I have barely made it through half of the first semester of third year (which I keep referring to as second year:part two), and we have already had to submit an Excel spreadsheet to the scheduling gods and goddesses to “create” our fourth-year schedule.
It seems surreal to me that in September, I was already sending out emails to private practices asking if they would be able to squeeze me into their schedule NEXT YEAR. At least I am sure that I want to pursue a career in equine medicine, but I cannot say the same for the majority of my classmates. We have only been in school for two and a half years and although most of my peers are sticking with the interests the had prior to coming to veterinary school, there are a decent number of people who are having second thoughts about their place in veterinary medicine.
I, among others, used to be of the persuasion that vet students really ended up either as a small animal veterinarian or a large animal veterinarian. Working for the government, for a large company, doing an internship, a residency, etc etc — all things that have to be considered when planning your future as a veterinarian — were never even on my radar three years ago.
Furthermore, this thought is complicated by the fact that in a couple months I will be on clinics and will have to apply the information I have learned in the classroom to real-life situations. It is even more terrifying to think that the rotations I choose will have a direct impact on where my career might end up. For example, I’m taking a small animal radiology rotation. I know that I don’t want to be a small animal veterinarian, but I do happen to really enjoy radiology. I know I’ll be able to apply what I learn in this rotation to both large and small animals, but I still wonder if I’m doing myself a disservice by not filling those two weeks with a different large animal rotation.
Planning for fourth year has left me with “choice paralysis.” I have become so overwhelmed and consumed by the amount of things that I want to do, that I just freeze up and have difficulty making any choices at all. Just ask my friend who sits next to me in class every day how often I have looked over my schedule. The number is sure to be staggering!