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Walabiofzion

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*from a stressed out second year who just finished a frustrating exam*
Feel free to respond to this in any direction you choose. I’m honestly just looking for an affinity group here.

To those who are entering the realm of epidemiology and public health, can you speak to the value of professional school GPA? I am getting my MPH while in vet school, and this semester (fall of second year) has been rough across the board. My first year DVM GPA was 3.65, but this semester, I will likely be closer to a 3.2. The one residency option i’m Interested in is preventive medicine. I know the answer is likely “don’t worry about it”, but I can’t help but stress about GPA. I’ve heard that what a student has done research and professional wise is more important for public health jobs, but I just feel incompetent when I don’t score above an 85% on an exam. I don’t feel like I’m learning what a future doctor/health professional should. Am I just being a worry wart? How do you guys relate your GPA with professional competencies? And most of all - How do you guys enjoy this process of vet school on a daily basis?
 

CalliopeDVM

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Second year of vet school is notoriously and famously the worst -- tough and depressing. While the work may be harder in future years, it also becomes more interesting and relevant, but in second year it's all didactic and overwhelming. I can't comment about the MPH question, but I wanted to let you know that having a rough second year in vet school is very common, and won't necessarily relate to how you will do in future years.
 
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Lab Vet

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I just feel incompetent when I don’t score above an 85% on an exam.

For some classes in vet school, I would argue that this is a very good score. Some of the best veterinarians I know from my class were middle of the road students. Having finished vet school and now well into my first year of advanced training, I can confidently say that grades hardly correlate with the quality of practitioner you'll become upon graduating. I busted my hump in vet school to do well, and don't regret a moment of that investment to 'be the best I could be.' That being said, the work world is far more practical than ivory tower vet med ever was or will be. On a daily basis, I use maybe 25% (on a good day; more like 10-20%) of the information I actually studied in veterinary school. The rest of the job is field specific, learned in the trenches, and is, for the most part, centered upon your interactions with whatever interest group your field serves. For me, that's scientists and their staff. For the clinician, that's owners. I'm grateful to veterinary school for teaching me to think like a doctor- and searching for all possible solutions to a problem (clinical and otherwise, i.e. financial). First year of residency has taught me that much of veterinary medicine (at least in my discipline) is a negotiation. Those are skills I may have been introduced to in school, but have a long way to go in terms of perfecting.

Bottom line up front (BLUF; my new favorite acronym): Focus less on numbers in veterinary school, and more on the thought process. Much of the detail to which you're exposed and never use again, you'll forget (and can look up and easily to refresh your knowledge if the need arises). The thought and problem solving process sticks with you, and will serve you well in whatever field you choose. Invest quality time in establishing mentoring relationships in school- your letters mean as much if not more than your grades when applying for positions post-graduation.

Stress less and enjoy it more- it will be over in a blink :)
 
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