One of the best professional development experiences that I get every year is attending the Midwest Veterinary Conference. It is a conference well known around the United States and located only 10 minutes from Ohio State, so first- and second-year students get the day off classes to attend. Now any vet student knows that days off aren’t granted lightly in veterinary school so if the college gives us a day off, it must be important.
So what is so amazing about conferences? The list is endless, but here are a few of my favorite points….
1) Awesome lecturers – Whether you like small animal surgery, equine medicine, food animal medicine, animal behavior, business management, or just about any other topic related to veterinary medicine, there will likely be a room with lectures going on that topic.
2) Volunteer opportunities – You are probably thinking I have enough to do without volunteering, but wait before you pass that judgment. Many conferences have room assistants that sit and attend the lectures and are just there to help the speaker and introduce them. That gives you not only something to put on your resume, but also the chance to formally meet an expert in the field you are interested in.
3) Networking – There are always lots of veterinarians and industry professionals at conferences, so they are a great place to network. While you may not have an interest in an industry job, drug and pet food representatives are often the first people to know about veterinarians who are looking to hire associates and assistants, so they are good people to know.
4) Free stuff – Companies bring tons of free stuff to conferences, which is great when you are a poor veterinary student. You can pick up everything from pens and notepads to candy, pet treats, books, and more. It seems every year, companies get more creative with their giveaways.