Transitioning from working three jobs to having a very small income has been a pretty difficult feat. I’ve been employed since the age of sixteen, and this is my first year without having a real full-time job. Not having enough money has always made me very uncomfortable. Because of this fear, I often pushed myself to work excessively. Shortly before starting vet school, I became quite burned out. The eight months spent in class felt like a break. Well…almost.
This summer, I made the decision to accept an unpaid internship. For the sake of experience and an awesome adventure, I decided that money was not important. I used what was left over from my student loans to drive across the country. I told myself that I would find a part-time job to make a few bucks. Instead, I have spent my free time shadowing with an equine veterinarian and volunteering with a local goat rescue. It quickly became apparent to me that my desire to learn was much more important to me than making money. This is probably true for most of us veterinary students. We dedicate our free time to studying, volunteering, or pursuing extracurricular activities.
What if I told you that there is a way to be a strong student and make a little bit of money? This isn’t meant to sound like a cheesy advertisement, though it may come across that way. There are opportunities for veterinary students to make money while in school. You may not make much, but every little bit helps. The jobs are also pet-related, though they may not all have the potential for hands-on experience. Here are a few ways to earn a little bit of money as a student:
- Freelancing – Multiple sites will hire veterinary students to write about pet care, health, and training. This is a great way to get paid to write about topics that are important to you.
- Become a Representative – Each year, job listings are sent out calling for students to become a company representative at their university. For example, pet food companies commonly hire student reps. These positions offer a nice stipend without requiring a huge amount of work.
- Consulting – Companies will hire students with a strong veterinary background to offer consulting services. This is usually on an as-needed basis, and students answer simple questions for pet owners.
- Weekend Work – Looking for a mixture of experience and money? Hand your resume out to local clinics and offer to work weekends. Many veterinary hospitals need the extra help on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Pet Sitting – Offer pet-sitting services to the nearby community. Pet owners feel much more comfortable knowing that a skilled veterinary student is caring for their pet.
Time management is the most important thing to keep in mind. If you feel as though you can work while in school, give it a shot. I was extremely happy to have been able to make a supplemental income during my first year, and I aspire to continue working into my second year. However, having a job in vet school is not for everyone. We shouldn’t feel pressured to work while going through one of the most stressful periods of our lives. Just know that various opportunities are available to you.