I recently took part in a Q&A session with prospective pre-veterinary students and was asked:
If you could give any advice to yourself when you were a pre-vet, what would it be?
This question really made me reflect on the journey that lead me to becoming a veterinary student at the University of Edinburgh and I’ve come up with an answer that I hope will be helpful to any prospective veterinary students.
Looking back at my undergraduate degree, I remember being so stressed about every midterm, exam, and assignment. I knew that going to veterinary school meant that I had to have strong grades. Looking back however, the stress did not help me with my grades! It truly just made my studying process more difficult on myself. My first piece of advice is to not become so wrapped up in your marks. Grades are not everything! Yes, they are important, but becoming a good candidate for veterinary school is not based purely on the marks that you get. Focus on being the best version of yourself by getting involved, gaining experiences, and finding a good work-life balance so that you can focus on doing well in school with a positive mindset.
My second piece of advice is to not take rejection so hard. I did not get into veterinary school on my first try and I remember beating myself up for this. Looking back, I cannot understand why! I had placed so much focus on getting into veterinary school, that I did not give myself time to understand that there are other options. My decision after I did not get into veterinary school at my local school was to expand my options and begin applying abroad. I took a year off which I spent working in a veterinary clinic and pet store. I met so many people during this year off, got a break from school, and overall became a better candidate by gaining more experiences. I applied so many new skills to my studies once I got accepted into veterinary school that I gained during this year. At the time, taking a year off felt like a crisis. Looking back, it gave me time to explore my options and become a stronger candidate. It also brought me to the University of Edinburgh!
My third piece of advice is to prepare. Being a veterinary student is hard work, but you can make it easier on yourself by making sure you are prepared! Get in touch with the school to ask any questions you may have and do research on the university’s website to get a better idea of the structure of the program so that when you arrive, you are aware of the course structure and are ready to tackle the program.
My last piece of advice is to surround yourself with supportive people. Without people to rely on, it will be easy to get wrapped up in studying or stress over grades. Having support also helps when making a big decision like studying abroad!