Final year vet student - struggling with career prospects

laughingoctomom

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2+ Year Member
Jun 5, 2017
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Hi everyone,

I'm currently in my last year at vet school and I'm just feeling super lost.
I've really struggled to get through at times, it has kind of felt like every year I'm always aiming for the pass. I think when you spend so much time just worrying about getting through, the joy and excitement about why you want to kind of just starts to fade. I feel completely useless at everything, and I can't imagine next year going about calling myself "Dr" and having people trust my advice and decision making.

I find it really disheartening when I hear my classmates talk about how they have an insane passion for medicine or surgery etc and are applying for internships, or how they can't wait to move somewhere and do x/y/z. I feel like I have no idea what I want to do, nor what I should do.

I was trying to re-examine why I started, and what areas in clinic I really enjoyed but I mostly just recall intense feelings of anxiety and pressure. I know there are so many different areas to go into - but I'm worried say, that if I start in Government (for example), I'll forget how to be a clinician. Or that I'll just go into small animal GP and later on develop a passion in large animal repro that I'm too unskilled to start.
I don't know.
I just feel lost.
Has anyone been in my shoes? How did you find your passion and navigate all this stuff?
Any and all suggestions welcome :)
(Also I do go to therapy, so that base is covered at least lol).
 

itsrocky

Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride!
2+ Year Member
Nov 17, 2018
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Hi everyone,

I'm currently in my last year at vet school and I'm just feeling super lost.
I've really struggled to get through at times, it has kind of felt like every year I'm always aiming for the pass. I think when you spend so much time just worrying about getting through, the joy and excitement about why you want to kind of just starts to fade. I feel completely useless at everything, and I can't imagine next year going about calling myself "Dr" and having people trust my advice and decision making.

I find it really disheartening when I hear my classmates talk about how they have an insane passion for medicine or surgery etc and are applying for internships, or how they can't wait to move somewhere and do x/y/z. I feel like I have no idea what I want to do, nor what I should do.

I was trying to re-examine why I started, and what areas in clinic I really enjoyed but I mostly just recall intense feelings of anxiety and pressure. I know there are so many different areas to go into - but I'm worried say, that if I start in Government (for example), I'll forget how to be a clinician. Or that I'll just go into small animal GP and later on develop a passion in large animal repro that I'm too unskilled to start.
I don't know.
I just feel lost.
Has anyone been in my shoes? How did you find your passion and navigate all this stuff?
Any and all suggestions welcome :)
(Also I do go to therapy, so that base is covered at least lol).

I’m glad you’re going to therapy! It’s a good start as far as finding yourself and setting your priorities go. Not trying to minimize your feelings here, but I would wager you have classmates that feel the exact same. Its a combination of burn out combined with anxiety for the future. Pretty normal if you ask me. It’s totally ok to feel lost at this point. Clinics is the time to get externships and opportunities to help you figure things out. I left vet school as much as I could 4th year. Clinical practice is nothing like vet school, so you may find you enjoy it a lot more. I’d hold out and see what this year holds—you might be surprised :)
 
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CalliopeDVM

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Nov 21, 2010
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  1. Veterinarian
First, know that you're not alone, and there have been lots of vet students who have felt that way. And also know that practice is very different than vet school -- I know of more than a few vets who hated vet school, but are happy being a vet in clinical practice. Don't take your feelings now as a sign that you'll feel the same way once you're working.

Not everyone has a "passion" that they have to follow, and that's why I sorta really hate that term. We can just "like" things, and we can just "enjoy" what we're doing and not be "passionate" about it, and that's still good. You can be passionate about a hobby, or a political cause, or a pet....or nothing at all. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that we must always have something we're passionate about or life isn't any good.

If you find you want to switch paths later in your career, you can (physical considerations and location dependent)......the most important skills you have are about understanding the basics and knowing how to learn new stuff. You won't be able to switch from small animal GP work to bovine repro right away, but if you wanted to you could do some research, attend some seminars, take a few CE courses, and learn what you need to know enough to get a job and start.

By the way, the VIN Foundation has a lot of support materials for students and new grads; some of them you need to be a VIN member to access, but VIN membership is free for vet students (if you're not already a member). A New Veterinary Graduate; one of those supports is a confidential and free online support group for vets called Vets4Vets. You do not have to be a VIN member to get help, so it is available even if you don't keep your VIN membership after graduation.
 
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DurzoBlunt1221

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May 19, 2020
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  1. Veterinarian
Just want to say, don't focus too much on the people in your class with "passion". In my vet school experience (I was a very disillusioned student) all that "passion for medicine" and "i need to be the absolute best or I'm doing a disservice to my future patients" nonsense is often bravado from insecure people who need to convince themselves or they are just trying to fit in with the other weirdos that live eat and breathe vet medicine in school. I have a lot of interests outside of school and the secret to not lose your mind completely is to balance those all out so you don't become one dimensional and boring. Sounds like you are taking care of yourself and your mental health which is the most important thing here. The rest will start to come together once you work out what you want and how to get there.
 
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