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Hello hello!

I decided to start a thread for non-traditional (or "mature", but if you know me that's probably not the word you'd use :lol:) students applying to vet school this year (c/o 2025 or 2026 for those who are looking at five-year programs overseas). I saw that the Pre-Med students have a whole forum(!) devoted to non-traditional students but didn't see any threads in the Pre-Vet forum for it so here we are.

Hopefully we can connect with each other, share our experiences or worries about attending vet school as older (but not old!) students, and stop clogging up the UPenn thread 😂. Feel free to share whatever, I know that I personally sometimes need a reminder that I'm not the only non-trad out there!
 
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Is there a required age to reply to this thread? 😆 LOL, don’t kill me, but I’m (only?) 26. May sound young to some, but I feel really behind when it comes to peers my age - have several friends already graduated from or about to graduate from vet school and I’m just getting started. Sigh. Applied to my in-state school this year (Virginia-Maryland) and was rejected. Definitely reapplying, and considering reapplying to some out of state schools as well. Just feel like a ticking time bomb as I really would like to start a family one day but there’s no way I’m doing that while I’m in vet school or freshly out.
 
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max_wildlife

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Hey all! I'm excited for this thread :)

Soo I guess to introduce myself? I studied journalism and environmental studies in undergrad, received my wildlife rehab license my senior year, and have basically been hopping from seasonal ecology job to seasonal ecology job since 2014 and working closely with a wildlife vet since then. I received my master's in environmental science with a focus on wildlife health in 2018. For a minute I thought I'd pursue the PhD/LVT route but after an unsettling field season and a weird start to tech school, I got smacked with the realization I want to be able to diagnose one day. Because I've been so nomadic, I'm still not a very settled person at all. Single, not a homeowner, just have my husky and a car - and chillin with my parents due to the pandemic.

So for now, I'm finishing tech school and taking vet school pre-reqs and completing an externship at a pathology lab.

What's everyone else's story?
 
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Is there a required age to reply to this thread? 😆 LOL, don’t kill me, but I’m (only?) 26. May sound young to some, but I feel really behind when it comes to peers my age - have several friends already graduated from or about to graduate from vet school and I’m just getting started. Sigh. Applied to my in-state school this year (Virginia-Maryland) and was rejected. Definitely reapplying, and considering reapplying to some out of state schools as well. Just feel like a ticking time bomb as I really would like to start a family one day but there’s no way I’m doing that while I’m in vet school or freshly out.
No, no required age! Just anyone who isn't "traditional" (although if traditional people want to comment that's cool too, we like everyone here!). I'm 29 and lots of the doctors I work under tell me that's "young"! I totally feel you about feeling behind - one of the doctors that just started at the practice I assisstant/tech (not sure what I am anymore lol) at just graduated and she's younger than me! It definitely makes me feel behind. However, one of my favorite vets didn't even start vet school until she was 40 and graduated at 44. She's taught me that it's never too late and everyone goes at their own pace.
I definitely know what you mean about starting a family. I personally am on the "no kids" bandwagon right now, but that might change, and I definitely want to get married but I'm not sure how I'm going to find the time to date during vet school and after!

I'm sorry you got a rejection from your in-state. Was it the only one that you applied to? Don't let it discourage you, just try to get more experiences, fix grades, do whatever you need to do. This year was such a weird year, I guess applications were up 10% overall, lots of schools had 200-500 more applicants than normal. You're definitely not going through this alone!
 
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max_wildlife

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Is there a required age to reply to this thread? 😆 LOL, don’t kill me, but I’m (only?) 26. May sound young to some, but I feel really behind when it comes to peers my age - have several friends already graduated from or about to graduate from vet school and I’m just getting started. Sigh. Applied to my in-state school this year (Virginia-Maryland) and was rejected. Definitely reapplying, and considering reapplying to some out of state schools as well. Just feel like a ticking time bomb as I really would like to start a family one day but there’s no way I’m doing that while I’m in vet school or freshly out.
i don't think there's a required age lol 26 falls into non-trad imo
i do get what you mean feeling behind! you will get there.
 

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Hi 😊

Like @caitlinsw I’m not that ~old~ (I JUST turned 24), but I’m non traditional in the sense that I graduated with a B.S. in 2018 and have spent the past few years working in wildlife and forestry for the USFS and on a research project for MSU. I really wanted to be a vet growing up and was pursuing that path until sophomore year of undergrad, but started following other interests due to the financial, emotional, and time commitment of vet school. I decided last year that I couldn’t give up my dream of being a veterinarian and have been working in a vet clinic since then building up hours. I already know people younger than me who are in their first/second years, and I can’t help but look back and think that if I just followed my original path I could be graduating vet school next year 😅. I also feel a lot older than other pre-vet students my age because I am already married and have my whole life settled down with my husband rn. So if I get into vet school I feel like I have a lot more *adult and mature* decisions to make like what to do with our house, husbands career, etc 😂😅
 
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I'm excited for this thread too! (clearly... I started it 💁‍♀️ )

I love hearing others' stories! I am currently working on my second Bachelor's at the University of New Hampshire (am I allowed to say where I'm from? Oh well) in Biomedical Science with minors in public health and dairy. However for YEARS I worked in the restaurant industry and have my first Bachelor's in Restaurant, Food, and Beverage Management. However, my focus during my first undergrad was mostly on the "beverage" part...... needless to say I was an awful student, never went to class, and was lucky I was able to graduate (or be alive tbh 😂). I just kind of hung out for a few years at home after graduating, worked at the restaurant I had been at since high school, worked my way up to be a manager, got into a dead end relationship..... the usual.

I started back in school in January 2016 trying to do wildlife conservation (I wanted to save the elephants) but quickly realized that while I loved animals, I wasn't passionate about it. So I took another year off, started riding horses, and decided to go back to school for Vet Tech. But like @max_wildlife, I realized I'd be much happier diagnosing rather than treating, so I quickly switched to the Pre-Vet track where I've been ever since and have never regretted it. Currently my interests are lab animal med, public health, and emergency med... so if anyone likes those things too... hi 👋

I'm currently single (finally got the balls to dump my unsupportive ex), mooching off my brother living in his living room with our parent's dog (long story) while working as an assistant/tech at a 24-hour Emergency practice. I'm finishing up my degree this semester and plan to work, pay off some credit card debt, and finally relax and do some self-care before the stress of vet school *hopefully* starts in the fall.

Can't wait to hear everyone else's stories too!
 
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Hi 😊

Like @caitlinsw I’m not that ~old~ (I JUST turned 24), but I’m non traditional in the sense that I graduated with a B.S. in 2018 and have spent the past few years working in wildlife and forestry for the USFS and on a research project for MSU. I really wanted to be a vet growing up and was pursuing that path until sophomore year of undergrad, but started following other interests due to the financial, emotional, and time commitment of vet school. I decided last year that I couldn’t give up my dream of being a veterinarian and have been working in a vet clinic since then building up hours. I already know people younger than me who are in their first/second years, and I can’t help but look back and think that if I just followed my original path I could be graduating vet school next year 😅. I also feel a lot older than other pre-vet students my age because I am already married and have my whole life settled down with my husband rn. So if I get into vet school I feel like I have a lot more *adult and mature* decisions to make like what to do with our house, husbands career, etc 😂😅
You definitely fall into the non-trad category! I love hearing about people who just couldn't give up on their dream to become a vet, it's exactly how I feel, even thought it wasn't a dream I realized I had until later in life.

I can't even imaging trying to pursue a vet school dream with decisions that depend on a spouse, house, etc. :eek: A lot of my mentors and advisors also went to vet school with spouses and kids, I have so much respect for anyone who can do that! I can't even decide what to eat for dinner most of the time, I don't think I would have pursued this had I gotten married like everyone thought I was going to 🥴
 
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I'd chime in, but as a truly non-non-non-traditional, I'm too tired and need my after-dinner nap before my pre-tv nap before my mid-tv nap before bedtime. Oh. And I'm not applying.

But if anyone wants some advice, feel free to PM or something. ;)
 
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Looove the thread! 30yr old married lady here. In my past life I was a sociology researcher. I can't quite remember how I came to the decision to pursue a career in veterinary medicine when I was 26, I guess it was always kind of a dream job for me to heal animals but never even remotely obtainable - I grew up in a small town in China, veterinarian was not really a thing back in those days.

First-time applicant this year, I applied to 14 schools (yeah, I know I'm crazy). I really want to be going SOMEWHERE. I'm pretty sure I want to pursue an internist/critical care residency after graduation, which means I will be practicing at nearly 40 if everything works out. I guess my immediate life goal is to work out more and stay healthy. I'm currently working overnight shifts in an ER and I really feel my age after 3 nights in a row!
 
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I guess my immediate life goal is to work out more and stay healthy. I'm currently working overnight shifts in an ER and I really feel my age after 3 nights in a row!
This! Working out more is my goal for after I graduate. I work the swing shift and often end up staying until 2-3am if it's busy and the next day I'm like 😰😴 I was offered overnights and I was like "mmmmm I think I'll wait until I have to do them in vet school"
 
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Is there a required age to reply to this thread? 😆 LOL, don’t kill me, but I’m (only?) 26. May sound young to some, but I feel really behind when it comes to peers my age - have several friends already graduated from or about to graduate from vet school and I’m just getting started. Sigh. Applied to my in-state school this year (Virginia-Maryland) and was rejected. Definitely reapplying, and considering reapplying to some out of state schools as well. Just feel like a ticking time bomb as I really would like to start a family one day but there’s no way I’m doing that while I’m in vet school or freshly out.
I'm 37 with a a 7 and 3 year old. You're not behind, you're own your own path and on time for you. You have time and being settled in yourself and your career is more likely to help you attract a partner who fits in to who you are and what you desire from your life. It's all good, however it unfolds.
 
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Omg I’m so excited for this thread! I’m 32 and married! This is a second career for me. So happy to see there are more of us “mature” applicants out there! Proud of all of us for following our dreams :)
 
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Yes!!! This thread!! I am a 29-year-old non-traditional student. This is a second career for me but it is what I always wanted to do, it just took me some time to believe in myself! I have been working in vet med on and off for 8ish years. I live with my long-term boyfriend and our 4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 pigs, and chickens! I am a little nervous at the thought of vet-school with so many pets but I know people that have gotten through it with children!

I have had a lot of fear around vet school and my age since I plan to adopt children in the near future so I am really hoping I get in this round so I can get going on my career and life! I am grateful to see so many other non-traditional applicants, hopefully, we can support each other on this crazy journey!
 
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max_wildlife

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I'm excited for this thread too! (clearly... I started it 💁‍♀️ )

I love hearing others' stories! I am currently working on my second Bachelor's at the University of New Hampshire (am I allowed to say where I'm from? Oh well) in Biomedical Science with minors in public health and dairy. However for YEARS I worked in the restaurant industry and have my first Bachelor's in Restaurant, Food, and Beverage Management. However, my focus during my first undergrad was mostly on the "beverage" part...... needless to say I was an awful student, never went to class, and was lucky I was able to graduate (or be alive tbh 😂). I just kind of hung out for a few years at home after graduating, worked at the restaurant I had been at since high school, worked my way up to be a manager, got into a dead end relationship..... the usual.

I started back in school in January 2016 trying to do wildlife conservation (I wanted to save the elephants) but quickly realized that while I loved animals, I wasn't passionate about it. So I took another year off, started riding horses, and decided to go back to school for Vet Tech. But like @max_wildlife, I realized I'd be much happier diagnosing rather than treating, so I quickly switched to the Pre-Vet track where I've been ever since and have never regretted it. Currently my interests are lab animal med, public health, and emergency med... so if anyone likes those things too... hi 👋

I'm currently single (finally got the balls to dump my unsupportive ex), mooching off my brother living in his living room with our parent's dog (long story) while working as an assistant/tech at a 24-hour Emergency practice. I'm finishing up my degree this semester and plan to work, pay off some credit card debt, and finally relax and do some self-care before the stress of vet school *hopefully* starts in the fall.

Can't wait to hear everyone else's stories too!

power to you for dumping the unsupportive ex!

and I definitely relate to almost everything you wrote lol I def had an adventurous and mischievous streak! Your areas of interest are super interesting - I'm fascinated by the public health aspect. I still want to work with wildlife so it relates - I guess my end goal after building my career a bit would be to teach wildlife medicine at a vet school one day :) plus pathology - I love my externship so far, and it seems like a good way to couple my overall interests. There are so many diagnostic labs that focus on wildlife and exotics, I feel like I could make a real difference there while still helping wildlife rehabbers on the side. Since they basically 'raised' me in the veterinary world, I want to be able to pursue that in a way that allows me to pay it forward, even if that means I don't get paid very much - if at all in that realm. So it all interconnects.
 
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Hi everyone! This is going to be my very first post on SDN. I am 25 and currently working on my Master's in Lab Animal Science. I did start out as a pre-vet student in undergrad but because for a while I was having a hard time in college I decided not to put more pressure on myself and not to apply. I did get into research and then got into my master's program, thinking about doing a PhD. But I realized I would like to do something more applied and clinical, and that's when I decided to apply for real. Hopefully I can make some new friends here, we are all in this together.
 
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max_wildlife

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I'm 37 with a a 7 and 3 year old. You're not behind, you're own your own path and on time for you. You have time and being settled in yourself and your career is more likely to help you attract a partner who fits in to who you are and what you desire from your life. It's all good, however it unfolds.
This is comforting to hear. Some days it get isolating. I'd guess about half of my friends are buying houses or getting married or having kids and I always need to remind myself it's okay to have different priorities.
 
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Yes!!! This thread!! I am a 29-year-old non-traditional student. This is a second career for me but it is what I always wanted to do, it just took me some time to believe in myself!
THIS! When I was 18 I talked myself out of going pre-vet because people told me I wasn't smart enough (I'm a twin and my sister was the "smart one".. tbh she still is, she's finishing up her PhD now 😂).

Also we need pics of your animals, especially the pigs and chickens 👀 and I LOVE the fact you're going to adopt children. That's probably going to be my goal for the future (mostly so I don't have to take maternity leave but I know everyone has their own reasons for adopting 😊). Good luck with everything, what schools did you apply to this round!?
 
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Hi everyone! This is going to be my very first post on SDN. I am 25 and currently working on my Master's in Lab Animal Science. I did start out as a pre-vet student in undergrad but because for a while I was having a hard time in college I decided not to put more pressure on myself and not to apply. I did get into research and then got into my master's program, thinking about doing a PhD. But I realized I would like to do something more applied and clinical, and that's when I decided to apply for real. Hopefully I can make some new friends here, we are all in this together.
Hi 👋 Where are you doing your Masters!? I'm interested in going into the Lab Animal Med field, I love finding people who like this field too (even if its not where you end up actually going, plans can change in vet school). What schools did you apply to this cycle!?
 
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power to you for dumping the unsupportive ex!

and I definitely relate to almost everything you wrote lol I def had an adventurous and mischievous streak! Your areas of interest are super interesting - I'm fascinated by the public health aspect. I still want to work with wildlife so it relates - I guess my end goal after building my career a bit would be to teach wildlife medicine at a vet school one day :) plus pathology - I love my externship so far, and it seems like a good way to couple my overall interests. There are so many diagnostic labs that focus on wildlife and exotics, I feel like I could make a real difference there while still helping wildlife rehabbers on the side. Since they basically 'raised' me in the veterinary world, I want to be able to pursue that in a way that allows me to pay it forward, even if that means I don't get paid very much - if at all in that realm. So it all interconnects.
Thanks - he wasn't a bad guy, we were just on two different paths. I'm better off.

Where's your externship? Many of my advisors and mentors at UNH are pathologists at the NHVDL and I worked there up until this semester and still am doing research with them. Path is SO INTERESTING and something I would consider doing (plus they make pretty good money, esp. if they teach too). We do a ton of wildlife stuff - mostly necropsy but also research on local wildlife populations, which could definitely help wildlife rehabbers, biologists, etc. It sounds like it would be a great career for you 😊

I, however, have 0 experience with wildlife. It's the one thing I could never get experience doing before applying. Path also ties in with public health as well, we do a ton of testing for our state for things like Avian Influenza, Pullorum-Typhoid, Coggins tests, etc. which is where my interest in that side of vet med comes from!
 
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This is comforting to hear. Some days it get isolating. I'd guess about half of my friends are buying houses or getting married or having kids and I always need to remind myself it's okay to have different priorities.
Even if those were your exact priorities I will tell you that being in the trenches of motherhood is lonely AF when your kids are small and having something that is YOURS that makes you feel like you contribute, are a human outside of your home, and have an avenue to support yourself and your kids if your relationship status ever changes is a tremendous degree of freedom and sometimes having a choice makes all the difference. Feeling trapped is never anyone's first choice. (Ask me how I know). I have often struggled with feeling disappointed in myself for not "reaching my potential." The truth is, my life has been a bit of a Lifetime movie and some times the time line we want and the time line we need just aren't the same. At our "advanced age" we have the good fortune of being sure it's worth it. Being sure we want it. Being more confident in ourselves as people. Who I am today is lightyears from who I was 10 years ago, not knocking you mid-20s folks, but some things really only come with time. I have boundaries, priorities, a strong moral and ethical compass and I'm not made uncomfortable by people with authority who don't agree with me. I wouldn't trade that personal growth. I wish I had this in my life sooner but I am so grateful to have it now.
The right person will walk into your life and it will feel like a privilege to walk through life with them. They will respect your needs for time to study, to work, and will take pride in your successes and be right there with you in your failures. Taking the time to live your life on your terms, honestly and with commitment will make you a better partner and help ensure you find the right one, too. You might even meet them in vet school :)
 
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THIS! When I was 18 I talked myself out of going pre-vet because people told me I wasn't smart enough (I'm a twin and my sister was the "smart one".. tbh she still is, she's finishing up her PhD now 😂).

Also we need pics of your animals, especially the pigs and chickens 👀 and I LOVE the fact you're going to adopt children. That's probably going to be my goal for the future (mostly so I don't have to take maternity leave but I know everyone has their own reasons for adopting 😊). Good luck with everything, what schools did you apply to this round!?
I honestly believe the most important quality in a vet is the ability to build trust with a client and rapport with an animal. GPA doesn't assess that. I'm glad you're back on this track. You've got this. And we've got you!
 
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At our "advanced age" we have the good fortune of being sure it's worth it. Being sure we want it. Being more confident in ourselves as people. Who I am today is lightyears from who I was 10 years ago, not knocking you mid-20s folks, but some things really only come with time. I have boundaries, priorities, a strong moral and ethical compass and I'm not made uncomfortable by people with authority who don't agree with me. I wouldn't trade that personal growth. I wish I had this in my life sooner but I am so grateful to have it now.
This 👆 👏 I might unlike your post just so I can like it again.
 
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Hi 👋 Where are you doing your Masters!? I'm interested in going into the Lab Animal Med field, I love finding people who like this field too (even if its not where you end up actually going, plans can change in vet school). What schools did you apply to this cycle!?
Hello! I am at Stanford. We do have a program for vet residents in Lab Animal Science. I am applying to Cornell, Tufts, Penn and Wisconsin this cycle.
 
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THIS! When I was 18 I talked myself out of going pre-vet because people told me I wasn't smart enough (I'm a twin and my sister was the "smart one".. tbh she still is, she's finishing up her PhD now 😂).

Also we need pics of your animals, especially the pigs and chickens 👀 and I LOVE the fact you're going to adopt children. That's probably going to be my goal for the future (mostly so I don't have to take maternity leave but I know everyone has their own reasons for adopting 😊). Good luck with everything, what schools did you apply to this round!?
If only we could go back and tell our younger selves that we could do it! Sometimes I get super down about it, but I realize that my journey has shaped me and it will eventually make me a stronger and more compassionate doctor (although sometimes it still feels defeating). I decided several years ago that I wanted to adopt and I wish I could do it now but I know I need to focus on my career so I can support those future human children (my animals are costly enough LOL).

I've attached pics of my dogs and pigs! My Frenchie, my soulmate, and service dog just passed away :(. The black pig is Rosalita and Doc is white and black! The last picture is from when they were babies!!!!
36844533_10212946471921308_4658421000684175360_o.jpg 67357964_10215651918075771_2637950195735724032_o.jpg 101777393_10218534896068419_3846878653702995968_o.jpg 27993333_10211909509117886_6424708807390941459_o-1.jpg
 
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Hi! I am SO excited this thread exists!! 👋 I’ve lurked on SDN but haven’t posted before...

I am 30 and this is my first year applying. I applied to a few combined degree programs so IF I have an opportunity to join one of those I will be almost 40 by the time I graduate😰 I feel behind and on a different path than most of my peers but I try to reason it out... if I work until I'm at least 70, that's 40 years from now and more time than I've experienced in life yet. I would really like to spend that time contributing to something I'm passionate about. I have been working in biomedical research for the past few years and am really excited to continue in this field.

I have a masters degree in animal science and have always been interested in veterinary medicine since high school but at various points in my education/career people told me I shouldn’t be a vet. It has taken me several years of working with animals in research environments to realize that I actually do want to pursue a DVM.

I work a night shift full-time right now and I’m post-bacc’ing full time during the day. I feel so out of place in these undergrad classes and I’m afraid I will feel that way if I get in to vet school too!

I also TOTALLY get the feeling isolated on a different path because I don’t have a s.o./kids/house...

I am so happy to meet other applicants with similar backgrounds/interests/fears!! I wish you all the best this application cycle and in the future:)
 
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Hello! I am at Stanford. We do have a program for vet residents in Lab Animal Science. I am applying to Cornell, Tufts, Penn and Wisconsin this cycle.
That's awesome! If I don't get in this cycle, I'm considering maybe going for a Masters in Lab Animal so it's good to know I have options! I'm also applying to Tufts (for lab animal + its my "local" vet school) and Penn as well!
 
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If only we could go back and tell our younger selves that we could do it! Sometimes I get super down about it, but I realize that my journey has shaped me and it will eventually make me a stronger and more compassionate doctor (although sometimes it still feels defeating). I decided several years ago that I wanted to adopt and I wish I could do it now but I know I need to focus on my career so I can support those future human children (my animals are costly enough LOL).

I've attached pics of my dogs and pigs! My Frenchie, my soulmate, and service dog just passed away :(. The black pig is Rosalita and Doc is white and black! The last picture is from when they were babies!!!!
I'm right there with you. I use a lot from my past career in dealing with clients daily, so I think everything I've done will make me a much better doc.

I definitely just squealed (no pun intended) at your animals. I'm so sorry about your Frenchie :( losing them never gets easier, even when we're in the field.
 
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Hi! I am SO excited this thread exists!! 👋 I’ve lurked on SDN but haven’t posted before...

I am 30 and this is my first year applying. I applied to a few combined degree programs so IF I have an opportunity to join one of those I will be almost 40 by the time I graduate😰 I feel behind and on a different path than most of my peers but I try to reason it out... if I work until I'm at least 70, that's 40 years from now and more time than I've experienced in life yet. I would really like to spend that time contributing to something I'm passionate about. I have been working in biomedical research for the past few years and am really excited to continue in this field.

I have a masters degree in animal science and have always been interested in veterinary medicine since high school but at various points in my education/career people told me I shouldn’t be a vet. It has taken me several years of working with animals in research environments to realize that I actually do want to pursue a DVM.

I work a night shift full-time right now and I’m post-bacc’ing full time during the day. I feel so out of place in these undergrad classes and I’m afraid I will feel that way if I get in to vet school too!

I also TOTALLY get the feeling isolated on a different path because I don’t have a s.o./kids/house...

I am so happy to meet other applicants with similar backgrounds/interests/fears!! I wish you all the best this application cycle and in the future:)
Woo biomed research!!!! That's one of the fields I'm looking into going into - what programs did you apply to?

Also 100% feel you on being out of place in undergrad classes. I feel like vet school will be better... hopefully
 

max_wildlife

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Even if those were your exact priorities I will tell you that being in the trenches of motherhood is lonely AF when your kids are small and having something that is YOURS that makes you feel like you contribute, are a human outside of your home, and have an avenue to support yourself and your kids if your relationship status ever changes is a tremendous degree of freedom and sometimes having a choice makes all the difference. Feeling trapped is never anyone's first choice. (Ask me how I know). I have often struggled with feeling disappointed in myself for not "reaching my potential." The truth is, my life has been a bit of a Lifetime movie and some times the time line we want and the time line we need just aren't the same. At our "advanced age" we have the good fortune of being sure it's worth it. Being sure we want it. Being more confident in ourselves as people. Who I am today is lightyears from who I was 10 years ago, not knocking you mid-20s folks, but some things really only come with time. I have boundaries, priorities, a strong moral and ethical compass and I'm not made uncomfortable by people with authority who don't agree with me. I wouldn't trade that personal growth. I wish I had this in my life sooner but I am so grateful to have it now.
The right person will walk into your life and it will feel like a privilege to walk through life with them. They will respect your needs for time to study, to work, and will take pride in your successes and be right there with you in your failures. Taking the time to live your life on your terms, honestly and with commitment will make you a better partner and help ensure you find the right one, too. You might even meet them in vet school :)
Well put - sometimes the timeline we want and need is not the same. So true.
 
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KCgophervet

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Hi everyone! This is going to be my very first post on SDN. I am 25 and currently working on my Master's in Lab Animal Science. I did start out as a pre-vet student in undergrad but because for a while I was having a hard time in college I decided not to put more pressure on myself and not to apply. I did get into research and then got into my master's program, thinking about doing a PhD. But I realized I would like to do something more applied and clinical, and that's when I decided to apply for real. Hopefully I can make some new friends here, we are all in this together.

Hi 👋 Where are you doing your Masters!? I'm interested in going into the Lab Animal Med field, I love finding people who like this field too (even if its not where you end up actually going, plans can change in vet school). What schools did you apply to this cycle!?
Not applying anymore (thank goodness) but I was a semi-non-trad vet student (started at age 26). Mostly chiming in to offer my PM box to anyone who wants to talk lab animal :) Just finished my residency this summer and currently working/studying for boards and always happy to chat about it (or anything really). Happy to meet more people interested in the field
 
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That's awesome! If I don't get in this cycle, I'm considering maybe going for a Masters in Lab Animal so it's good to know I have options! I'm also applying to Tufts (for lab animal + its my "local" vet school) and Penn as well!
I try not to think about my backup plans right now haha, but the MLAS program here is definitely a great option. A lot of us are pre-med/pre-vet, and you get to work on a research project with the guidance of a PI.
 
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Woo biomed research!!!! That's one of the fields I'm looking into going into - what programs did you apply to?

Also 100% feel you on being out of place in undergrad classes. I feel like vet school will be better... hopefully
I applied to Davis, Cornell, Penn, UGA, Oregon, and OVC. You said you applied to Tufts and Penn?
 
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winniekate07

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THIS! When I was 18 I talked myself out of going pre-vet because people told me I wasn't smart enough (I'm a twin and my sister was the "smart one".. tbh she still is, she's finishing up her PhD now 😂).

Also we need pics of your animals, especially the pigs and chickens 👀 and I LOVE the fact you're going to adopt children. That's probably going to be my goal for the future (mostly so I don't have to take maternity leave but I know everyone has their own reasons for adopting 😊). Good luck with everything, what schools did you apply to this round!?
Oops! I meant to say I applied to 10 schools. Already rejected from 5 (eeeek)! I am waiting to hear from Illinois (I just made it to phase 2, so I guess thats something positive), Iowa, LIU, Colorado and Cornell. Colorado and Cornell and certainly reach schools for me and after being rejected from Midwestern, Kansas State, MSU, Virginia Maryland and LSU, I can't imagine getting into either of those schools but I have been told that sometimes acceptances are a little dependent on luck!

Where did you apply? Edit: I just saw your schools. Sending you lots of good vibes!!!
 
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Oops! I meant to say I applied to 10 schools. Already rejected from 5 (eeeek)! I am waiting to hear from Illinois (I just made it to phase 2, so I guess thats something positive), Iowa, LIU, Colorado and Cornell. Colorado and Cornell and certainly reach schools for me and after being rejected from Midwestern, Kansas State, MSU, Virginia Maryland and LSU, I can't imagine getting into either of those schools but I have been told that sometimes acceptances are a little dependent on luck!

Where did you apply? Edit: I just saw your schools. Sending you lots of good vibes!!!
You too... so far I've interviewed with RVC (my #1 school) and am waiting for Michigan to get back to us OOS people. Waiting to hear from everyone else at this point.... I'm so impatient I just want to know NOW 😂
 

max_wildlife

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Thanks - he wasn't a bad guy, we were just on two different paths. I'm better off.

Where's your externship? Many of my advisors and mentors at UNH are pathologists at the NHVDL and I worked there up until this semester and still am doing research with them. Path is SO INTERESTING and something I would consider doing (plus they make pretty good money, esp. if they teach too). We do a ton of wildlife stuff - mostly necropsy but also research on local wildlife populations, which could definitely help wildlife rehabbers, biologists, etc. It sounds like it would be a great career for you 😊

I, however, have 0 experience with wildlife. It's the one thing I could never get experience doing before applying. Path also ties in with public health as well, we do a ton of testing for our state for things like Avian Influenza, Pullorum-Typhoid, Coggins tests, etc. which is where my interest in that side of vet med comes from!
That sounds amazing!! And honestly like a dream job. How cool. I've just been externing at the specialty lab attached to a vet er in western new york. I really love it - I've seen some fairly uncommon things from anaplasma and babesia - which was super fascinating - the more common but complicated to manage like imha.

Wildlife stuff I've been boppin around so most of my mentorship is in wny but I've also interned in Maine and Montana! I had a field season doing capture mark recapture in the Hudson Valley. Now currently trying to write some bat monitoring research with my mentor back home and still trying to get my old thesis published while finishing prereqs and this tech degree. It's exhausting but the crazy thing is I don't think I'd have it any other way.

I loved visiting New Hampshire when I was working in Maine. I would sooo go there to shadow or do a rotation if they do that! My lab is great and my mentor there is super supportive but we do very little wildlife at the lab. My supervisor does do Coggins tests though!
 
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Even if those were your exact priorities I will tell you that being in the trenches of motherhood is lonely AF when your kids are small and having something that is YOURS that makes you feel like you contribute, are a human outside of your home, and have an avenue to support yourself and your kids if your relationship status ever changes is a tremendous degree of freedom and sometimes having a choice makes all the difference. Feeling trapped is never anyone's first choice. (Ask me how I know). I have often struggled with feeling disappointed in myself for not "reaching my potential." The truth is, my life has been a bit of a Lifetime movie and some times the time line we want and the time line we need just aren't the same. At our "advanced age" we have the good fortune of being sure it's worth it. Being sure we want it. Being more confident in ourselves as people. Who I am today is lightyears from who I was 10 years ago, not knocking you mid-20s folks, but some things really only come with time. I have boundaries, priorities, a strong moral and ethical compass and I'm not made uncomfortable by people with authority who don't agree with me. I wouldn't trade that personal growth. I wish I had this in my life sooner but I am so grateful to have it now.
The right person will walk into your life and it will feel like a privilege to walk through life with them. They will respect your needs for time to study, to work, and will take pride in your successes and be right there with you in your failures. Taking the time to live your life on your terms, honestly and with commitment will make you a better partner and help ensure you find the right one, too. You might even meet them in vet school :)

Agree with this 100000000%!!!!!
 
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I am also a non traditional applicant! I applied with a very low GPA but I have been told by the vets I work with that it isn't everything (just apply smart). I'm currently working as a lab animal technician so if anyone is interested in that field, I could talk about my experience with it.
 
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That's awesome! If I don't get in this cycle, I'm considering maybe going for a Masters in Lab Animal so it's good to know I have options! I'm also applying to Tufts (for lab animal + its my "local" vet school) and Penn as well!
I'm in Milton so Tuft's is my local too. I also applied to Penn :)
 
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EngrSC

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Hi 😊

Like @caitlinsw I’m not that ~old~ (I JUST turned 24), but I’m non traditional in the sense that I graduated with a B.S. in 2018 and have spent the past few years working in wildlife and forestry for the USFS and on a research project for MSU. I really wanted to be a vet growing up and was pursuing that path until sophomore year of undergrad, but started following other interests due to the financial, emotional, and time commitment of vet school. I decided last year that I couldn’t give up my dream of being a veterinarian and have been working in a vet clinic since then building up hours. I already know people younger than me who are in their first/second years, and I can’t help but look back and think that if I just followed my original path I could be graduating vet school next year 😅. I also feel a lot older than other pre-vet students my age because I am already married and have my whole life settled down with my husband rn. So if I get into vet school I feel like I have a lot more *adult and mature* decisions to make like what to do with our house, husbands career, etc 😂😅
I completely uprooted my life with my husband to go to vet school. Thankfully he’s been nothing but supportive! We sold one of our houses, are renting out our other house, and currently live 3.5 hours apart! And we’re on a tight budget without me working. I feel like I definitely have more outside stressors than many of my classmates but I was surprised about how many of us are older and about how many of my classmates have kids. It’s really been no big deal and I still did really well my first semester!
Yes!!! This thread!! I am a 29-year-old non-traditional student. This is a second career for me but it is what I always wanted to do, it just took me some time to believe in myself! I have been working in vet med on and off for 8ish years. I live with my long-term boyfriend and our 4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 pigs, and chickens! I am a little nervous at the thought of vet-school with so many pets but I know people that have gotten through it with children!

I have had a lot of fear around vet school and my age since I plan to adopt children in the near future so I am really hoping I get in this round so I can get going on my career and life! I am grateful to see so many other non-traditional applicants, hopefully, we can support each other on this crazy journey!
You’ll be fine! I have my own menagerie of pets with me at school and I feel like they’ve kept me sane!
I am also a non traditional applicant! I applied with a very low GPA but I have been told by the vets I work with that it isn't everything (just apply smart). I'm currently working as a lab animal technician so if anyone is interested in that field, I could talk about my experience with it.
I was accepted my first cycle with a piss-poor cumulative GPA (but strong last 45). I think many schools value non-traditional experiences (in my n=1 experience). You’ll be fine as long as the rest of your application is strong!
 
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That sounds amazing!! And honestly like a dream job. How cool. I've just been externing at the specialty lab attached to a vet er in western new york. I really love it - I've seen some fairly uncommon things from anaplasma and babesia - which was super fascinating - the more common but complicated to manage like imha.
Wait that's awesome. We've diagnosed anaplasma w/ 4dx but I've never done a smear to see if I can see the inclusions in the blood! I did help diagnose IMTP a few weeks back... poor dog had literally 0 platelets :(
Wildlife stuff I've been boppin around so most of my mentorship is in wny but I've also interned in Maine and Montana! I had a field season doing capture mark recapture in the Hudson Valley. Now currently trying to write some bat monitoring research with my mentor back home and still trying to get my old thesis published while finishing prereqs and this tech degree. It's exhausting but the crazy thing is I don't think I'd have it any other way.
I feel that. I'm finally in a place where I'm only working one job and finishing up school and I'm not sure what to do with myself. I typically have more than one job (I had five at one point last year) and lots of extra stuff going on, writing a paper for publication, volunteering, etc. I totally agree that it's exhausting but I also don't know what to do when I actually have time to do stuff. I like the crazy. Hopefully the crazy gets me into school.
I loved visiting New Hampshire when I was working in Maine. I would sooo go there to shadow or do a rotation if they do that! My lab is great and my mentor there is super supportive but we do very little wildlife at the lab. My supervisor does do Coggins tests though!
Idk what they do currently but I know my mentor was looking at doing some kind of internship/externship program or something? Not sure if they'd do a rotation... I guess we'll see in ~4 years! New Hampshire is pretty awesome, I'm 100% biased though.
 

emgesell

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I completely uprooted my life with my husband to go to vet school. Thankfully he’s been nothing but supportive! We sold one of our houses, are renting out our other house, and currently live 3.5 hours apart! And we’re on a tight budget without me working. I feel like I definitely have more outside stressors than many of my classmates but I was surprised about how many of us are older and about how many of my classmates have kids. It’s really been no big deal and I still did really well my first semester!
My husband has been super supportive, and we don’t have any kids right now so that’ll definitely make life easier! We met when we were 18 when I was still on my original vet school path, so I don’t think my decision to apply surprised him. He’s military, so he’ll stay living in our house for the next few years if I ~hopefully~ get in. I’m really hoping for my IS, because it’s only about an hour/ hour and a half from my house now. I could rent a room up there and still come home for the weekends or holidays easily if needed. It’s nice to know someone else is long distance with their spouse during vet school!! People think I’m crazy when I tell them that’s our plan. We were long distance for 2 years before getting married so at least we know how to make it work 😂😂
 
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EngrSC

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My husband has been super supportive, and we don’t have any kids right now so that’ll definitely make life easier! We met when we were 18 when I was still on my original vet school path, so I don’t think my decision to apply surprised him. He’s military, so he’ll stay living in our house for the next few years if I ~hopefully~ get in. I’m really hoping for my IS, because it’s only about an hour/ hour and a half from my house now. I could rent a room up there and still come home for the weekends or holidays easily if needed. It’s nice to know someone else is long distance with their spouse during vet school!! People think I’m crazy when I tell them that’s our plan. We were long distance for 2 years before getting married so at least we know how to make it work 😂😂
My husband is career military as well! And he rolled his GI Bill to me to pay for vet school (such a blessing). If your husband does the same and you need help with anything GI Bill related, message me!
 
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I am also a non traditional applicant! I applied with a very low GPA but I have been told by the vets I work with that it isn't everything (just apply smart). I'm currently working as a lab animal technician so if anyone is interested in that field, I could talk about my experience with it.
The vets you work with are correct - GPA is a factor (especially when determining a "cutoff" but many schools are moving to a holistic approach, so they evaluate your whole application and experiences.

Where are you a LA tech at? I was an entry level temp tech over the summer at Charles River... aka I just cleaned mice cages and isolators all day. It was a great learning experience but not one I'm sure I'd repeat. I'd love to hear about some other aspects of working with lab animals besides just cleaning!
 

max_wildlife

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Wait that's awesome. We've diagnosed anaplasma w/ 4dx but I've never done a smear to see if I can see the inclusions in the blood! I did help diagnose IMTP a few weeks back... poor dog had literally 0 platelets :(
Oh man. Yeah. That's rough :( poor pup. We look at blood smears for every CBC we run. If I remember correctly, the anaplasma was an incidental finding!

I feel that. I'm finally in a place where I'm only working one job and finishing up school and I'm not sure what to do with myself. I typically have more than one job (I had five at one point last year) and lots of extra stuff going on, writing a paper for publication, volunteering, etc. I totally agree that it's exhausting but I also don't know what to do when I actually have time to do stuff. I like the crazy. Hopefully the crazy gets me into school.

YES I vibe with this so much hahah I also am hoping the crazy gets me into school. I'm taking a winterlude course that I'm skeptical will count -- it's a microbiology course but it's got a funky nickname that I worry vet schools won't take seriously -- it's called "Gut Instinct". But I'm glad to at least be doing something over winter break honestly. It's been a minute since I've taken a biology course so even if the schools are like 'meh' at least I'll get some practice again.

Idk what they do currently but I know my mentor was looking at doing some kind of internship/externship program or something? Not sure if they'd do a rotation... I guess we'll see in ~4 years! New Hampshire is pretty awesome, I'm 100% biased though.

That would be awesome! Here's to hoping. So when I was in Maine, I worked and lived in Southern Maine. I took up surfing there. It was magical. And then I'd come back to New Hampshire for more 'city-like' things because I didn't love the traffic going to either Boston or Portland. There was this place in Portsmouth I loved called the Book & Bar. I took drawing classes there. It just had such a different feel to it. I'd love to explore the rest of the state, it's pretty much the only place I'd been.
 

max_wildlife

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If only we could go back and tell our younger selves that we could do it! Sometimes I get super down about it, but I realize that my journey has shaped me and it will eventually make me a stronger and more compassionate doctor (although sometimes it still feels defeating). I decided several years ago that I wanted to adopt and I wish I could do it now but I know I need to focus on my career so I can support those future human children (my animals are costly enough LOL).

I've attached pics of my dogs and pigs! My Frenchie, my soulmate, and service dog just passed away :(. The black pig is Rosalita and Doc is white and black! The last picture is from when they were babies!!!!
View attachment 324860 View attachment 324861 View attachment 324858 View attachment 324862
a little delayed but just wanted to say I'm in love with all these cuties!! Those lil pigs :love: and the pups too <3
 

max_wildlife

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here's my mowgli :)
he's my only pet right now but I like to think once I'm done with vet school and settled in a residency one day he might get another husky sibling.
from may-september, he's also my coworker! since I switched to invasive species ecology rather than wildlife ecology, he gets to come with me most days during the field season as long as the temps are reasonable. he's not really great at looking for the invasive plants, but he is pretty good at helping keep me safe and is the best at keeping me company.
 

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There was this place in Portsmouth I loved called the Book & Bar. I took drawing classes there. It just had such a different feel to it. I'd love to explore the rest of the state, it's pretty much the only place I'd been.
OMG STOP RIGHT NOW. THAT IS MY FAVORITE PLACE TO GO DO WORK. I can get a beer or cocktail, and sit there with my work for HOURS (or at least I have a few drinks then get horrible ADHD). They've been closed due to Covid so I haven't been since last spring 😭

Edited to add: Also your dog is super cute, is he a typical dramatic husky 😂
 
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here's my mowgli :)
he's my only pet right now but I like to think once I'm done with vet school and settled in a residency one day he might get another husky sibling.
from may-september, he's also my coworker! since I switched to invasive species ecology rather than wildlife ecology, he gets to come with me most days during the field season as long as the temps are reasonable. he's not really great at looking for the invasive plants, but he is pretty good at helping keep me safe and is the best at keeping me company.
Ugh so cute!!
 
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