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What did you think of your pre-vet "vet experience"?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by Must Love Lucy, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. Must Love Lucy

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    Hi guys,

    So I was just wondering how all of you felt about vet med during the time you were still gaining vet experience (before applying to schools). I've been interested in becoming a vet since I was in middle school and I've worked at a small clinic (both part and full time during different parts of the year) as a kennel aid, receptionist, and vet assistant since I graduated high school (2 years - 2K+ hours). Of course when I was younger I was blindly and head-over-heels in love with the profession, but after gaining experience in the field I have some serious concerns about my ability to enjoy it long term. I'm worried that my shrinking ethusiasm is a sign I should go in a different direction... So I thought I would ask how all of you felt before you applied. Did you always feel so passionately about it? Have you ever *seriously* wondered if you would be able to handle the emotional and physical stress that the job entails?

    I feel I might be worrying prematurely as I have a year left to decide if I should apply to vet school. On the other hand I have been leaving my job consistently disheartened or exhausted so switching gears to working towards masters and PhD programs has been sounding increasingly inviting...
     
  2. WildZoo

    WildZoo Illegal in all 50, Unlynchable Wolf
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    I've worked in a lot of different settings and none of them for more than 6 months yet, so I think I'm sort of consistently in the honeymoon phase. Of course there were bad days, whether they were emotionally or physically draining. I got frustrated during some of my experiences for various reasons, but at baseline I honestly always enjoyed what I was doing. Never considered quitting any of my experiences (I only left because of moving back and forth between home and school) and never found something that I wanted to do more than vet med.
     
  3. bam15

    bam15 Oklahoma State c/o 2018

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    Personally, I've worked as a technician every summer of college up until heading off to vet school and have found myself counting down the days earlier and earlier each year. But my main distinction is that I was tired of being a tech, I wanted to be the one calling the shots. It wasn't because I was growing tired of the profession, just my position in it.
     
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  4. Jess Monster

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    I've had clinical and non-clinical experiences throughout my pre-vet years and for the most part, even when I was in the middle of the worst experiences, I knew that I still wanted to keep going. Many of my experiences were also short term, so there often wasn't time for me to get disillusioned with what I was doing.

    I think it's normal to doubt yourself. To feel like you're not worthy enough for vet school. To feel like your interest, passion, etc. isn't authentic. I can't imagine that there exists a person who is always passionate and enthusiastic about her job or vet med in general. To me that sounds exhausting.
     
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  5. pinkpuppy9

    pinkpuppy9 Illinois c/o 2019
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    During my experiences in zoo hospitals and wildlife clinics, I loved it. I can honestly say I was excited to go to work every day and that I truly felt passion.

    Small animal? I've got a couple of years in SA med and it drains me. Part of that is because I ended up in a really bad clinic this year, but I just do not enjoy SA medicine as much as I do zoo. I still knew what I wanted to do, but I think that is only because I had other experiences to keep on my mind and keep me going. With that being said, I know it's very hard to get into zoo.

    Just because your enthusiasm is shrinking in a SA clinic doesn't mean you shouldn't be a vet. Try to get some different experience elsewhere-wildlife, research, food, LA, equine, whatever. It can only help you.
    This is a really good point. I'll be upfront and say that I hate kennel work with a passion. As a vet assistant, you tend to do a fair amount of it. After 8 months of kennel work mixed in with being a 'tech,' I was completely over it. Constantly cleaning and running around and being everyone's b*tch...yeah, I can do without all of that.
     
  6. WhtsThFrequency

    Veterinarian 10+ Year Member

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    Be careful about that line of thinking. Research is by no means easier. Thus far, my PhD has been harder than vet school, harder than residency...hardest thing I have ever done in terms of keeping spirits up. The amount of stress that goes into a science PhD is immense.
     
  7. Felixor90

    Felixor90 Michigan State 2019!
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    Maybe the clinic where you work isn't a good fit for you. I absolutely loved working at my first tech job and absolutely hated the second one. I'm convinced that if I had worked for that place first, I would have switched career paths. Try shadowing a few other places for a while and see if your thoughts change. Also, try shadowing at your current place one a day that you're off; shadowing a vet and seeing things from his/her eyes is very different than working as his assistant/tech (depending on the clinic, of course).
     
  8. LyraGardenia

    LyraGardenia Kansas State c/o 2020
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    I agree with those above that working at different clinics (both different SA clinics and different areas of vet med) is valuable, and I wouldn't consider leaving vet med because of your experiences at just one clinic. I also don't love the clinic that I work at, and there are a lot of days where I really want to quit, but it's mainly due to a few specific people I work with, and because we're woefully overworked and underpaid compared to other clinics in this area. I worked at a different, smaller clinic before this that wasn't as insanely busy, and I liked everyone I worked with, and I genuinely enjoyed going to work there each day, other than having to get up early. ;)

    I also think analyzing why you dislike your job is important. If the sad cases, or the busy, unpredictable environment is constantly wearing on you, that's a bad sign. Of course there are certain terrible days in any job, but it shouldn't be a constant source of stress/burnout. If it's your role in the clinic that's wearing on you, or certain co-workers, or the way certain things are done at your clinic, that's normal. Are you still interested in and excited about the medicine? Do you enjoy talking to and educating clients? @Jess Monster is right that no one is going to love every minute of vet med, but there should still be moments that remind you why you want to go into this field.
     
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  9. that redhead

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    What is it that is causing you concern? If it's endless cleaning, walking dogs, scooping poop and the like, less cause for concern. If it's working with annoying clients, doing the same things over and over, more cause for concern. The reason vet schools want applicants to have experience is for exactly this reason: so they know what they're getting into, at least at some level, and so they aren't $200k+ in debt, 8 years of schooling later before they realize this isn't the field for them. Not that you should abandon all hope, but it's certainly something to consider going forward. I agree that looking into other avenues - large animal, research, zoo/aquatic, equine, etc- is a good idea, but many of the things that become mundane, frustrating, heartbreaking and overall turn-offs in small animal rear their ugly heads in the other facets of vet med.

    I started my experience as a high school intern at a small animal clinic. I worked as a tech with them on and off my first two years of college. But I wasn't really interested in the same song and dance that got repeated every day: vaccinate, alter pets, dispense meds, yadda yadda yadda. I did some equine work but that was all lameness exam, preg. check ad nauseum. And then I got into the lab animal scene sophomore year and thought I'd found my calling. Long story short, I didn't match into a lab animal residency and I'm working in SA GP. And it's going okay, despite my early misgivings, because I'm not in the same role. In some ways I like it more than lab animal, in others, less. But overall I'm happy enough.
     
  10. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango
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    Maybe the term "passionately" rubs me the wrong way, but I've never felt like "omg I'm PASSIONATE about vet med." Not before school, during it, or after.

    I feel like it's basically what I expected it would be. I did most of my pre-vet stuff in a GP context and now I work ER, at least for now, but still .... It's kinda like I expected.

    I generally look forward to work. Probably the biggest factor on whether I'm look forward to it is which techs I have that day. Most of mine are amazing, but I have a couple ..... I just groan when they're on. That's the single biggest factor for me in how my shift will go. The clients generally don't change - I mean, the faces do, but it's basically the same percentage of idiots, know-it-all-from-google types, can't pay, won't pay, etc. That stuff is the same day to day. Techs make or break my shift.

    I laughed when I read the comment about calling the shots. You think it's frustrating to be a tech and not call the shots when you don't have the training to do so? Try having the training and not being able to. Newsflash - clients call the shots. If someone is going into vet med to "call the shots" you're going to be disappointed.

    I still like my job. There are just enough cases where I genuinely make or break the outcome for an animal to be satisfying. And just enough good clients to make it ok.
     
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  11. SocialStigma

    SocialStigma OVC c/o 2015
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    As others have said, it depends on why you're losing enthusiasm after gaining more vet experience. I was very bored by SA general practice (no offense to all the GPs here) before vet school because the clinics I shadowed at were very small (1 or 2 vet practices) and didn't have a lot in terms of equipment/diagnostics (film rads, no ultrasound, no in-house bloodwork, etc). I had zero interest in doing annual wellness exams and seeing vomiting/diarrhea cases on a daily basis. I knew then that I never wanted to go into general practice. However, I was still very excited by and passionate about surgery every time the mobile surgeon would come in to do anything more complicated than a spay/neuter. If I had worked at a larger GP clinic with more toys, I probably would've enjoyed the experience more.
     
  12. Must Love Lucy

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    First of all, THANK you all for the responses and advice!

    I am primarily being worn down by the sad cases that come through, I don't want to sound like the person who says "I would be a vet but I could never euthanize an animal," but after a particularly tramautizing incident in my personal life last summer, I find it extremely hard to deal with emotional cases. So much that those cases alone make me want to leave my job. Having to be around people that have just lost their best friend has become so difficult for me now. That along with the limitations due to lack of funds from owners, the jam packed schedules that often stretch out far past closing time, and debt:income ratio is seriously concerning me. I still enjoy working with clients, comforting animals, and learning about medicine, but I just don't know if it will be enough to combat the negative parts of the profession.

    And it's not that I believe getting a PhD would be easier by any means, I just feel that my passion for science, and research, might be better served by going into academics or research rather than vet med. I have had a few experiences with research and I LOVE it so far -granted two of my experiences have been super awesome field work so maybe I am making out to be better than it actually is... @WhtsThFrequency can I ask what you are getting (or got) your PhD in? Are you enjoying it?
     
  13. WhtsThFrequency

    Veterinarian 10+ Year Member

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    Biomedical science. Eh it's ok. I like research well enough. I'm mostly just doing it so I can get a faculty position in the future.
     
  14. pirateyoho

    pirateyoho Mizzou c/o 2019!!!
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    Yes, I found myself dreading work sometimes when I worked in vet med. But I also worked outside of vet med and often experienced the same thing. Work is still work: it's going to have crappy days and not be fun all (or most ) of the time, and that's okay. I didn't care that my vet med jobs weren't enjoyable everyday; I cared that I actually felt like I was contributing something, making a difference to someone, and applying myself mentally as well as physically. I knew that was what was going to keep me satisfied with my job in the long run, not the initial "passion" that drew me to it in the first place.
     
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