If you’re applying to vet school this year, I’m sure September 15th is highlighted on your calendar. It is the day that the VMCAS applications are due. After you hit that submit button, I’m sure you are going through a range of emotions. Everything from supreme excitement, somewhat relieved, and pure dread as questions begin to spin in your head. Did you put everything in that you wanted? Will your essays stand out from a crowd? Is your GPA stellar enough?
I had those same feelings when I applied, and it doesn’t get much better during the waiting game. It is likely that you will know people who start to hear things. Maybe they get an interview, or they find out they were accepted, and you may begin to compare yourself to those around you. When I applied my first year, I had gotten an interview and I anxiously waited to hear back. I was at work when I got an email from the vet school and I’m certain that my co-workers could see my heart beating under my shirt. This was it. I opened my electronic letter and read the words: “We regret to inform you…”
My ears started ringing and I couldn’t hear anything except my heart, still racing. Concealing my true state of mind I continued to work. Then my mentor came over and gave me a big hug, and I began tearing up as she told me to try again. She advised me to get some research experience and keep moving on. When I got home, I cried alone in my bathroom. It seemed like everyone that I knew had gotten accepted but me. After a few days of reflecting on myself, I decided that I was not going to let this hold me back. I took my mentor’s advice, as well as the feedback that the school had given me. I found a research position at the USDA, and I relentlessly practiced interview questions all summer long, every chance I could (risking my perceived sanity as I talked to myself in the car and at home, pretending to be in an interview). I also decided to double minor in microbiology and animal science, which I would later find were two of the best decisions I could have made.
This minor setback only made me work harder, and because of it, I was finally accepted the next year. Completing my first year has made me realize how happy I am that everything worked out the way that it did. Those classes that I took to get my minors have been unbelievably helpful so far, and it feels like they really have helped me grasp the more challenging subjects. I also can’t imagine not having my classmates and close friends by my side. If I would have been in another class, I would have never met some of my very best friends that I will have throughout my entire life.
If you find yourself in a similar position, please don’t let it bring you down. It is okay to feel sad, or mad—but take that feeling and use it to help lift you up. If this is something that you truly want, then don’t give up.