I used to think I knew the answer to the question, “What kind of vet will you be?” If someone asked me two years ago, my response would have included a specialty, preferably ophthalmology. Now as a second-year student, I find myself in a somewhat daunting position. I don’t know exactly what kind of vet I want to be.
The year and a half that I’ve spent at Michigan State has opened my mind to the countless opportunities in veterinary medicine. I’ve considered military service, specializing, public health, etc. Every time I think I know what I want, something else fascinating comes to my attention. Before vet school, I was under the impression that you need to specialize to make a living as a veterinarian. I also didn’t fully appreciate the professional opportunities that vets have outside of clinical medicine. Pro-tip #1, keep an open mind and talk to as many vets in as many disciplines as you can. Sometimes being so focused can keep you from seeing all the options.
While my initial desire was to position myself for an internship and residency after graduation, I am now feeling the urge to get out there and test my knowledge. One aspect I’ve really appreciated about vet school is the opportunity to get a broad range of knowledge about multiple species. Right now, I could really see myself entering private practice in small or mixed animal straight out of school. I think I’ll be ready to face challenges, and with the right mentor, to build on the foundation that I’m developing at MSU.
In retrospect, I don’t think that the change in my focus is atypical. I’ve even spoken to some fourth-year students who still feel the same way I do. If you’re reading this from the position of an applicant to vet school, I think it’s important to realize that your goals may change. Open your mind to that, and you will be exposed to so much more than you know during your veterinary education. I’m less than half way through vet school, and my perspective is much different from when I started.