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traditional versus non-traditional?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by notamonotreme, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. notamonotreme

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    I'm fairly new around here, but I have read a lot of back posts and done some searches. It seems like age and not being pre-vet in undergrad are two of the biggest factors in whether someone is considered a non-traditional applicant or not. I'm not really sure where I fall in this, because I seem to be non-traditional even for the non-traditional applicants! ;)

    I am getting my BA this spring, but I still have several pre-reqs to finish before I can apply to vet school. I also want to get more animal experience. My grades are excellent and I go to a fairly prestigious college, but my animal experience is lacking. I have planned on going to vet school since high school, but I wasn't able to finish the pre-reqs due to issues with distribution requirements and transferring schools. It will probably take me two years to finish my pre-reqs if I'm only taking classes part time. However, I started college two years early so by the time I start applying I will be back on track with where I should have been if I had started college at the normal time.

    To further complicate things, I will also be the single mom of a toddler since I'm currently pregnant. With that strange combination of circumstances, I'm really not sure whether I would consider myself a traditional or non-traditional applicant! Are there any other traditional or non-traditional students out there in similar situations? :confused: It probably doesn't actually matter in the grand scheme of things, but it might make me more interesting. :p

    Edited to add: I'm also obviously planning to be working and getting much more animal experience while I'm finishing my pre-reqs.
     
    #1 notamonotreme, Dec 7, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2008
  2. Truth74

    Truth74 DVM
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    Hey there notamonotreme,

    I'm a non-trad. I'm 34, I have 3 kids, and I spent a bit longer finishing up my pre-reqs because of this.

    A non-trad is usually, but not always a bit older than a traditional student, has a family, is married, or is changing their career. Traditional students get into college and go through full-time, get their degree and apply to vet school on schedule.

    Anyone that does not complete the schedule as it is on the catalog/manual full-time is a little bit of a non-trad. Lots of traditional students have jobs (sometimes two or three), but they do not have the other obligations that a non-trad has as a given (supporting yourself and family, mortgage, etc...).

    I would also like to point out that the child will change your priorities. That's what babies do. You don't know how you'll feel about school until you've had a month or two to adjust to the new arrival.

    Unless you have a very good support network of friends and family in place and willing to help, that schedule that you want to keep may not be feasible. I'm not even going to get into the cost of childcare. I can't imagine doing all of that by myself. When you throw a kid in the mix, there is always going to be something to change your plans for the given day (illness, half-days, etc...). The family friends and childcare will help when you need to spend that day with the vet, shelter, or working at the vet clinic (which doesn't pay much to start). Also, if you have a job to pay the bills on top of vet /animal experience, there won't seem like there are enough hours in the day.

    I'm not trying to discourage you from continuing. I just want you to know that it may take longer than you think to be ready to apply.

    Good luck.
     
  3. notamonotreme

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    Thanks for the response Truth74. :)

    Two years is just an estimate, and I am perfectly okay with it taking longer for me to finish my pre-reqs. I actually only have 2 1-year long courses and 1 1-semester long course left to complete. I am more concerned with getting more animal experience, and I could see that pushing back my application timeline. I'm also not counting on getting in my first time applying based on everything I have read!

    While I do not have a spouse or SO to help me, I am exceptionally lucky to have a very supportive family and circle of friends. My mom doesn't work, and she is both willing and available to provide childcare for as long as I am in school. My parents are both very supportive of my desire to go to vet school, so they are willing to help out as much as possible. My friends have also been very supportive through my entire pregnancy, and I have more offers for baby-sitters than I know what to do with. I don't know if they will still be as enthusiastic once she is actually born! I would be planning to stay in state, and I have a large, supportive extended family in state as well.

    I know that it is going to be a challenging process, but I am optimistic that it is actually doable. My daughter is definitely very, very high on my list of priorities. I may very well end up waiting until she starts school to begin applying to vet school, and I'll still only be in my mid-20's at that point.
     
  4. dpcdoc

    dpcdoc VMRCVM Class of 2012
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    You will definitely need the support network you described. I am a first year with a wife and 3 kids and I am finding vet school enjoyable but extremely difficult. you will need to plan on studying about 30 hours a week outside of class time in order to keep up. It is difficult to dedicate that much time to studies and not neglect your family. For me, that is the hardest part of school. None of the material in itself is that difficult, it is rather the sheer volume and rapidity you need to absorb it that is the challenge. My sincere best wishes to you.
     
  5. notamonotreme

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    Are your kids school aged and has that made it any easier/more difficult? I may end up waiting until my daughter is in school, and then we can both be doing homework. ;) I'm expecting vet school to be fairly intense. I luckily read very quickly and retain information fairly well. I know it will still be incredibly difficult, but that does make it a little bit easier.

    I'm very impressed that you are going through vet school with three kids! Thank you for the well wishes. Good luck in your studies as well!
     
  6. Whirr

    2+ Year Member

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    Yay, another "non-trad" preparing for vet school while pregnant! It's nice to know there are others out there in the same boat. I'm 24 years old, have been interested in vet med for awhile but in undergrad pursued a straight science/language degree, and so I've spent the last year finishing up pre-vet coursework and trying to get animal and vet experience. I'm married, which helps me out a lot, but along with that comes family responsibilities, and a mortgage, and being landlords since we rent out part of our house.

    I'd certainly echo that having the baby means your timeline will probably shift. I did as much "research" into having a baby before/after vet school as I could, and now I'm 16 weeks pregnant and realistic about the fact that even though I can apply this upcoming year, I probably won't have as much experience or focus on the application as I would like to. The sense I get, though, is that even if my baby means I will delay school a year or three longer, it doesn't hurt to apply so I can to find out what areas need improvement, so long as I think I could be ready to go if I do get in. Some schools offer deferrment as an option but I don't know what requirements they may have, and it's usually only a year from what I've seen.

    On the other hand, I figure that if I take the time now with my child, I will be able to focus more fully on my full-time career when he or she is a little older, rather than taking a break when I'm trying to establish myself in a practice, with student loans that need paying off. It is definitely a tradeoff, though. I just gave notice at my kennel/vet assistant job because spending all day on my feet, dealing with litterboxes, and cleaning kennels is getting harder as my belly grows outward and I didn't want to wait so long that I wouldn't be able to find another job. It means, though, that I won't have nearly as much experience by next cycle as I could have. (I didn't feel the clinic was a great fit for me, either, so hopefully it was the right decision.)

    Best of luck in your studies, and just keep plugging along to your goal! We'll get there eventually I'm sure.
     

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