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xoxochlochlo

OSU c/o 2025!
Sep 5, 2020
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Does anyone have any experience working during vet school or know of someone with stories of how it may have turned out well (or poorly)? Is working through vet school worth it? For those who did work, did you stay within the veterinary/animal care industry, or did you choose an unrelated job?

I will be starting at OSU in Fall 2021 and am concerned about how to make rent/afford the cost of living while taking out as few loans as possible. I have worked part-time the last 3 years as a veterinary receptionist/assistant (Jan 2019 - Aug 2020) and a veterinary assistant/technician (Sept 2020 - present) in small animal private practices while completing my Bachelor's at Cal Poly Pomona. Any advice for a Californian moving to Oregon/an already broke student who is looking to minimize debt but still do well in school (or in general for people deciding whether or not they should work through vet school)?

Thanks in advance!
 
D

deleted1075187

Many students take work study in the teaching hospital I'm currently at (small or large animal ICU, front desk, emergency). usually its limited to x # of hours per week and is way under full time (like a max of 1 to 2 shifts a week). I believe these positions pay about 10 bucks an hour. you won't be paying your rent, but its often some pocket money and added experience. taking a job within the vet school is typically more flexible and you can schedule yourself, if you can't do a full shift because of an exam or something, they are understanding. Cant say outside employers will do the same.

You will have loans to lean on, which is tough, but just be smart. get roommates and rent cheap/meal prep to save $ instead of eating out daily, and live simply. send back anything you don't use for the semester. follow a budget. it will be easier on your wallet and mind instead of working 20-30 hr on top of vet school so you can scrape by and barely afford a slightly nicer "luxury" apartment.

I worked FT and went to night school prior to vet school, and IMO, it was awful, way worse than vet school itself. I did a few little side projects in vet school to help with some research and was a Teaching assistant, but consciously chose to not take a FT, out-of-the-university position as to not get overwhelmed and distracted. last thing you want is your grades to suffer for a minimum wage position.
 
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cheathac

Purdue c/o 2021!!!
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Apr 19, 2015
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I worked for a medical device company PT through veterinary school all the way up to 4th year. I would work 5-10 hours per week probably and some of that included weekend work checking on the animals. I mainly used it for some extra spending money/grocery money.
 
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JustPaws

Michigan State CVM c/o 2022
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Aug 2, 2017
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I have a classmate that has 3 jobs to minimize loans, but I am not sure how many hours a week she works. It seems like a bunch. Another classmate works like 20-25 hrs a week in the school ER.
 
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finnickthedog

Michigan State c/o 2021
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Oct 14, 2014
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Plenty of students work through vet school. Some work a little, some work a lot. Personally, I did not work during school and felt it would have been a bad decision for me. I only worked summers to cover my expenses.

I did end up taking out maximum loans which I know is not appealing. Could I have reduced my loans if I worked more? Yeah. But would I still be in vet school as opposed to failing or completely burning out? Debatable. I had a hard enough time as it was without working.

My general recommendation would be not to work during the first semester and take that time to see what vet school is like and then evaluate how well work will fit in to that for you. Then decide how much or little you'd like to work.
 
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Lupin21

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I'd stick to school job openings. You are there to become a veterinarian. Risking failing out due to being overwhelmed just to save a tiny bit of loans is not worth it imo. As others have said, just live wisely and do your best to save money that way.
 
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Trilt

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It's way easier to save money than make it, assuming you can't get a high paying/really skilled labour job part time - say, for example, you are a second career type or something. So I agree - focus on limiting spending, cheap housing, the such, vs. making money for living with part time work.

I actually did work part time through school (in a variety of different roles), but I did it after finding my feet the first semester and did jobs mostly at the school or that I really liked and were flexible.
 
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lkellyanns

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Mar 17, 2019
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I’m in my first year of vet school and just started working in our vet school pharmacy. I am doing it more for the experience, but the little bit of money I am making is nice. I’d definitely echo what others have said and to, at the very least, give yourself the first semester to adjust because the schoolwork alone is a big adjustment.
 
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JaynaAli

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I worked about ten hours a week in the school pathology lab (on call nights and weekends). I also had a regular pet sitting job where I let a lady’s dog out at lunch three times a week and occasionally did in-home house/farm sitting for another family. My grades probably could have been slightly better if I hadn’t worked, but I was able to make very strong connections with clinicians thanks to my job in the path lab. I am a pathologist now so it definitely influenced my career and helped me get a residency so absolutely no regrets. The money was minimal but was nice to have extra “fun” money.
 
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supershorty

Minnesota c/o 2020ish
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Jan 14, 2013
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I worked during vet school between 15-25 hours per week. It wasn't enough to help with big bills like rent, but it gave me a little extra spending money to fund my coffee habit. For me, it was good to have a clinical job that reminded me why I was sitting in lectures all the time, but I have classmates who worked as waitresses or bartenders.

I'm glad I did it, but I'm also glad that I did NOT work the first semester of first year - I needed that time to adjust my study habits for the speed and rigor of vet school.
 
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Jan 6, 2021
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Definitely doable, but I would suggest balancing it. Don't reduce your loans to the point you can't make rent without working yourself to the point where your education suffers. It might help to take more out the first few semesters to figure out how much you can work while still giving the appropriate attention to your studies.

I didn't work the first semester at all - I was lucky enough to have a partner (and some savings which we blew through so quickly). I ended up taking a part time job (<10 hours a week) in a completely unrelated field - selling hot sauce at farmer's markets. I think it was actually quite helpful to do that, by the way - I was guaranteed a few hours each week of uninterrupted "non-vet" time where I could unwind!

I also used my first summer research experience as a springboard to lab work throughout the remaining semesters.
 
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Blueangel7

Kansas State C/O 2022
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Apr 21, 2018
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It really depends on how well you do with multi-tasking and time management. My school's ICU and Wards area hires a good portion of student workers and the hours vary depending on how much they want to work. I personally work about 20-30 hours a week in the ICU because I have found that I will procrastinate if I have too much time on my hands like I did my 1st semester. It also helps me as I am a hands-on learner and am able to understand things better when I can actually work through cases with the clinicians and interns vs listening to lectures. I started out working about 10-15 hours a week and have worked up to working around 30 hours. This year I only had to take out loans to cover tuition. My paychecks usually cover my living expenses for the most part.
 
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battie

U of I c/o 2021
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Nov 22, 2013
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I worked 10 hours a week between being a student ambassador and working in our diagnostic labs. Some weeks were more, some were less. Since I did a ton of extra curriculars, I couldnt really do more than that.
 
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May 30, 2020
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I worked 10 hours a week between being a student ambassador and working in our diagnostic labs. Some weeks were more, some were less. Since I did a ton of extra curriculars, I couldnt really do more than that.
I hope this question doesn't sound to utilitarian, which is not my intention. Do extra curriculars contribute a lot to gaining skills as a DVM and getting residency/other positions after graduation? Is it super important to hold an officer position in clubs? I'm not from the states and my undergrad was done in another country, always kinda curious what the student clubs are like here in the states and especially in vet schools.
 
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battie

U of I c/o 2021
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Do extra curriculars contribute a lot to gaining skills as a DVM and getting residency/other positions after graduation?
It depends on what the extra curriculars are and what your goals are. My most time consuming ECs were our wildlife medical clinic, my positions in Omega Tau Sigma (veterinary fraternity), and the animal welfare judging and assessment contest. All of those will in some way benefit my career to a point. WMC was very hands on, did a lot with the wildlife as far as emergencies, treatment options on a budget, handling fractious animals, etc. OTS will be something I stay a part of as a member to network with other alums and help the Illinois chapter in the future (like hosting externs and such). I hope to one day find my niche in the animal welfare community/industry, and so the networking I've done through AWJAC may prove helpful over the year.

However, I also did equine emergency team and foal watch as part of our AAEP chapter. I have 0 desire to work on horses. I did it just cause it's fun.

Vet school is supposed to be fun on a certain level. I loved the WMC, the stuff I've done with/for OTS, and the AWJACs. Some of the best parts of vet school, frankly. There's some of that I would have changed. I should have quit the WMC for my second year and come back by third year for example. But for all the things that went "wrong" or didn't go well in vet school, the ECs weren't a big contributor for those issues.
 
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KCgophervet

Lab Animal Vet
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I hope this question doesn't sound to utilitarian, which is not my intention. Do extra curriculars contribute a lot to gaining skills as a DVM and getting residency/other positions after graduation? Is it super important to hold an officer position in clubs? I'm not from the states and my undergrad was done in another country, always kinda curious what the student clubs are like here in the states and especially in vet schools.
From a residency perspective, having related ECs on your transcript (and doing well in them) can be a point or two in your favor, showing your dedication to whatever field of interest you're applying to. That being said, if you are a relatively good student but your worst grades were in the ECs of the specialty you're applying to that becomes a bit of a red flag. On the other hand, if you don't take the ECs most places wouldn't know, its not like every residency program is intimately familiar with which classes are and are not available at each school. It just won't benefit your application. As far as actual knowledge and skills you may acquire during the class, that would probably entirely depend on the class. Some of my ECs were really hands on and I think I learned a lot from them, some were just reading off a power point slide and went in one ear and out the other.

As far as officer positions in clubs, it's really a similar thing. Being passionate about a specialty and having the drive to be in a leadership position for a club for that specialty may give your residency application a few extra bonus points. Not being an officer won't hurt, not being a member might be a red flag (but this is assuming the people reviewing your application are even aware that the club exists on your campus).

Mostly I would think of it as showing a pattern or telling a story through your experiences on your CV and transcripts that say, yes I really do want to pursue this specialty and here are the things I've done to get me started down that path. The more "things" on there that point to that story and that path the better.
 
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chickenlittle

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I taught SAT/GRE classes for The Princeton Review during vet school. It was, hands down, my favorite job EVER. (Yes, more than anything veterinary-related!!!)

My schedule was more or less up to me. They posted a tentative course schedule at the beginning of the semester and instructors could sign up for as few or as many courses as they could handle... I usually had one or two courses going at a time (met once weekly for 3ish hours), except while on clinics. (I didn't sign up for any courses then and only took 1-on-1 tutoring students during that time so that I could schedule more flexibly.) My coworkers were awesome people, the company was fun, and I was making ~$20/hr (20 years ago) which was may more than I would have made anywhere else.
 
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Moanswoptr

Michigan State CVM c/o 2023
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Apr 4, 2018
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I am a second year student and work anywhere from 12-15hrs a week and rotate on-call at a specialty practice. It's definitely doable! Just need good time management skills. And yes, I still get 8hrs of sleep a night (minus exam days) :lol: I personally don't do well being at home all the time, so the job helps me mentally and financially.
 
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plk3005

ISU CVM c/o 2024
Feb 24, 2020
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I didn't work my first semester of vet school to get my bearings, but I am now working in my second semester. If you are able to get a job this summer with a larger corporate company where you could transfer your job (and keep your pay or increase it!) when you get out to vet school I'd highly recommend it. That is what I did and the company was happier to keep me on on my own schedule (working 1 day a week every other week) than to lose me and have it affect their turnover rate. The spare money is nice for spending and having a non-veterinary job allows me to disconnect from the constant school work and focus on real life.
 
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CombinedDriving67

Tufts c/o 2024
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Jun 12, 2017
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I’m in my second semester and I just started working every other Saturday at a vet clinic. I used to work with the vet at a different clinic and she now has her own practice. I’ve always enjoyed working and it’s not a lot of money but it’s something at least. For me, it’s also important to get me out of the house during this pandemic. I’m considering applying for a rep position in the fall, as well as searching for a full time job for the summer.
So OP, it’s up to you and what you think you can handle. But you will probably be living mostly off loans. Honestly, it stresses me out to no end but it comes with being a vet student. I do highly recommend giving yourself a semester to settle in first though.
 
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stealthoscope

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I think there is a lot of value to working in the hospital to gain practical experience, and many schools offer student technician type positions in different specialties. It’s nice to earn some money in the process but it isn’t going to be a ton of money, and I really would not recommend trying to work with the goal of making a dent in loans during vet school. Focus on your education, which is your full time job right now, and work on the side if you want to / have time / have mental energy.
 
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