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Thoughts.. please?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by forks4spoons, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. forks4spoons

    forks4spoons Followin' the dream.
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    Hi everyone,

    I've been a huge fan of SDN for quite some time now.. but, I think I need to post here. I need some help.

    I'm almost 27. I've been all over the place academically, and I'm just.. completely torn right now. From the time I was 8 up until i was about 21, I was going to be a vet -no questions asked. I love James Herriot with a passion. I own 5 chickens, 2 dogs and a cat. I was a kennel assistant in high school and I completed a B.S. in Zoology with a minor in Chemistry (instead of going the pre-vet/agriculture route) with every intent of applying. Then I fell in love my last year of undergrad, got married and decided, "eh, teaching biology would be okay." So, I started my M.A. in Education and hated it. I haaaaated it. All I wanted to do was teach my kids about the awesome things animals can do (thanatosis, anyone?) and I couldn't because of the educational standards.

    So, in 2008, I'm talking to a buddy of mine that was at UT Memphis for med school, and he asks me why I wasn't in vet school? I said I didn't know and, well, long story short, I ended up applying to medical school. Pretty much on a whim - I'd never even wanted to be a people doctor. I applied in August, took the MCAT in September, interviewed with my #1 school (LMU-DCOM) in October and was accepted in November. Destiny, right? Who ends up getting into medical school that easily?

    I started at DCOM in the summer of 2009, left my husband in the fall of 2009, was divorced in the spring of 2010 as well as being remediated to the next, incoming class. So, I got back in the saddle Fall 2010 and halfway through the semester, decided living 3 hours away from my elderly parents wasn't what I wanted to do with my life, nor was spending the next 7 years of my life a slave to medicine/becoming a doctor.

    Up until about 30 minutes ago, I had decided applying to a PA program (27 months in length) in the general vicinity of my parents/siblings would be completely acceptable. I've applied to a single program, and am anxiously awaiting news from them (which I will not get until October, at the earliest). I've already taken the GRE for it and my scores are... well, competitive.

    And then I was perusing the internet and saw this:

    http://i.imgur.com/JWahc.jpg

    (I wish I could append it to this thread, but the image is huge, so I'll spare you.)

    ...and it took my breath away. Perhaps I'm simply struck by the nostalgia of it? Dreaming of my undergrad life and the life I expected it to be? Part of me tells me that it would be counterintuitive for me to apply to vet school, as I would then be eating up at least 4 years of my life, an hour and a half away from my parents, and missing out on a lot of milestones in my nieces and parents' lives.. and very likely their last few living years. (My grandparents raised me and I consider them my parents, so they're in their 70s.. and not at the height of health.) But part of me wonders if I'll regret it if I don't.

    I'm torn.. and I'm heartbroken. The sacrifices weren't worth it enough for me to be a physician, but would they be enough for me to become a veterinarian? I'm already 80k in debt from a year and a half of medical school, so that's another factor. Would I ever be able to pay off med school + vet school?!

    Please, any thoughts/sentiments/etc. would be greatly appreciated. Am I being too rash about this? Have I passed my expiration date? have too many factors been stacked against me? should I do what I have always wanted?
     
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  3. drwildlife

    drwildlife SGU Class of 2017?
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    Firstly, I enjoyed reading your post. You have certainly been all over the place but, I can tell you're really trying to find your little niche in the world.

    I definitely don't think it's too late for veterinary school. You're only 27 years old - you have your whole life ahead of you. I say that like I'm 60+...I'm only 21...But, no, I do not think it is too late.

    I think the most difficult part will be persuading veterinary schools into thinking becoming a veterinarian is what you REALLY want to do. You have done so many things they may see you as just wanting to "try" veterinary school instead of actually doing it as a career.


    As far as debt, you could pay it off in time. Just realize that it will take time and isn't going to happen over time. Be realistic in what your financial abilities are but, also don't let it hold you back too much. My family certainly will not be able to pay for my veterinary school and I will be paying off loans for most of my life. But, will it be worth it? Of course!

    That's another thing. Any job can get you money. But, will you enjoy it? What's the point in a job if it doesn't make you happy? Money isn't everything. I'm one of those people that believes happiness itself is worth millions upon millions of dollars.

    In the end, do what you feel is right for you. Do what will make you happy and will let you enjoy life.
     
  4. CurrySpice

    2+ Year Member

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    I would go about compiling your experiences for veterinary school and see what you think after that. Do you already have a lot of time in a vet office? AND working with animals? That will take some time, during which you can figure out your mind.

    If you search, you can see a lot of posters agonizing over the debt. Tennessee is a good in-state school with low tuition, so I would focus on only getting into your IS. It helps cut the debt substantially.

    You don't want to rush into this. Going to vet school will be, undoubtedly, the stupidest financial decision that I will ever make. My savings will be completely depleted & so I will graduate in the red instead of the black. The debt:income ratio is atrocious.

    You will also need to think about how to present your withdrawal from med school. It sounds like your life just crashed on your head, but what will you do if your parents fall gravely ill? Will you leave vet school to care for them? In that case, you may want to delay entry.
     
  5. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango
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    This seems like golden advice to me, especially since it sounds like you aren't really sure what you want to do next.

    Personally, now that I've met a bunch of my classmates and realized I'm the dumbest guy in vet school, I think I may just cut 'n run to med school where I've got a chance of being middle-of-the-road. :)
     
  6. drwildlife

    drwildlife SGU Class of 2017?
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    :laugh:
     
  7. jsp132

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    the good thing is you have plenty of time on your side

    I would suggest like others suggested, try shadowing some vets ..........see how it truly is

    pretty incredible story to.........already to get set to go to PA........but your heart really isn't in it..........but something else is pulling you towards a different future

    I don't think it's a stupid decision..........just weigh the pros and cons.......it seems like you'd really enjoy your career as a veterinarian

    whatever you decide good luck :thumbup:
     
  8. Kmeid

    Kmeid VMRCVM c/o 2016!

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    I have to a agree quiet a bit with everything above.

    The way I view it (perhaps it will help). I want to have a job, no matter what it is, that I wake up every morning and look forward to going to work. Yea, I may be tired, I may have a lot to do, but I love it. And I want to go in because I love it.

    That's my goal. Well, one of many goals.

    As far as the money is concerned, I think you're very wise to take it into account now, but also keep in mind financial aid is out there, and if you want it bad enough there are scholarships and grants available. The paperwork just may consume part of your soul throughout the process.

    But perhaps PA may be perfect too? Think about yourself waking up and going to work. Would you want to be there?

    You have tons of options. Follow your heart. Only you know what will truly fulfill you!
     
  9. petdrhpful2015

    petdrhpful2015 VMRCVM c/o 2015
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    I think even if you are 100% sure you want to go to vet school, you will always have reservations about something, whether it is the finances, the hours, the commitment, location, etc. I'm starting in less than a month and terrified, but know that this is where I want to be and is worth every sacrifice I have to make. I know that even with 1000+ hours of experience, I had to convince the committees that this was the career for me because I applied at 25. If you aren't convinced yourself that this is the right path for you, there is no way an admissions committee that doesn't know you will think so.

    Take it all a step at a time and make a well-informed decision. Volunteer for one day at a vet hospital and see if you could envision yourself there. I know after my first day I knew I couldn't live without it. Maybe your answer will be easier to come by than you think...

    Best of luck to you.
     
  10. Maddiegirl

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    I agree with the comments so far, but will add my two cents as follows: 1) take a step back and think about everything; 2) follow your heart.

    If you make an informed and rational (rather than emotional and impulsive) decision and follow your heart you will end up a happier person.

    We can sit here all day long and say what we would do, but the answer to your question lies within you. Only you have the power to make your dreams come true. Don't let doubt and worry stand in your way. You can be anything you want to be; just figure out what you want, and then grab it and hold on tight. Best of luck to you.
     
  11. Bisbee

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    Your story is such a real example of how so many people feel about their careers and life in general. While there are those people who seem to know exactly what they want to do from childhood and are able to set their goals to make it happen, I think most of us go through life questioning our decisions, wondering if the time, personal and financial cost is really worth it and looking around to see if there isn't something better out there. Rather than seeming indecisive, it makes you seem like a normal human with many interests and talents in life. It's sometimes hard to be around people who seem to have it all mapped out without any misgivings on what they're doing. It makes the rest of us feel like we might not be in the right field or doing what we "should" be doing in life. Instead of feeling down or flustered or upset about the questioning you are experiencing, instead look at it as an opportunity to follow new interests. You may be thinking, "What if I do go to vet school and end up feeling the same way I do now about medical school...maybe helping humans is better than helping animals, etc." This could very well happen. Rather than feel like you are throwing away the time you put into med school by switching, you could look on it as a learning experience that would also give you a strong background for vet school. Or maybe you could continue med school and have animals as a serious side interest in your life. Or maybe you could have an M.D. and a DVM....so many possibilities, and so exciting since you're still young and have the time to explore all of them that you can imagine. I agree so much with all the advice about getting some animal experience to see where it takes you. Inch by inch, it's a cinch; yard by yard it's very hard. Be happy...life is exciting when you're a curious person with so many loves and passions!
     
  12. that redhead

    Veterinarian 7+ Year Member

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    Here's my impression. I don't mean to offend, so please don't take it that way.

    1. It seems like you love animals, which is awesome. (For what its worth, there's a thread already about the lion. I'll leave my thoughts on the matter in that thread.) However, being a vet is a whole lot more than loving animals and I don't get the impression from this post that you really get that yet, or that you're prepared to deal with that part of the profession (see #2)

    2. You say you don't want to spend seven years "a slave to medicine". While vet school is four years (same as medical school) and can be limited to that, there are many paths in which the internship/residency/crappy schedule/poor pay shebang is similar to that of human medicine. If you don't want to do it for human medicine and the only difference is that you love animals, I don't see that as going very well. Love of animals won't necessarily pull you through that.

    3. You'd still be far from your family, which was something that deterred you from human med. Again, don't think love of animals will alleviate that.

    4. You are not too old to pursue this path if it is indeed what you want. (see #5) There are plenty of people that decide later in life (and much more than 27!) that they want to go after their dream.

    5. You strike me as a rather indecisive/whimsical sort of person. I could be 100% wrong and again, I mean no offense! But dropping out of medical school to pursue vet school and then deciding it wasn't what you'd dreamed of would be even worse (in my opinion, of course) than sticking it out in human medicine. The debt is a huge issue.

    6. Educate yourself further about the admission process as well as the field before proceeding. Depending on your grades and such, you'll likely have a lot of catching up to do in regards to experiences. Shadow vets and find out what it's like, because like #1 says, it isn't all about little kid dreams of curing puppies and kitties. As for the field, there are a lot of recent events (and threads) that suggest that the job market is narrowing for recent graduates, especially those interested in the more commonly desired small animal specialties/general practice. Your prospects as a human doctor are likely a lot greater.

    That was a lot, sorry! Basically, look before you leap on this one. I think impulsively deciding to apply is a bad idea but if you research it carefully and understand what you're getting yourself into, it isn't at all impossible (or even a reach) to get yourself going on this path.
     
  13. lareinesoleil

    lareinesoleil WSU CVM c/o 2015!!!
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  14. forks4spoons

    forks4spoons Followin' the dream.
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    First.. i want to thank each and every one of you. I truly appreciate your sincerity, objectivity and lack of bias. Your responses truly mean the world to me, and I cannot thank you enough.

    I'm hoping I'll be able to respond to some of the comments that caught my eye.. I really suck at the advanced quote stuff.

    lol. just.. lol. :laugh::laugh:

    Bisbee, I think you pretty much summed me up quite well. I'm so curious about so many things.. But I have only a few passions (family, medicine and animals.) It makes it difficult to figure out which combination of those passions fits me best. However, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one that doesn't have it mapped out. I was quite intimidated by my former med school colleagues that had wanted to be doctors since.. well, birth. Heck, up until I was about 20, I thought I had it all mapped out myself.. and then.. well, life got in the way. So many options indeed... and I hate to pigeonhole myself.

    It's mine, too. All I want is to do something I love.. to find my little piece of happiness and settle down with no (major) worries. The question is: would caring for people or caring for animals fulfill that?

    Either way, I'll be defending myself.. PA school adcom will ask me why I left medical school. DVM adcom will do the same. I just have to be prepared for it.

    Money has never been an object for me. When I was in medical school, I didn't go for the money it could potentially bring. To be honest, now, I don't know why I applied. Methinks it was a way to get out of a sticky situation (my marriage). However, there is a concern with all of the looming debt I am to take on. I'm sure I'll find a way to slowly, slowly, slowly pay the debt off. I just don't want to have to stress over it, or live in poverty over it. (That would make me very unhappy.) Otherwise, you're right - it's all about doing something that you love. ("Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life." Right?) <-- that's what I want to do.

    Sigh, so having written all of this.. and having spent some time reflecting (I know I have many more hours ahead of me), I believe I am going to apply. I can much more easily see myself working with animals over people in my very distant future. It was my dream for a long, long time.. and all I knew up until I got married. I know it's not all petting puppies and kitties and giving boosters and checkups, performing s/n surgeries and monitoring lions. Vet med is emotional, exhausting and riddled with losses and frustration. So is people-med. My heart can handle that... but I just don't know if I would ever be able to forgive myself if I didn't at least try. I know my parents support me, and I know that they would understand if I wasn't able to be there like I should. I *know* this... and I'm wondering if I haven't been trying to hide behind it, so I wouldn't have to live up to my potential. :)idea: Just had a breakthrough on that.. think I need to spend some time thinking on it and stop rambling here.)

    Thanks, everyone, for your support. I really appreciate it.
     
  15. jmo1012

    jmo1012 SGU (NCSU) c/o 2015!
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    real quick something to think about: no one goes into vet med to make it rich, but there is A LOT of circulating chat now about the realities of being able to live on a vet med salary with gigantic student loans. you might go through so threads on here that have advice from vets and back and forth banter about the money issue.
     
  16. PharmGirl000

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    delete.
     
    #15 PharmGirl000, Jul 28, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  17. forks4spoons

    forks4spoons Followin' the dream.
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    I understand that part of the profession all too well.. and I know this is probably going to be the wrong answer, but if i was prepared for it in human medicine, I think I've prepared for it in animal medicine, too.

    Well said.. and I'm hoping to spend more time weighing the sacrifices. Love for animals? No. Pursuing my childhood dream? Maybe. The jury's still out.

    Not offended. You're completely right about that. The last four years are very indicative of that. I have many interests.. it's just a matter of finding what I can feel I can live with day in and day out.. and be happy doing.

    It's been a couple of years since I did shadowing with a vet. Mostly, I stood in a corner while one of the SA docs performed a couple of spays, but I did get to see one of the docs do ortho sx for a dog that had been HBC. (That was awesome.)

    My prospects in human medicine are zilch. I withdrew in 2010. I have no desire to be a physician. I have a strong love for medicine/science, but no interest in being a physician after my experience in medical school. Why? God only knows. Like I mentioned earlier, I think medical school was an easy way out of a sticky situation. Being a PA is a whole 'nother spectrum. But trying to compare PA to DVM is like comparing apples to oranges. Not going to get very far.. or at least, I don't feel that I am.

    Thank you so, so much for your input. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your opinion. It is certainly a well spoken one and you have many valid points. I've just got to take it all into consideration now.
     
  18. Minnerbelle

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Would you mind explaining what it is about your experience in medical school that turned you off? This is going to be important if you apply for vet school, because it sounds like you quit during your first 2 years of med school, and vet school is pretty darn similar for the first 2 years (unless the curriculum for DOs is significantly different from that of MD schools). I'm sure this will come up in an interview. And if you decide to apply, I would write a good explanation statement for this one. Both for the reason above, and also because vet schools seem to really not like "quitters"
     
  19. forks4spoons

    forks4spoons Followin' the dream.
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    Easy enough.

    I didn't have a problem with the curriculum. I was doing quite well (not an A student, but doing well enough), despite a foible during my first year. I adore science. That certainly wasn't the problem. Being, for the most part, isolated from my family and friends in a town with a population of 1500 (largely students), was a huge problem. Considering I had very little in common with most of my classmates. I had many acquaintances but very few friends I could rely on. I hadn't grown up wanting to be a DO. I wasn't the daughter of a long line of DOs. I'm not Type-A. I'm not a gunner. I didn't feel I fit in.

    My heart just wasn't in it.. Did I really want to sacrifice at least 7 years of my life to a career that I'd decided to pursue on a whim? Did I want to lose the time with my family? Cause, no matter how much money I'd possibly have, I wouldn't be able to go back and spend time with my parents.

    Pursuing vet med would be similar, yes, in a lot of ways.. that I'd be consumed by school, with very little time to come home, but my parents only live 1.5 hours from my IS school. There's a big difference there.

    Sigh, I don't know.. maybe I'll just talk myself right out of it.
     

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