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cozycleo

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Every vet-student hopeful I talk to seems to be so sure of what they want to do (mostly companion animals or equine). I'm pretty undetermined at this point. I could see myself in lots of areas. In fact one of the appeals of vet med for me is that it's so broad and you have lots of career options.

The only thing I do know is that I really have no desire to run a companion animal practice. I have thought about emergency medicine or possibly surgery, but my real desire is to really be where there's a great need for vets. I'm more interested in helping people and animals, so I'm looking into things like public health, food animal, etc. But honestly, I have no clue if I have a #1 focus. I just know that I want to be active and I joke that my goal is "to have an office, but never really be in there" because I'm always out working. I've seen pros and cons to many different specialties, which isn't helping me decide on anything either.

Anyone else still trying to figure out what they want to do? Am I an oddball for this? Do you think it would affect my application much? I feel on one hand I may have an appeal for being open to several possibilities, but at the same time I also wonder if my indecisiveness would be viewed negatively.

At any rate, I still have plenty of time before my application, and I'm making efforts to get experience in various areas in hopes that it will help me figure out what I would and wouldn't like. I'm just curious as to what you all think.

Thanks!
 

cateyes

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You're not an oddball at all! It's great that you don't have a set field in mind. This way you're open to all of the different types of medicine that you will be exposed to in school. You may find you love something that you had never considered before! It's also really common for veterinary students to change their mind regarding what they'd like to do at least once during their school years, so even if you went in with one type of medicine in mind, you may graduate and begin practicing something else entirely.
 

NittanyKitty

NCSU CVM c/o 2014
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You're definitely not an oddball! Me and several other students I know have the exact same problem. Everytime I think I have an idea of my direction I find something new that sounds like fun! I know I don't want to do equine practice or biomedical research, but other than that, I'm open to just about anything. I haven't been through the interview or application process, but not having a definite focus at this point isn't a bad thing. A lot of people are unsure, and those who claim they are sure may still change their minds in vet school!
 
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EqSci

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I have much of the same feelings as you do, except that I know I want to practice equine-based medicine. But even in that there are more areas than I can imagine. That's part of what I love about this path... there are endless possibilities and I'll bet 99% of people end up somewhere they never in their wildest dreams thought they would be.

I doubt it would be detrimental to your application as long as you spin it in a positive way, much like your post.
 

primatevetjess

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Nov 18, 2008
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Of course you're not an oddball! Lots of people aren't entirely sure what area of medicine they want to go into. I know that I wasn't, and have considered zoo medicine, wildlife medicine, and small animal emergency/critical care. I have settled on lab animal medicine, which makes ME the oddball!

I think the most important thing is for you to gain experience in as many different areas as possible. I have volunteered and/or worked in all of the fields that I mentioned above, as well as large animal and small animal general practice. I started volunteering in lab animal just last semester, only to round out my overall experience, to say that I did it. I never even came close to considering a career in that area. And I discovered that I really love it! I've now chosen that as my focus. So try everything that you possibly can! :)
 

Kylana

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I have always wondered this too. It seems that the more varied experience I get, the more indecisive I become. Now that I think about it, I have written four different essays while in undergrad about my career goals and they have each specified different areas of vet med: small animal, large animal, wildlife and emergency. I think I wrote something about wanting to be a veterinary pathologist too. But even with all this indecisiveness, I still feel a step ahead of many of my friends because a lot of them do not even have a clue what they want to do after undergrad. It is definitely not easy to figure out exactly what you want to do with your life.
 

tealamutt

WSU class of 2012
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Dec 18, 2007
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stop viewing this as a "problem" guys! It will help you so much in school (provided your school does not track of course!) Once you're in, you kind of start gravitating toward stuff through clubs, etc and you'll figure it out. Trying new stuff for me has been one of the things keeping me sane this first semester (when you touch very few live animals). The people who are "sure" of what they want are at a disadvantage because so many of them close their minds to learning about things they "know" they never want to practice on. And hey, you need to know it for the boards if nothing else. I think mentioning the breadth of the field in an interview is a smart thing to do, so if you can use this to turn your indecision into a positive for interviewers, you'll be in great shape!
 

cozycleo

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Thanks everyone. That makes me feel better. I just haven't talked to any pre-vets personally that weren't dead set on a specialty already. Of course I know that people go in with one expectation and change their minds later all the time, but it seemed odd to me that everyone appeared to just know what they wanted to do. At the beginning of 2008, vet school wasn't even in my head as an idea. But the last 6 months I've been working hard to get where I need to be. Glad to know that I'm not crazy for being open to all possibilities.
 

VAgirl

UC Davis SVM c/o 2012
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Jun 18, 2007
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stop viewing this as a "problem" guys! It will help you so much in school (provided your school does not track of course!)

It's not even a problem at schools that track. Here we have a few years before we have to officially decide what track we're on (end of 2nd year? end of 3rd? I can't recall), and even then there are 9 tracks to chose from (species based, combos of species, etc.). I think the earliest any school wants you to decide a track is after 1 year (Va Tech), and even then I seem to remember people saying you could switch later if you decided that was right for you.
 

ShelterGirl

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I agree with what everyone else has mentioned, although ...

If you literally have NO idea what you want to do (as I did not the first application go-round), that can hurt you. If your experiences don't line up with your interests, that's not ideal either - I know a couple of people who didn't get in because of that.

For the OP, knowing that you don't want companion animal medicine and why is great - it shows that you have really given some thought to the career.
 
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