things to offer. Mizzou is 2 hours closer to home for me and I’m a huge family person/homebody/plus my boyfriend will be staying in my hometown while I’m in school. But, ever since I decided to apply to vet school, I’ve had my sights set on LSU. Mostly because I considered it my best chance of getting in so it’s the school I focused on. I don’t have an instate school but it’s technically like my IS (Arkansas resident). I’ve visited LSU twice and both times I loved the town and the school and felt very welcomed. I have only visited Mizzou once during my interview and didn’t have the best experience. Granted, this isn’t necessarily Mizzou’s fault because it was freezing and I was grumpy because I was exhausted and had a migraine all day. I’m planning a trip there soon to see it all again and hopefully get a better feel of the town/school.

    My point is that LSU has always felt “right” to me. I never really gave Mizzou a chance until recently when I started to look into their program more. I love their curriculum for the 2+2. Also I should mention- cost is relatively the same because I was offered a contract seat at both and IS tuition for both is extremely similar. So my question is- is overall “feeling” really important when deciding where to attend or is it a decision you should make with your head? I want to be closer to my family/boyfriend but if I turn down LSU I’m afraid I will feel like I’m making a mistake.
     
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  49. Skimble

    Skimble With Beans
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    Given the similarity in cost, I wouldn't discount the importance of being close to family (and maybe less importantly your boyfriend). I'm currently in my 3rd year, and while I'm fortunate enough to still be close to my family, I've seen many of my classmates struggle with times where they wish they were closer to their families. Vet school is really hard, but having a good support system near by does make it a little easier.
     
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  50. migc

    migc LSU c/o 2022

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    Thank you, I’ve been thinking the same thing. Just hard to turn down an offer from the school I always pictured myself at!
     
  51. Skimble

    Skimble With Beans
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    They are both great schools, but I personally think you will be happier at the school that allows you to see family more frequently. There will be things you would love about each school, and things you would hate about both. In the end I don't think you will regret giving up on that school just because it's where you pictured yourself.
     
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  52. migc

    migc LSU c/o 2022

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    I don’t think I will regret it in the long run. It’s just weird having to make such a tough decision because I honestly thought I would be lucky to just be accepted at one school. But it’s a good problem to have!
     

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