The idea that it is the institution, and the institution alone, that brings a person success is a complete lie.
In eight-grade, “You need to go to the best high school.” In high school, “You need to go to the best college.” In college, “You need to go to the best vet school.” In vet school,” You need to go to the best internship program.” And, for the remainder of your career development and for all the other stepping stones of your life, this phrase is uttered endlessly. You need to learn, train, work, start a family, raise children, maintain friendships all in the best of conditions – conditions only found in the best of places, in the best if institutions.
But this is not true, and it is quite the opposite, actually. In reality, it is not the institution or the institution’s name that brings a person success. It is the person, and the person alone, responsible for success. It is the person’s drive, creativity, intelligence, and level of comfort within the institution that brings success. And, interestingly enough, it is these personal attributes that create the institution’s great name which, in turn, engenders the idea that it is the institution responsible for creating successful people in the first place.
Google data scientists and economists, like Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, spend their careers combing the internet, running algorithms and codes, and experimenting with data to better understand and interpret massive data sets which allow them to accurately see relationships and trends in human society. One of those relationships studied was education and success and what they found was this: success of the individual has nothing to do with institution. Success of the individual relies completely on the individual – their drive, their passion, and their hunger to succeed. We see this all the time with people who never even went to college like Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and many others. These people are extremely successful, and they do not even have an institution to call their own.
What the Google data scientists and economists are telling us is completely different from what we are told in the beginning of our careers. The idea that it is the institution and the institution’s name that gets you places is something I held onto as principle for so long. However, this is not to say top-notch programs do not train people to be the best, because they often do. They know what they are doing, and they are providing their people with all the tools they need to succeed. They are excellent programs for a reason.
But, in my case and I’m sure in your case as well, to say you want to go to a certain vet school or internship program because they have a good name and ranking– that is silly. Rankings are just not important and should not be any part of the decision-making process. It is not about the name of the program anymore, and it never really has been. Deciding on your future career in veterinary medicine, on where you want to train, and on where you want to learn is all about where you feel you will be most comfortable, where you feel you will excel academically and emotionally, and where you feel you will flourish and become the best that you can be. Specifically, in veterinary school, during an internship, and while in practice – if you are in an environment that is too intense, too cutthroat, too slowly paced, or too dreary and unexciting you simply will not succeed. Case-in-point: you need an institution that is best for you, whatever the name is, regardless of that institution’s track record, list of successes, and ranking.
Keep this thought in the forefront of your mind when applying to veterinary schools, internships, jobs, and really everything else in life that involves an institution, community, or group of people. Think deeply and thoroughly about your true self. Consider the environment, and the people within that environment, that will best suite you and provide you with the tools for success that you will ultimately define and create for yourself. Remember, it is not so much the rank of your institution but, rather, how you rank yourself.