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Old 02-29-2012, 12:36 PM
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Default Freaking out about my future

I've always wanted to be a vet, that was the plan, still sort of is. I'm in my second year of undergrad and I'm coming to the realization that I'm really not going to get into vet school. I only have a 3.2 GPA and I don't have amazing extracurricular activities to fall back on, I'm just in some clubs and I volunteer at animals shelters. Not being a vet wouldn't be awful, it's not like I'm absolutely crushed about it, what is causing me to panic is that I can't think of anything else I want to do, or nothing with which I'll be able to support myself financially. No I don't need to be rich but I don't want to be struggling either. Then again I don't really know what constitutes "good pay" either.

I need ideas, advice, something...I need to figure out what I'm going to do after college. My mom keeps asking me what am I going to do if vet school doesn't work out? I need to have something. I don't want to go get random jobs for years on end until I just stick with something, I want a career. But I think about the jobs I know of and nothing interests me at all. I thought maybe I'd work at a zoo, but they make very poor money (or so the internet tells me). I don't want to just do research. I like educating others, but I DO NOT want to be a school teacher, I like to teach people who actually seem interested in what I'm saying. I love teaching others about pets for instance, at least people who seem interested in what I'm saying. When I bring in my various animals to the elementary school for an after-school club my mother runs, and the kids ask me all sorts of questions about them, I LOVE IT. However I have to be knowledgeable and passionate about what I'm teaching and right now that's animals. Other than that I don't know what else I like.

I'm still going to apply to vet school when the time comes, but I don't have high expectations of success (I'm already freaking out about getting recommendations for that since I have non existent relationships with my teachers so far). Then what?? How do you choose what you're going to do with your life?
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:40 PM
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When you figure it out, let me know


This is why I am not freaking out about not finishing school right now, I have no clue what I want to do.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:42 PM
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Maybe go the vet tech route to start and get some good experience under your belt, then apply?
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by PWCorgi View Post
This is why I am not freaking out about not finishing school right now, I have no clue what I want to do.
This lol
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:48 PM
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Did you go straight from high school to other schooling, or did you take time off? If you didn't, is taking time off an option? I seriously went from Program to program to program in school, couldn't decide what I wanted to do. Took a year off (unfortunately it was for family issues, not by choice), and I was able to decide what I wanted to do -- on my time, not on deadlines set by the college.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:50 PM
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I fell into my career through family and i love it but now i want to do something different so i'm changing it up and going back to school again.

Any interest in nursing?
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxy24 View Post
I'm still going to apply to vet school when the time comes, but I don't have high expectations of success (I'm already freaking out about getting recommendations for that since I have non existent relationships with my teachers so far). Then what?? How do you choose what you're going to do with your life?
Ok, you're only in your second year, so when you get into the heavy classes for your major you will have a much easier time getting to know your teachers. I didn't know anybody in my major (and I started way late and had to cram classes like crazy) and still ended up with 3 recommendation letters from teachers after two years. I wouldn't worry overly much about that.

I chose what to do by taking an aptitude test. Not even kidding. I was in the same spot as you, two years in (except I was in the teaching program), freaking out because I didn't know what I wanted to do, and talking about taking 6 months to a year off of school. My parents essentially bribed me to go back (lol) and I went to the career center, took their aptitude test and signed up for the Computer Science major the next day. It probably wasn't the best way to do it but it worked out fantastically, I (usually) enjoy what I do and I make decent money. Does your college have a career center that would offer something like that? Those aptitude tests are fun.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Did you go straight from high school to other schooling, or did you take time off? If you didn't, is taking time off an option? I seriously went from Program to program to program in school, couldn't decide what I wanted to do. Took a year off (unfortunately it was for family issues, not by choice), and I was able to decide what I wanted to do -- on my time, not on deadlines set by the college.
Yeah, straight from high school to college. If I stopped going now I probably wouldn't come back, so I need to just keep going and finish. I really hate college, not the school part so much, the living here part. Even if I took time off, I don't know how I'd go about deciding on something...I just can't think of something I'd like.

Quote:
Maybe go the vet tech route to start and get some good experience under your belt, then apply?
I was thinking about that the other day, I know I've heard they don't make much money, but I don't really know what a decent salary is, so looking up numbers doesn't help me. All I know is what my parents made this year is bad, but there are two of them and they have two kids in college so what a bad salary is for them is likely quite good for a single person. This website says they make about $31,000 a year, is that decent or terrible?
http://vet-techs.net/average-vet-tech-salary/

Do you think being a vet tech for a few years would really help my chances of getting into vet school?

It also seems like you don't have to get a four year college degree but would have to go to a vet tech college for two years. I fully plan on getting my bachelor's degree, I'm not deviating from that, so if I did go the vet-tech to vet route it would be 4 years undergrad, 2 years vet tech, then 4 years vet school. I wouldn't mind being a vet tech forever if the money they make is enough for a decent living...but then I feel like my bachelor's degree would be going to no use.


Quote:
Any interest in nursing?
No, I don't think I'd enjoy it or be any good at it. I have social anxiety and when animals are involved I'm pretty good because I'm very confident in those situations and really enjoy talking animal, but having to be one on one with people talking about non-animal things I have a real hard time.


Quote:
Does your college have a career center that would offer something like that? Those aptitude tests are fun
Yeah they do, maybe I'll go see if they can help me, it's worth a shot right?
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoom View Post
Maybe go the vet tech route to start and get some good experience under your belt, then apply?
That was my suggestion also. Also it's only a two year degree rather than the approximately ninety million years it takes to become a vet; it will also be far cheaper (less loans.) There's actually a lot you can do with your CVT that doesn't involve working in a vet clinic... my hope was to actually eventually get into research at the university with mine. Auggie's breeder actually taught classes to the vet students while working at the university with hers. ASPCA likes to have CVTs on their staff for poison control calls. I'm sure it would be helpful to have your CVT if you wanted to become animal shelter staff one day, too.
So there's some options even if you decide you hate working in a clinic, if you are still interested in going down that road.


ETA: As to if 31k a year is a decent salary or not, that depends entirely on where you live and your cost of living. And yes, it's a two year program. Make sure you go somewhere accredited.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:29 PM
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As far as salvaging vet school..

First of all, it is possible to pull up that GPA. Difficult, but certainly not impossible. Vet schools look for improvement and working ability as well as just GPA, LOTS of people struggle at first..

1. Start developing relationships with your teachers. Talk to them after class, participate in class, sit IN THE FRONT, ask if they are doing any research they need student help on, go to their office hours to ask questions about class, exams etc...
Here is a lesser known but very true fact, the perks of being the teacher's pet are VAST and wonderful. From later deadlines, to special projects, to experience, to hands on opportunities, and of course advice.. make the connections!!

These people WILL be writing the letters of rec you need for vet school.

(tip: look at your syllabus. Find out what the lecture is going to be on.. read the chapter. Lo and behold. every time the prof asks "Does anybody know x, y, z?" you will know. )

2. Intern. Intern. Intern. Vet tech/vet office work is a GREAT thing to have on your resume but other summer internships are also available (I did the vet internship at a zoo and marine mammal aquarium, for example)

3. Take leardership roles where you volunteer. Start a new program in your shelter (for example, a new program that teaches volunteers how to raise/wean puppies, or one that searches craigslist ads and matches them with shelter dogs, or one that helps volunteers see the signs of sick animals and provide basic care) Anybody can walk into a shelter and do some hours, vet school applicants especially. but what will set you apart is that initiative!

4. Pick a vet school (or 3). I had my heart set on a school and started by getting my foot in the door. Took a tour, spoke to advisors, to admissions.. introduced myself, smiled, asked questions, showed ENTHUSIASM for the specifics of their program.
Trust me. They WILL be impressed at the initiative of a pre-vet sophomore visiting the school and making themselves known.
I toured 3 vet schools and by the end had the personal emails of 3 admissions/office people and the offer to email them anytime with ANY questions, an advisor and 2 professors. MAKE THE CONNECTIONS WITHIN THE SCHOOL.
The more you know about the school, the program, the professors, the more your application will shine and they will see how much you not just want to go to vet school, but THEIR vet school.

4.Most vet schools require 3 letters of req. Usually one has to be from a vet. Vets DO NOT appreciate last minute "OMG PLEASE LET ME WORK WITH YOU I NEED A LETTER!" requests. Start NOW. Offer to intern, offer to work for free, offer to shadow, offer to clean, offer to answer phones, tell them you are a future vet who admires them.. Get your foot in the door and make an AMAZING impression any way you can.

5. Being a vet tech. Hands down this is the best kind of experience to have. This tells the school you know your meds, know the practicals and know what it TAKES to be a vet. Not just that you like animals.

6. Try to get diverse working experience. Work/intern with dogs, cats, at an aquarium, farm, zoo etc.. It is important to have LONG relationships with the main animal you plan on working with (companion animal vet) but it's also good to be diverse in your experience.

7. The average GPA of a student admitted into vet school is a 3.57. This of course isn't an iron clad FACT, but it's an average. It is possible to pull your grade up. Take courses over break, take GPA raisers, re-take courses you didn't do well on.

8. Letters of rec. you will need 3.
I like one professor, one employer (from an internship and such) and one vet. Keep that in mind, and KEEP THE RELATIONSHIPS with your professors, employers, internship leaders etc.. they can't write you a letter if they don't remember who the heck you are.

___

as for, what else can I do with my life?

Well, this is from a girl who obviously, was on the track to vet school. I had wanted to be a vet since I was a kid. Got into my top choice pre-vet program.. kept good grades.. only to realize that I don't want to be a vet.
It's a bummer. but it happens. better now than 2nd year of vet school and covered in debt.


If I were you, I would go the vet tech route. Other than being just great job wise, it's amazing experience if you DO want to be come a vet.

Other work in the animal field.. start with interning at zoos. I interned at a zoo and aquarium and the work is HARD (physically especially) but wow, you really WANT to come to work everyday.

Animal behavior is a great study to get into. I am really into dog/animal behavior, loved my classes and research institutes (like the "domesticated fox" one in russia, the dog ones, etc.. sometimes do have internships)

Take some time off if you need to.. find out what you want to be. and go from there.

But if you really want to be a vet.. I would say stick to it and work your booty off and make it happen.
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