doc-to-be

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I'm currently in my first year of med school, and I've got this nagging feeling that I'm in the wrong place...

It's a great med school, but my heart just isn't in it.

Before applying I spent a long time trying to decide between med school and vet school. I'm obsessed with horses and had seriously considered becoming an equine vet, but I think I let my head choose instead of my heart.

Have any of you had this type of experience? Any advice?
 

bern

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Med school was the direction I was originally headed. I figured out it wasn't for me before getting there, but it was a tough decision. Since you've probably already got all or nearly all of the prerequisites needed to apply to vet school, all you'd need to do is take the GRE and get additional animal experience - not so difficult. It would be easier to switch career paths now while you're still in school than after you've gotten your MD.

But admission to vet school can be very competitive, especially if your state of legal residence doesn't have one. Perhaps you could continue attending or take a leave of absence from your medical school for a year while applying to vet school so you don't lose your place there in case it doesn't work out.
 

Julia22

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bern said:
Med school was the direction I was originally headed. I figured out it wasn't for me before getting there, but it was a tough decision. Since you've probably already got all or nearly all of the prerequisites needed to apply to vet school, all you'd need to do is take the GRE and get additional animal experience - not so difficult. It would be easier to switch career paths now while you're still in school than after you've gotten your MD.

But admission to vet school can be very competitive, especially if your state of legal residence doesn't have one. Perhaps you could continue attending or take a leave of absence from your medical school for a year while applying to vet school so you don't lose your place there in case it doesn't work out.
gotta say, i agree with bern - -
i spent 3 years in law school feeling that it "didnt quite fit" but i was stubborn and young and no way was i going to quit - especially since my family was soooooooooo into me becoming a lawyer - - 10 years later it still didnt fit and i was getting stomach aches every morning with the thought of having to go to work and do what i was doing for the rest of my life - - (long story short: i did my research, took a huge cut in pay and lifestyle, got experience and went to a post bac program and am now applying to vet school with people who are almost half my age!)
if you have significant doubts, do yourself a HUGE favor and take a leave of absence to check them out - - you will still have med school waiting if you decide to return, and you may very well save yourself years of a "lousy fit".
i wish i had listened to my own doubts years ago!!!!! its a lot harder to change directions now, than it would have been then! hope this helps!
 

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Julia22 said:
gotta say, i agree with bern - -
i spent 3 years in law school feeling that it "didnt quite fit" but i was stubborn and young and no way was i going to quit - especially since my family was soooooooooo into me becoming a lawyer - - 10 years later it still didnt fit and i was getting stomach aches every morning with the thought of having to go to work and do what i was doing for the rest of my life - - (long story short: i did my research, took a huge cut in pay and lifestyle, got experience and went to a post bac program and am now applying to vet school with people who are almost half my age!)
if you have significant doubts, do yourself a HUGE favor and take a leave of absence to check them out - - you will still have med school waiting if you decide to return, and you may very well save yourself years of a "lousy fit".
i wish i had listened to my own doubts years ago!!!!! its a lot harder to change directions now, than it would have been then! hope this helps!
My story fits - very strong academically, young going into college, took business (I don't know why), graduated with hons at age 19 - worked in finance, currently for an investment bank. The only reason I go to work is to go riding afterwards. I am just about to go and do my post-bacc, and although I am slightly nervous (I am giving up a comfortable living), I am very excited. The good thing for me, is I am only 21 - - so it should be an easier transition.
 

giles

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Julia22 said:
gotta say, i agree with bern - -
i spent 3 years in law school feeling that it "didnt quite fit" but i was stubborn and young and no way was i going to quit - especially since my family was soooooooooo into me becoming a lawyer - - 10 years later it still didnt fit and i was getting stomach aches every morning with the thought of having to go to work and do what i was doing for the rest of my life - - (long story short: i did my research, took a huge cut in pay and lifestyle, got experience and went to a post bac program and am now applying to vet school with people who are almost half my age!)
if you have significant doubts, do yourself a HUGE favor and take a leave of absence to check them out - - you will still have med school waiting if you decide to return, and you may very well save yourself years of a "lousy fit".
i wish i had listened to my own doubts years ago!!!!! its a lot harder to change directions now, than it would have been then! hope this helps!
Wow, your story is similar to mine (except for the lawyer bit). I am 34 and about to apply for vetschool. Drifted through college and corporate life never feeling I was doing what I wanted. Eventually sat down and analyzed properly what I wanted to do with my life. Better late than never, but I wish I had done it at least a decade ago.

It will be tough going back to school at my age (if I get accepted) but I would rather "sacrifice" 4 years of my life now than spend the next 40 doing something I don't like.

And I agree with your advice - doc-to-be, if you're really thinking med school isn't for you, STOP NOW, and give yourself time to work things through. There is no shame in doing that - in fact, it will take more courage than continuing on your current path, you will have to trust yourself rather than other people's advice.

Good luck, I hope things work out well for you.
 

Beauty2597

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Doc-to-Be,

I commend you for realizing this in the middle of your first year rather than after you completed your MD. Way to go!

While I am the traditional veterinary applicant (senior in college etc) I have had some conflicts myself. My parents really wanted me to apply and go to dental school like my father becuase they knew i could/would get in and I wouldnt have to go through the heartache and competativeness of this vet school process. I had gotten a C, I was from the worst state (CT), and I was so down on myself about getting into school. I almost listened and switched from animal science to general biology major...

but then something in my mind clicked and i thought why should i listen to them?? Now, I am going to be attending Illinois CVM in the fall. Really doc-2-be, you need to do what YOU want and dont worry about the stigma of leaving medical school. In the end, it is YOUR life, and you need to do what YOU want and what will make YOU happy.

Good luck! I think I speak for everyone in this forum when I say we will support your decision 100% if thats what you want!

Good Luck Again,

Beauty
 

2quick

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I am also a traditional vet school applicant, but for a year during undergrad I switched gears from vet to med. I completed all of the med requirements, volunteered for a summer in a human hospital, and was telling everyone that I was going to be a human doctor. But one day during my Junior year, it just clicked. I was thinking back on all of the experiences I'd had working in my vet clinic- my favorite boarders/patients, the interesting cases, the eccentric owners, the great vets, and I found myself just smiling. I then compared those experiences to my time in the human hospital and realized what it was I was passionate about- veterinary medicine. There are pros and cons associated with both professions, but, as the adage goes, if you enjoy what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.
You're lucky that you've determined this early in your educational career; if I were you, I'd defer for a year, get my vet experience hours down to make sure this was really for me, and the go for it! Good luck to you, and keep us posted!

And Beauty, GREAT news on Illinois!!! I'm excited for you :) Illinois is a great school, and I'm sure you'll excel there. Keep us up to date!

Andrew
 

Julia22

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giles said:
Wow, your story is similar to mine (except for the lawyer bit). I am 34 and about to apply for vetschool. Drifted through college and corporate life never feeling I was doing what I wanted. Eventually sat down and analyzed properly what I wanted to do with my life. Better late than never, but I wish I had done it at least a decade ago.

It will be tough going back to school at my age (if I get accepted) but I would rather "sacrifice" 4 years of my life now than spend the next 40 doing something I don't like.

And I agree with your advice - doc-to-be, if you're really thinking med school isn't for you, STOP NOW, and give yourself time to work things through. There is no shame in doing that - in fact, it will take more courage than continuing on your current path, you will have to trust yourself rather than other people's advice.

Good luck, I hope things work out well for you.

hi giles - - good luck to you too - - its not as hard to get back into the school thing as you think it is ---- like riding a bike! or a horse!!!!
i, too, used to work just so i could ride on the weekends! i had a great lifestyle in nyc, which was, indeed, hard to give up! as i have told other people, i used to wear nice shoes and go out for 16$ martinis - - now i wear sh*tkickers and eat at the student union with 20 year olds and am around horses all the time (when not studying!!!) - - and you know what - - I AM HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and ya cant put a price tag on that!
 

Vetlegend

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Giles,

I agree with you, definitely be careful not to be tough on yourself. I am in a very similar position you (Giles) are in and I take care in staying positive and encouraged, because it is definitely going to be needed for those 4 years. Trust that you will do well and all will be well.

Best wishes to all, :)



giles said:
Wow, your story is similar to mine (except for the lawyer bit). I am 34 and about to apply for vetschool. Drifted through college and corporate life never feeling I was doing what I wanted. Eventually sat down and analyzed properly what I wanted to do with my life. Better late than never, but I wish I had done it at least a decade ago.

It will be tough going back to school at my age (if I get accepted) but I would rather "sacrifice" 4 years of my life now than spend the next 40 doing something I don't like.

And I agree with your advice - doc-to-be, if you're really thinking med school isn't for you, STOP NOW, and give yourself time to work things through. There is no shame in doing that - in fact, it will take more courage than continuing on your current path, you will have to trust yourself rather than other people's advice.

Good luck, I hope things work out well for you.
 

rpost3

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doc-to-be said:
I'm currently in my first year of med school, and I've got this nagging feeling that I'm in the wrong place...

It's a great med school, but my heart just isn't in it.

Before applying I spent a long time trying to decide between med school and vet school. I'm obsessed with horses and had seriously considered becoming an equine vet, but I think I let my head choose instead of my heart.

Have any of you had this type of experience? Any advice?
I'm so afraid of making the same mistake. I'm taking my sciences at Drexel's post-bacc program now and plan on med school over vet school for a few reasons even though I know I'd rather work with animals (in the words of my cat's vet, "We have much better patients!"

1) My post-bacc program ends this coming December with the MCATs that spring, and one of my programs linkages could vault me into med school only a few months after my MCAT's. Vet school would require me to spend that spring taking microbiology, biochem, and all the rest of those other prereq's that Vet school requires.

2) A part of me really does wants to work with human patients. Being an MD offers moments Vets don't get, and vice versa of course.

3) I'd want to work at a zoo with exotic species, not just be your normal neighborhood vet (which leads to #4). I assume this specialty is extremely difficult and competitive - on the level of neurosurgy for MD's.

4) I'd have to move to a zoo where there's a position for me. MD's are in demand in every city in the nation. I could wind up god knows where considering most cities don't need a DVM who treats leopards or something like that.

5) Vets are so drastically underpaid. For the work they put in they really get ripped off in the wallet.

OK, those are the only reasons I wouldn't choose vet school. I love domestic animals, but I have this obsession with wild animals, especially the predators like the big cats, wolves, crocodilians, bears, etc. I dunno what it is really, but my parents say I've been like this since the first time they took me to the zoo (cried like a baby when I left, the story goes). Even now, I'll only go to the zoo by myself because when I go I'm there forever and I don't need someone telling me "Lets go already, my feet hurt!!"

For me, being the vet/curator of a large sanctuary for wolves or cats would be the ultimate life. I could definitely handle working at a city zoo as well. I just don't know how close to reality that is. It seems easier to become an MD to be honest. What do you guys think? Is it near impossible to work secure work in an area like that?
 

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doc-to-be said:
I'm currently in my first year of med school, and I've got this nagging feeling that I'm in the wrong place...
Tough call. Don't get discouraged by your career choice.
Just remember (I apologize for my token cliche): the grass is always greener on the other side.
I know someone who is a DVM/MD/MPH and she overwhelmingly recommends getting an MD over a DVM. Especially for certain circumstances, such as research and public health, because of prestige, career opportunities, and better financial compensation.
My fiancee wanted to be a DVM since she was 6 years old and got into all the best vet schools in the country but at the last minute decided to go to a top notch med school and get a MD/PhD. She admits its hard being med school and grad school when her first love was vet med, but she doesn't regret the choice she made.
I know a few MDs who experienced a "cognitive disconnect" between their actual MD work and their philosophical belief of practicing human med. But each of them has made the most of their difficult situations by changing gears and working in non-traditional MD careers, such as academic research, public health, consulting, working with NGO and non-profits, and biotech industry.

Its not an easy choice you have and I wish you the best of luck in whatever decision you make. Ask you MD classmates, I'm sure a few have the same experience of vet med versus human med. The good news is you're not as alone as you think based on the responses posted here. good luck. :oops:
 

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Interestingly enough, as a horse person I am going to say the exact opposite of what everyone else said. I work in a diagnostic vet lab now with a bunch of veterinary pathologists - one of the pathologists is a horse person as well and always wanted to be an equine surgeon. However, she came to the conclusion that if you want to spend meaningful, entertaining (as in riding) time with horses you need to not work on them all day - getting slammed into walls, stepped on, bitten, kicked,etc. It isn't your job to put groundmanners on everything with 4 legs and a tail and god forbid anyone actually put them on their own horse.

She said pathology was a great choice if you still wanted to work in veterinary medicine and have the time/money to ride. OTOH I am in the application process to pharmacy school. Just from my experience with equine vets, very few have time to ride or even want to be near a horse at the end of the day. I did however groom for a small animal vet at a 3-day last fall - the 9-5 hours of a small animal veterinarian are far easier to ride around than the 24/7 call of an equine vet.
 

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I almost went for the vet school application route but decided i was not up to such a physically draining job.

Now I have been accepted to pharmacy school so I hope I chose the right thing...I believe I have .

I think its important to try whatever you think is the right thing to do at the moment.

Only god knows for certain what you are meant to do and sometimes you have to explore a bit and get kicked to the ground to find your way and purpose.

Never be too hard on yourself for past descions because, well the only way you know what you know now is through living your life the way you led it.
 

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rpost3 said:
5) Vets are so drastically underpaid. For the work they put in they really get ripped off in the wallet.

For me, being the vet/curator of a large sanctuary for wolves or cats would be the ultimate life. I could definitely handle working at a city zoo as well. I just don't know how close to reality that is. It seems easier to become an MD to be honest. What do you guys think? Is it near impossible to work secure work in an area like that?
It's not impossible - but you have to LOVE it. Being a zoo vet pretty much means your career is your life. I love it and I still am not sure if I will go in to that field, because as cool as it is, other things in my life have to have their place too. When you're a zoo vet, you're working around the clock. You are their emergency vet. Anyway, if you were to apply to vet school, you need to have an open mind... you may find out that things look very different when you're actually at a zoo versus looking at the animals from the other side of the glass. There are a lot more things zoo vets have to deal with than the animals.

Vets aren't always drastically underpaid. Most just have bleeding hearts and do a lot for little or no money. MDs have the luxury (or the unfortunate reality) of being paid by insurance companies. If you don't stand up for what you're worth and get payment immediately, then yes, you won't make much. It's all a matter of how good your business sense is. But often times people go in to vet medicine with the idea that they can't make much money, so they don't end up making much money. And for some reason, a lot of people expect vets to do things for reduced costs or free because vets are supposed to be doing it for the animals, not the money. (But that's another topic for another post.)

Sometimes, like someone else pointed out, it's good to keep your hobbies and your career separate. I cannot WAIT for the day when I buy my own horse. But there is no way I will go in to equine medicine... I need to keep horseback riding as my outlet for all this insanity!
 

jr8047

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doc-to-be said:
I'm currently in my first year of med school, and I've got this nagging feeling that I'm in the wrong place...

It's a great med school, but my heart just isn't in it.

Before applying I spent a long time trying to decide between med school and vet school. I'm obsessed with horses and had seriously considered becoming an equine vet, but I think I let my head choose instead of my heart.

Have any of you had this type of experience? Any advice?
doc to be...listen, you got in to med school..don't give that up. i assume you are still young (20's) and if you still don't like it after you've graduated then consider your options but don't give up a good thing. sometimes in life its easy to lose your motivation when times are tough. hang in there..focus on why you chose md to begin with and go forward.
beyond that..analyze what it is that you would be getting from a vets career that you won't get as an md and try to encompass that into you career/life. just my 2 cents....good luck and stay strong.
 

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Hey rpost3, I did your Drexel program (and am going to Drexel Med in August! Hell yeah!). I think that Laura has mentioned before that a girl in the class below mine went to Penn Vet School after finishing. You should ask her about it- maybe she'll put you in touch with her. (Of course, getting Laura to answer an e-mail is probably harder than getting into vet school...) Good luck!
 

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I didn't have the grades to get into vet school...so I went to med school instead! but seriously, I am happy doing what I'm doing. ;)
 
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doc-to-be

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jr8047 said:
doc to be...listen, you got in to med school..don't give that up. i assume you are still young (20's) and if you still don't like it after you've graduated then consider your options but don't give up a good thing. sometimes in life its easy to lose your motivation when times are tough. hang in there..focus on why you chose md to begin with and go forward.
beyond that..analyze what it is that you would be getting from a vets career that you won't get as an md and try to encompass that into you career/life. just my 2 cents....good luck and stay strong.

Almost done with my first year, and I'm really starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel....almost ;) For a combination of reasons, I'm going to stick with it. I've finally come back to baseline, know why I chose to here in the first place and still really want to do it. Thanks, everyone, for your responses and support!