Most of us who choose to go to professional school have to uproot our lives to move to where ever that professional school is located. In the words of an undergraduate professor, “If the veterinary school of Narnia says they will take you, then that’s where you will go.” During my application and interview process, I also heard stories of students being pulled off of veterinary school waiting lists during Orientation Week in August and how they were so committed they made it across several states within twenty-four hours for their first day of classes. It’s safe to say that for the past four years it had been drilled into my head that the location of my future was not certain and that I needed to be prepared for multiple possibilities. But even having been prepared for this, moving was HARD! So, I would like to give some moving tips to everyone making the big move to their own professional school in the future.
- Find somewhere to live! The first thing I did once I knew which school I was going to was to start making housing arrangements! One very important tip is that most veterinary schools have a requirement for you to live within a certain distance of the hospital during your on-call year. Each school I was interviewed at had a different requirement, but this was a very important factor when I was looking at places to live. I wanted to make sure I was close enough to campus to always get there on time for when I am on-call. Another thing I considered was any pet restrictions on the rental properties I looked at. I needed to make sure I could bring my dogs!
- Plan for your personal animals. I got my first “real” dog, Teddy, when I was 19 (of course, I’ve included his picture in this post). I made a vow to him and myself at that time that if ever the day should come when I had to move, and he couldn’t come with me, then I wouldn’t be moving. There were several things I did to prepare him and my other three dogs for our big move. First I made sure they were all very comfortable in their crates. For their safety, they needed to stay in their crates during our car trip and while we loaded and unloaded the moving truck. They have all been crate trained since puppy-hood, so they know a crate is a good place, but I supplied them with extra puzzle toys, bully sticks, water, and even had fans on them in the house during the unloading process because it was so hot outside. I also made sure that all their collars fit snugly and that their ID tags were intact. In case of escape during the hectic move, I wanted to increase my odds of getting them back.
- Get help! From picking out our house to moving day itself, everything went SO much more smoothly thanks to the help of many of my and my husband’s family! My parents watched the dogs while we went “house hunting,” my in-laws helped us so much on moving day, and several family members contributed financially to things like helping us with the moving truck. Find some friends or family to help you move and it will go much faster. “Many hands make light work.” Offer to buy them pizza for dinner and let everybody sleep over at your new place! It will make for fun memories, and you will get lots of help with your move.
- Start early. On the advice of one of my former coworkers, I decided to leave my job and move about two months before classes were going to start. She told me that I was going to need time to settle in and get adjusted before the stress of school started. Boy, was she right! Since the move, I have been extremely busy. Painting, unpacking, organizing, and reorganizing has taken so much longer than I ever anticipated. Since we were able to move early, I’ve also had time to become a lot more familiar and comfortable with the town, and I know my way around fairly well. I’ve even gone so far as to practice driving the route I plan to take to and from class so that I am comfortable with it on the first day of classes. If at all possible, I definitely suggest moving a little early so you have plenty of time to adjust!
While we don’t always know where we are going to end up, we can make plans for how to get there. As you are planning to apply for and attend veterinary school, start thinking about how and where you are going to move. Planning for several possible contingencies will help you so much when it’s time for the big move! If possible, try to give yourself plenty of time to get to where you need to be (which isn’t always an option). Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family!