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Internships?

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Manders221

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Hello everyone!

I am a sophomore in undergrad, I just transferred to a new school after committing to the idea of finishing my prerequisites for vet school. Since transferring I've felt really motivated do well in my studies and I've been pursuing making myself a strong candidate for vet school through several avenues. One of the issues is that I feel I don't have enough veterinary experience. I have around 600 hours of work experience as a veterinary assistant at an animal shelter working primarily with dogs and cats but also some exotic species as well. I probably have around 30-40 hours shadowing veterinarians, all of which were small animal clinic veterinarians, and I have about 350 hours of animal experience working at a different shelter which I did all throughout high school. I have absolutely 0 experience with large animals and I've reached out to multiple veterinarians asking to shadow, all of which have either ignored me or turned me down. It's something I feel really frustrated and defeated about. I'm really stumped about how to get experience with large animals at this point - the only real idea I have is to speak with my animal science professor (who is a vet) and ask her if she has any connections or advice but other than that I have no further ideas.

Although I know I have had tons of learning moments and good experiences at the shelter I currently work at, I wanted to broaden my horizons and get even more hours, so I applied for a few internships and today I was offered a position at a wildlife rehabilitation center. I know I could learn so much there, and I know I would enjoy it, but in order to do the internship, I have to make some pretty significant sacrifices, probably quit my job. I know I could get my job back after the internship but at this point I'm struggling to see how I could keep my job and fulfill the requirements of the internship as their demands overlap. The internship also overlaps with my school schedule which is possible for me to do, just not ideal. With these things in mind, suddenly I'm questioning if I even need the internship, will it help my application at all? It's not diversifying the types of animals I work with - it's still small mammals. The only real positive in respect to my vet school application I can see is that I could potentially add another letter of recommendation onto the list.

If you were me, would you take the experience simply for the fact that I will grow as a person, or pass on it since it's not adding much value to my application and I would have to quit my job. Or in your opinion, would it still add value to my application since the hours are coming from a different place?
 

TheGirlWithTheFernTattoo

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Eh. I am very biased due to personal experiences with this, but I would probably not do the internship at the sacrifice of your job.

I suspect the internship would be animal experience not veterinary, since most wildlife centres do not have a vet on staff. IMO you would be better off getting volunteer farm experience with large animal (production or equine) since you don't have any of that.

If you want wildlife experience, lots of places have a staff of part time volunteers. That would allow you to chase large animal experience, keep your job, get some wildlife, and not risk your school GPA.

Also for LA, it is much easier to try and get some experience volunteering at a farm (or horse stable). If you are there when the vet visits, you can meet in person and talk to the vet then, which gives you a better shot of being allowed to shadow later (plus you can shadow them on the property as you are volunteering).
 
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Manders221

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Eh. I am very biased due to personal experiences with this, but I would probably not do the internship at the sacrifice of your job.

I suspect the internship would be animal experience not veterinary, since most wildlife centres do not have a vet on staff. IMO you would be better off getting volunteer farm experience with large animal (production or equine) since you don't have any of that.

If you want wildlife experience, lots of places have a staff of part time volunteers. That would allow you to chase large animal experience, keep your job, get some wildlife, and not risk your school GPA.

Thanks. The more I think about it the more I kind of have an uneasy feeling about it. It does seem like a lot of it is just cleaning up after and feeding the animals, not so helpful.
 

TheGirlWithTheFernTattoo

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Some people do enjoy the practicums and find them valuable. However after seeing what the interns and practicum students do in comparison to my regular volunteer role at my centre, I will never apply to it myself. I have heard a lot of our practicum students complain bitterly because they are spending >40 hours per week unpaid cleaning cages and feeding without witnessing any exams or being at all a part of the rehab work that they thought they would be exposed to. In my personal opinion that is them being abused as cheap/free labour, since it is advertised that you get to learn about rehab work and work with rehabbers to learn those skills.

Anyway, rehab experience never hurts, so if the centre accepts part time volunteers I would recommend that. Despite my cynicism I enjoyed my wildlife volunteer work and learned a lot. I have no interest in pursuing wildlife med, so my interest ended there. If you are passionate about it I'm sure you would be more tolerant than I was.
 

Manders221

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Some people do enjoy the practicums and find them valuable. However after seeing what the interns and practicum students do in comparison to my regular volunteer role at my centre, I will never apply to it myself. I have heard a lot of our practicum students complain bitterly because they are spending >40 hours per week unpaid cleaning cages and feeding without witnessing any exams or being at all a part of the rehab work that they thought they would be exposed to. In my personal opinion that is them being abused as cheap/free labour, since it is advertised that you get to learn about rehab work and work with rehabbers to learn those skills.

Anyway, rehab experience never hurts, so if the centre accepts part time volunteers I would recommend that. Despite my cynicism I enjoyed my wildlife volunteer work and learned a lot. I have no interest in pursuing wildlife med, so my interest ended there. If you are passionate about it I'm sure you would be more tolerant than I was.

I'm sure I'd learn so much there but what you said here hits it on the nail. I'm really anxious about the thought that I'd have to quit my job to take the internship because the hours at my job are not all that flexible, and then I'd be making no money and all I would be doing is cleaning cages and feeding animals for 0 pay. I will probably reach out to them to volunteer this summer instead. Thank you for the reassurance. I'm definitely still going to get the insight of my professor though, who knows, maybe she will have an even better suggestion.
 

TheGirlWithTheFernTattoo

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I would be hard pressed to give up a paying job to do an unpaid internship. Vet school is expensive enough, the more money you can save before the better. :)

Best of luck with whatever you end up deciding!
 
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