“I’ve wanted to be a vet since I was three!”
“I’ve always wanted to be a vet as long as I can remember!”
“There’s nothing else that I could ever imagine myself doing!”
These are phrases I’ve heard many, if not most, of my former classmates say over the years. I wished many times I could honestly say the same things, but I just couldn’t. It wasn’t my dream to be a vet since childhood. Other careers did interest me, but being a vet seemed like the best fit, was what I thought.
Becoming a veterinarian is a calling, and not for the faint of heart. Vet school is tough—extremely tough, frankly. Arguably, it can be said that it’s even more of a challenge than medical school. Not only do vet students have to learn medicine and surgery like med students, but they have to learn it for multiple species rather than just in man. I knew this before going in, but I was up for the challenge. I wanted to be a vet, and I was prepared for the hardships it would take to get there. Veterinarian was the perfect career for me, I thought. There’s nothing else I would be so suited for, was what I told myself. Little did I know that I wasn’t fully listening to my intuition. Let’s go back a few years…
I first started seriously thinking about careers when I was in high school. Up until that point I had worked hard in school, got good grades but didn’t give serious thought about what I would do when I grew up. As I drew nearer to college, I started thinking hard about what I should study and what career path to pursue. I have always been a huge animal lover, and I figured a career working with animals would be fun. Since I always excelled in school, I decided that becoming a veterinarian would be a perfect fit since I would be helping animals and using my smarts on a regular basis. Once I made this decision I worked extra hard for the remainder of high school to ensure I would get in to college.
Flash forward a couple of years and I got in to all the colleges I applied for (there were only two ha ha). I decided to major in Biology which gave me flexibility in the courses I could take. This way I could take all the pre-requisite classes I needed to do to get in to vet school, and have them count towards my major as well. I studied hard, took a variety of classes, volunteered at a local animal shelter and worked as a kennel attendant in a local veterinary clinic to get experience working with animals.
Many of my fellow pre-vet students were already working as veterinary technicians, and I wondered how they were able to get these jobs that gave them so much more responsibility than I had as just a kennel attendant. I wanted that experience too. I applied for a few tech jobs, but didn’t get them. I chalked this up to the fact that I did not have enough experience in the field. But how could I get experience if no one gave it to me? Now that I reflect back on it, I am pretty sure it was my interview skills and the way I presented myself that caused me to not get those tech jobs. I was too quiet, too unsure of myself and unassertive. I didn’t know at this point that I was an introvert, INFJ or HSP. I was not familiar with those terms. I just thought I was too shy and abnormal. I just thought I wasn’t smart enough.
Upon college graduation, several of my classmates got in to vet school and were excited to start that chapter of their lives in a few months. I had not applied yet because I didn’t feel ready and I didn’t think I had enough experience to be a strong applicant. My plan was to keep working in vet clinics for a few years, and then apply to vet school. I figured I would be more prepared if I took that route.
Well lo and behold, the first job I got out of college was…kennel attendant. I still couldn’t find a vet tech job! I was starting to seriously doubt my capabilities. I had worked in that job for about 6 months when I saw a job posting for a full-time vet tech position. I was delighted that it said they would train the right person. Finally someone who would give a newbie a chance! I applied, interviewed, and got the job! I was so excited to take the next step to becoming a vet. Finally I would be able to learn new skills, work more closely with a vet, and get more of a real world idea of what it was like to be a veterinarian. I was finally able to put my kennel days behind me and gain some invaluable clinical skills. I was both nervous and excited to start this new job, and I knew it would lead to great things…
To be continued!