Pre-vet experience

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elsa2000

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Is it just me or is this a rejection? The area I live in have so few opportunities to gain clinical experience in the veterinary field and it’s getting pretty discouraging.

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I wouldn’t consider this a rejection even though I’m sure it hurts. As you mentioned, opportunities are hard to find in your area. I would take it as them not wanting to let one person monopolize one of those few opportunities. As hard as it is, there is no benefit to psycho-analyzing this. Take it at face value. You’ve had a chance to volunteer, but now someone else is also looking for the same experience and they want to help them too. As far as you know, you may never have gotten this chance either if they didn’t take this approach to volunteering. Volunteers can be helpful, but they also add to the burden of some employees and can be a potential liability. Someone needs to teach them and supervise and answer questions and make sure things are being done right. The more volunteers there are, the harder this becomes. It’s not as simple as taking on a second (or third, or fourth) volunteer to let anyone that wants gain experience.

Try to use it as an opportunity to look for different experience types. USDA or state vets nearby? Large animal vets? Shelter vets? Exotics? Research? It doesn’t have to be limited to standard vet clinics. Vet schools look at number of hours of experience, but they also consider variety of experience. Time spent in several different areas of the field is equally important to how long you’ve spent exposed to the vet industry. I’m sorry you feel rejected by this, but it may open doors you otherwise never thought to look for.
 
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If you have any personal pets, I would consider asking your animals vet if they would allow you to shadow for a few days. Don’t ask for a long term thing because you both want to make sure you mesh well and not get stuck if you don’t.
You can also look into vet assistant jobs and see if anywhere would work for your schedule (I assume you’re in school and have classes to attend so it would be something part time). I second asking other areas about volunteer or job shadowing opportunities. If you have an animal shelter or humane society nearby with a vet on staff, you may be able to get some experience there too. I would imagine your area has something else to offer.
You can also try going in person to clinics and asking about job shadowing. Some want a resume so may want to bring that along and it gives them your contact info easily if they need to discuss it first.
 
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Probably shouldn’t post e-mails and clinic names. Consider transcribing this message and taking down the image.

It really depends what you do during this volunteering. If you’re doing actual work, clinics can’t entertain “volunteers” forever without getting into problems with potential violations of federal labor laws. Shadowing is a little different and typically fairly hands off. Regardless, it sounds like they just want to be more equitable by offering this opportunity to other students. Also, consider that this type of activity can be exhausting to staff as they try to juggle their workload, teach you, answer your questions, and keep you safe in a medical environment that can be tense and unpredictable. Understandably, they may not have the ability to deal with too many students at one time.

(I literally had to deal with a ton of questions yesterday with 28 patients on my schedule, a traumatic early morning euthanasia, only two assistants, and a brief power outage, after a surprise new hire shadow showed up. I’m not the doctor who will be mentoring this new hire, but they scheduled her to come in anyway.)
 
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I wouldn’t consider this a rejection even though I’m sure it hurts. As you mentioned, opportunities are hard to find in your area. I would take it as them not wanting to let one person monopolize one of those few opportunities. As hard as it is, there is no benefit to psycho-analyzing this. Take it at face value. You’ve had a chance to volunteer, but now someone else is also looking for the same experience and they want to help them too. As far as you know, you may never have gotten this chance either if they didn’t take this approach to volunteering. Volunteers can be helpful, but they also add to the burden of some employees and can be a potential liability. Someone needs to teach them and supervise and answer questions and make sure things are being done right. The more volunteers there are, the harder this becomes. It’s not as simple as taking on a second (or third, or fourth) volunteer to let anyone that wants gain experience.

Try to use it as an opportunity to look for different experience types. USDA or state vets nearby? Large animal vets? Shelter vets? Exotics? Research? It doesn’t have to be limited to standard vet clinics. Vet schools look at number of hours of experience, but they also consider variety of experience. Time spent in several different areas of the field is equally important to how long you’ve spent exposed to the vet industry. I’m sorry you feel rejected by this, but it may open doors you otherwise never thought to look for.
Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I have been feeling so much pressure lately trying to maintain a high GPA and gain veterinary experience at the same time. It really boggles my mind how people are applying with a 3.9 gpa and 5,000 hours experience. I am trying hard not to take the hospital managers email so personally, but it still makes me feel bad. I will for sure take your advice and try to find opportunities for different experience types.
 
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