Staying On Track

By Paige Roth

When the going gets tough, how do you stay the course to vet school? When you have at least a year of prep work left to pay for an additional required course, retake the GRE, get extra clinical hours and, not to mention, worry about whether it will all pay off, how do you convince yourself to stick to the path that seems to meander into nowheresville?

In all likelihood, if you are seriously considering vet school you are a talented person with lots of other interests. When I feel disheartened, my de-facto response is to channel my anxious energy into researching other career paths. I mean outlining graduate schools, noting the career trajectories and satisfaction rates of those in the field, making pro con spread sheets and more. I could probably be a career advisor with the number of jaunts of taken down career paths like teaching, writing, human medicine, law or even opera singing.

While this kind of exploration may be healthy and encouraged in high school or the first few years of undergrad, it becomes some sort of concerning, anxious, unfocused tick when you are climbing the everest of vet school. So what does one do when the going gets tough? I called my mom.

The answer that satisfied me most was that we all eventually have to weed out and narrow down our interests to make forward progress. This doesn’t eliminate future hobbies, but it streamlines our focus and means we can’t chase every appealing career alternative that pops up on our friend’s LinkedIn profile.

She also noted the unfair expectation of 100 percent job satisfaction all millennials seem to be lusting after. I have now openly admitted that I know there will be parts of veterinary medicine that I love but things like finances, floor mopping or memorizing more biochemical pathways may leave me feeling less than inspired. As an aspiring vet, I always heard not to pursue this career unless I was 100 percent certain it was what I loved. I think that’s false. Acknowledging the less than sunny aspects of my dream job made me feel more confident that I could prepare myself for the inevitable disappointment that is to come when you’ve built something about for so long.

At the end of the day, I take comfort in knowing that no matter how many other better-paying, family-friendlier job options come my way, somehow I keep winding my way back to veterinary medicine. And that experimental evidence helps me keep one foot in front of the other on this long winding road.

 

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