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Find out what our undergraduate veterinary medicine students have to say about living and studying in Edinburgh.
Balancing Work and Vet School

Balancing Work and Vet School

Hi everyone, and thanks for joining me again! If you missed my last post, my name is Ryan,  and I am in my Graduate Entry Programme (GEP) year.

If, like me, you are already thinking and stressing about paying back the loans you have to take out for vet school, I’m sure you have also wondered if balancing a job during school is doable. You have probably already worked to make some extra cash and have asked around if getting a job is doable during vet school. If you’re like me, then that was a huge consideration when deciding to go to vet school, and I’m here to tell you my experience with the school-work balance now that I’m in vet school and currently juggling it myself.

When considering the vet school path, I was (and still am) very concerned with the financial burden of vet school and began asking around if it would be possible to have a job at the same time. No matter who I asked in the vet world, the majority of responses were that it’s not common, possible, or manageable to have a job during vet school. That definitely scared me off from this career path for a bit when considering my decision. I have worked since I was 16 and have always depended on an extra income to be able to (somewhat) afford college, at least in undergrad.

When starting vet school this past August, I was completely ready to sacrifice that extra bit of income for my studies, and rely on the savings I had made from all those years working to support myself, on top of my loans. In order to do this, I created my own budget for all of my living expenses in an attempt to stay on track with spending and saving, which I had never done before. I had always thought I was good with money, and I still think I generally am compared to others, but my budgeting app told me differently.

One of the reasons it was initially hard to follow a budget is that I did not realize how expensive setting up a new room and place to live would be, because that is something that differs between everyone. Keep in mind, when moving here you are essentially starting over except for what you bring in your suitcases. That means that August for me was a very expensive month, getting set up in my flat and figuring out what essentials I needed that I did not have room to bring.

On top of that, the transition from working 20 hours a week during undergrad to not working at all and just watching the money leave my account was a rough one, I won’t lie. This is one of the reasons I decided to apply for a job at a local pub near my accommodation. I had been considering applying somewhere to see what happened, and then my friend told me about a hiring sign she saw on a pub down the street from us. I happened to walk by it a couple days later and the place was very cute so I took a picture of the flyer if I committed to handling a job on top of school.

A few days later I applied, and now I’ve been working there for almost a month! I am absolutely loving it and do not regret my decision; I think it is very doable to balance a job and school (so far). I believe that I am able to successfully balance it for now because of the hybrid learning format, allowing for more flexibility in my schedule to work around my shifts. I also know myself well and know that I tend to organize my schedule and life better with more activities to juggle, so adding another thing to my schedule was for the better, not worse.

Of course, it also depends on the job requirements and type of work. Under a student visa, we are only allowed to work 20 hours a week, making it a manageable amount of time and a good restriction to balance work with schoolwork. I also am typically only scheduled on the weekends, so I make sure that I am productive during the week in order to get ahead of the weekend. Alternatively, I do admit that my job has taken time away from how much I used to hang out with my friends, but luckily they are amazing and visit me at work a lot 🙂 so that has not been an issue.

I know a couple friends in the GEP program that also have jobs, and they seem to be handling it well too. That being said, everyone is different and I do also have friends that don’t think there is time to work in a job, so it really depends on the person.

I hope sharing my experience with balancing work and school has been insightful to what is doable during vet school, especially if it has been something on your mind when considering this career path.


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