prevet student

How to survive vet school: and I will memorize 500 pathogens then I will memorize 500 more

I hope you sang the title to the tune of “I would walk 500 miles” because that’s what I intended you to do. Also, sorry if it’s stuck in your head now. My bad. 

Anyway… Picture this, you find yourself in lecture and the professor is rattling off the 1000′s of pathogens you need to know and all the little itty bitty details you need to know about them. Now what? Do I get the cue cards and try to cram them all in for the upcoming test or what? 

As usual it depends on how you learn, but you should try to avoid cramming when you can (though not always possible). 

I despise making and using cue cards so here are some tips I have for those courses that often require such tactics.

  • Organize pathogens into groups (e.g. DNA viruses, gram +/- bacteria, flies vs protists vs nematodes 
  • Start from the bottom – learn the common and general things (or rules) about the groups you’ve made (i.e nematode lifecycles, size of the viral family etc.) and know what falls in the group (e.g. herpesviridae is a large DNA virus family; staphylococcus is a gram + bacteria etc.)  
  • Make sub-groups (e.g. intracellular gram+ bacteria vs extracellular gram + bacteria; herpes virus family vs parvoviridae family) – then again learn the common/general/rules of these sub groups. 
  • Continue to make more and more sub groups (w/in subgroups) — learn the rules/common/general things about the subgroups. 
  • Learn which pathogens fall in specific sub groups and once you have that down 
  • Now you’re here – Learn the important specifics or differences for individual pathogens 
  • Do it again different ways e.g.sort pathogens based on species they effect –> body system they effect –> specific location in the body they effect 
  • Once you’ve learnt your groups, build a chart and try to fill it our from memory
  • Write down lists of important categories (e.g. reportable diseases, zoonotic disease) and learn them!  

Repetition is key in learning, but what I find is most helpful when faced with learning 10000 pathogens at a time is really to break it down into groups and focus on learning commonalities rather than the nitty gritty details of every single pathogen. 

To me it’s a lot more helpful to know that intracellular pathogens generally produce chronic granulomatous lesions, with a cellular immune response, that are difficult to vaccinate and to treat with antibiotics (there are of course exceptions to every rule). Then go through my mental rolodex of bacteria I know are intracellular to come up with possible ddx’s. Then it is for me to memorize every single thing about every single intracellular pathogen. 

Disclaimer: these are just tips/tricks that I found helpful to do for subjects like this. This method won’t work for everyone but I just wanted to share some of the things that worked for me! 

First weeks of work experience

I’ve seen a few people starting out their journey into veterinary, and that means building up clinic hours! After a few hundred shadowing hours and work, a few classmates and I have these pieces of advice in common and I thought I’d share it for all the people getting their first week of clinical experience.

Watching and helping in clinics can be super rewarding and really get you fired up to be in the industry, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely free of hiccups and embarrassing moments as you find your feet in the hospital.

  • Don’t ever comment on how quiet it is.
  • Get out of the way! You will probably judge an emergency when it happens, and you’re no help fumbling around talking and getting your hands in the middle of it.
  • Don’t pat all the dogs with “oh he’s so friendly”.
    • Everything about that malamute’s body language says “I’m very nervous, I’m leaning away from your hand because I’d rather not be pet” – we all love dogs and kitties, that’s why we’re here, but I’ve watched many newbie students adore all the dogs, regardless of their body language, and it really freaks out the nurses.
  • X rays are super interesting – but don’t talk while the vet is interpreting them.
  • On day 1 familiarize yourself on the location of: E-T tubes, leashes, F10 bottles, the bins and where all the needles/bandages are. You can be the most helpful at fetching these things.
  • Ask questions when the moment is appropriate. Not when they’re in the abdomen of a small dog and they’re nit-picking around a spleen to ask what the surgeon is doing, and not during an emergency.
  • As tempting as “What’s wrong with this dog?” is as 4 people are running around hooking it up to lines and chucking it under surgery, just wait until it quietens down.
  • Try not to take being told not to do obvious things personally. I’ve had: “Don’t talk to the client during consult”, “Do NOT talk during that delicate surgery”, “stand in the corner”, “no dancing while I’m doing this” (I never dance), “don’t touch that aggressive dog”, “We need silence” before I’ve even started doing anything or have said anything. Just remember we do get enthusiastic newbie students that do do that stuff, and even though I felt like they’ve considered me an idiot, I know it’s just them warning before it starts.
  • Don’t carry your phone on you.
  • Don’t take photos (If you get permission adhere to no social media)
  • Sometimes you can be the butt holder where a dog is squirming backwards out the grip of a nurse and you rush down to push that butt back, complete with hock-grabbing. The nurses will thank you.
  • If you are not comfortable with restraining a dog, just flat out tell them.
  • Sometimes if you gently coo at the dog’s face while it’s getting a catheter it will help the nurses.
  • If you’re doing work experience to get into vet, you can ask for explanations on how to draw blood, find a vein, intubate, but it’s rare that anyone will actually let you do it (that’s fine, you don’t need the practical skills at this point).
  • Don’t comment on the clients.
  • Don’t bag out other clinics you’ve been to (listening to this this makes me flinch, allot of vets know each other, they don’t know you, it’s also unprofessional).
  • Be conscious of your first surgery. I came inches from passing out (Dizzy, blocked ears, double vision), tell someone, if you can’t walk sit down, don’t try run out and smash your head. The surgeon cannot help you, and the nurse is unlikely to.
    • Don’t be embarrassed (I know, I know), it happens to so many people. Remember it’s not normal to watch organs and blood fumbling around, you need to adjust.
    • The worst culprit is being hypoglycemic and dehydrated. Make sure you eat and drink beforehand.
    • Don’t hold your breath, suddenly breathing calmly when you’ve just notice you’re not feeling great rarely works and will just slow your heart-beat down too fast and you’ll end up in the same effect.
  • Don’t touch the surgical drapes!

    • I’ve done it, and I watched a greenie work experience student do it – it’s embarrassing, and super serious, be over paranoid about touching the drapes.
    • Cross your arms when you watch surgeries, it gives the nurse and vet peace of mind that you’re not touching anything.
  • When you help flip a dog over on the surgery table, be really careful with the head, don’t move that neck around with the tube in it.
  • Don’t talk in a surgery unless they talk to you, and don’t get excitedly carried away (you will at some point be abruptly interrupted as they are in a surgery) – I did this.
  • All vets are different, and I’ve both heard and experienced a huge variety of personalities;
    • Some vets are friendly and talkative, they generally don’t mind you shadowing and talking, but they are still vets and get very busy
    • Some vets get very stressed, and bustle around and are obviously doing 100 things at once. Just stay out of their way, follow them from a distance, and basically just watch. You can usually catch their mood and ask a relevant question if the situation stops for a moment.
      • They’re generally not huge grumps, they’ve just got tonnes on their plate, and if someone is chatting then they get distracted and annoyed (don’t talk in their surgeries).
    • Some vets act like you’re an absolute bother, and sigh when you ask questions. Not going to lie, these vets suck and you can pretty much just get away with not talking and standing quietly in a corner to watch and getting your enjoyment out of the nurses until your placement is over. Thank god. 
    • If you’re aiming for veterinary science you will inevitably encounter the discouragement vet. Who may or may not go on a 5 minute+ rant about how it’s not worth becoming a vet. Truthfully if this is the first time you heard at least 60% of this information you probably do need to be told. If this is the 3rd time you’ve encountered this vet, in 7 clinics and 400 hours of placements, you can pretty much smile and nod, because you are completely aware of the loans, job hazards, job availability, stresses, pay, lifestyle and you don’t have to act surprised but kind of just agree.
  • If you can freely see it’s a bad practice, you can live out the work experience and raise your standards for where you’d want to work in the future (unless it’s that unbearable).
  • I’ve been to a prac where I was given a list of rules. Most of these rules were pretty much “do not talk, stand near, ask questions, stand in the way, look, breathe near a vet because they are important and almighty and godlike and you are a small and silly child”, as condescending and mildly insulting as it was, it basically means “they are doing a very important job, watch, but try not to bother them if they’re busy”.

To be the fab work experience student:

  • Try to be proactive and engaged, but don’t harass for jobs when you can see it’s super quiet (Don’t ever say that).
  • Be punctual.
  • When there’s hair everywhere and you don’t have anything interesting to watch, ask them where the vacuum cleaner is.
  • Refill bins.
  • Do their laundry.
  • Clean cages.
  • Tidy the ET tubes.
  • Scrub the clipper heads.
  • Stock the syringes/needles.
  • Organize the desk (don’t throw out the notes).
  • F10/wipe dirty surfaces.
  • Go pet that friendly and stressed out puppy.
  • Watch/monitor an animal as they are waking up.
  • If you’re sick, call it a loss and cancel the placement. You’re not getting paid for starters, I know it really really sucks, but literally no one will be happy you’re there, and you will probably be asked to go home.
  • Try figure out If anyone has allergies before bringing in baked goods at the end (even if it means asking and ruining your surprise).
  • I’ve noticed allot of male vets love computers and video games, and they love to talk about other things besides veterinary and usually get quite excited.

But like I said, be engaged, watch, learn, have fun and by all means ask questions, I’ve had some super wonderful clinics that I felt so sad on my last day that I wasn’t coming back. 

And keep a good impression, my work now was actually a work experience placement I did 2 years ago, I mentioned it in my cover letter and it was a huge reason they’ve taken me.

cordialcryptid  asked:

idk how often you've gotten this but what about a student that isnt fully aware of the fey and how strange the school is and they are scooping on a vet degree but they are hella chill. This student embodies the 'stay in my own lane' phrase and prefers to observe the weirdly friendly animals around the school. They frequent the woods and bird watch or offer scraps of food to mice and birds. Weird shadows? eh. Creepy lute playing? whateves. "Not my business im just here to stare at some deer"

They’d have a good time at university and make some friends for life and graduate with a degree from a prestigious university and not understand why a handful of their friends never want to reminisce with them about the good old days.

Dear pre-vet

Hi there. I am approaching the start of my final year of vet school and I want to help you. Throughout my vet school journey I’ve learned a lot and I would like to tell you what I wish someone told me when I was in your situation. As those who follow me may already know, I like lists so:

1. You will get into vet school. Period.
When you know what you want and you are willing to work for it, you will get it. Hard road? Yes. Will you fail? Most likely. Should you give up? Fuck no. Anyone who tells you otherwise are telling you the same lies they tell themselves to validate not going after their own dreams.

2. Enjoy the journey.
You are allowed to be happy and enjoy life before reaching your goals. It’s the getting there that makes the end goal all the more sweeter. So while you’re doing that extra subject to boost your marks to get into vet school try to enjoy it!

3. There is no real ‘right way’.
People have their own baggage as I alluded to in point 1, so asking for advice on how to get into vet school is great and all but everyone’s situation is different. It’s important to learn from other peoples experiences but don’t let that hold you back from making your own. Just because it may not be ‘conventional’ doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

4. Work on yourself and your own mental health.
Do not fall into the trap of, ‘oh well once I get into vet school then I won’t have to worry about grades anymore and everything will be fine’. No, there will be other things to stress about. Stress is a part of life so start learning to manage it now because as a vet you’ll also have to manage other peoples stress on top of your own.

5. Only compare yourself to the you of yesterday.
Getting stressed over class averages is a waste of time because at the end of the day all you can do is your best. People can also bullshit about how much they ‘didn’t study’ for the test but still got a good mark. Everyone’s study techniques are different and what constitutes as a lot of study if relative. Just do you. You’re great!

6. When you are not coping well with something, tell someone.
Even if you think it might be silly relative to all the other problems in the world, they are still your problems so they’re important. Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t have your best interests at heart and are not worth your time. So when you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with study or panicking that you may not get into vet school this year, talk to someone about it.

If you are procrastinating a lot, you probably need a break. Take some time off and do something you enjoy. Afterwards your study will be far more efficient.

8. The hard work doesn’t stop when you get into vet school. I doubt it stops when you’re a vet.
This is what I want to leave you with because this also ties back to points 2 and 4. As I am sure you are aware with going into this industry, mental health is a big issue. As the new generation of vet students and vets coming through let’s try to lower these statistics. Do not try to ignore what you’re feeling because ‘once I get into vet school it’ll all be fine’ or try to ‘tough it out’, if you need help, seek help, there is no shame in that. 

Good luck with your studies, be gentle with yourself, be kind to others and always give it your all. The world is your oyster and may your journey of life be a long one.




Most vet students I talk to tell me that the majority of their classmates are NOT straight from undergrad and did NOT get in on their first try. They said most people were accepted on their 2nd, 3rd, etc. application, and people accepted on their first try is the minority.

They also say not everyone is 22… there are people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s.

So don’t feel bad if you don’t get in your first try!


I was rejected by 6 US schools my first try without even getting interviews invitations. And this is after working my butt off in undergraduate school for 5 years and accumulating several thousand hours of volunteer/employment work with animals over the past 10 years. In addition to spending 3-4 months working on my application essays and VMCAS application.

The application which cost me over a thousand dollars. VMCAS application fees ($195 for the first school, $100 for each additional), plus individual school supplemental application fees (varies - but in my experience was $50-100 per school), plus sending official transcripts/exam scores ($9 per school I applied to for transcript and $30 per school I applied to for GRE scores), plus paying to take the GRE Exam ($200).

Plus flying out and staying into hotels for interviews if you’re lucky enough to get one. It’s extremely frustrating.

You can easily spend $4000 on VMCAS if you decided to apply to every AVMA accredited vet school in desperate attempt to increase your chances of being accepted.

There are 30 US AVMA-accredited veterinary schools and 18 additional international AVMA-accredited veterinary schools. Please compare that to the 179 human medical schools in the US alone.


(Which is why after my rejection I decided not to wait another year to apply, resulting in another 2 years before starting vet school, and spending another thousand dollars on the VMCAS application – instead applying to Ross University to start this September - just waiting to hear back!)

Attention fellow vet blogs!!

As we all know the newbies are weeks away from joining out families at our respective universities (in the Southern Hemisphere anyway)
This post is going to be an accumulation of advice for first years on how to survive the transition to vet :)
Add stuff when you reblog, or send me stuff!
I’ll make a massive post in a week with all your advice and give you credit as well :)

anonymous asked:

oh gods i love Elsewhere U. some concepts: the prevet students keep their phones on at all times, knowing that they could get a text from a non existent number asking them to take a look at a sick creature. the students have never seen such animals before but they figure it out anyways, albeit crudely. some of them have cat flaps on their doors so that creatures they've helped can come in and chat anytime

these are Good Concepts and 100% canon

How to survive vet school: Failing

Disclaimer: This article is my opinion, my word is not law and what works for me may not work for you, I wrote this almost as letter to myself. If you’re struggling with failure, I hope this helps lift your spirits, you are not alone.

How many of you like to fail?

I think it’s safe to say that very few if any of you said: “Oh my gosh me! I just love to fail at things, it’s literally my favourite thing to do!”

That would be because failing sucks. It hurts your pride, your ego, your self esteem, your confidence, and a lot of us type A personalities simply aren’t used to it. We hold ourselves to higher standards, we expect better from ourselves. Failure isn’t an option. Failing is literally the worst.

But is it though? I mean at the time of the failure and for the period after it is the worst. After that, maybe failing is the best?

Hear me out… There is a reason why you failed at something. Whether it be a test, getting into med/vet school, failed to save your patient, or to meet your work out goals for the month. Whatever you failed, you failed it for a reason.

That reason may not or may not be your fault.

When you fail try to consider the reasons why, and work hard to change them. Now I’m not saying failing shouldn’t upset you, I’m just saying that if that’s all you get from it, you’re missing out

I have failed so many times on my way to becoming a veterinarian and I will continue to fail. One day I will fail and lose a patient, it is the reality of the medical profession and when that occurs it shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, I would like to keep this post about failure as light as I can so I’ll provide a different real life example of my failure. 

This past year was the first time I had ever failed an exam. At my school we are required to have a 60 or higher to pass on most tests. On my radiology exam I got a 57. Luckily we are always afforded one re-write of a failed test before we it goes to the academic review board.

There were many of factors that contributed to this:

  • We were just finishing a 14 week onslaught of assignments, tests and the week of radiology we had three exams to write 
  • Two-thirds of my classmates also failed this exam 
  • The professor teaching us is a wonderful radiologist but a terrible teacher 
  • They expected us to be farther along with our diagnostic radiology skills but didn’t send us the memo
  • The first time we were introduced to a ferret was on this exam (this prof really is a jerk)

All of the above reasons are completely valid and you can either accept them and realize as a class we were not taught radiology very well and that’s that or I can ask myself the tough question.

Am I good at radiology? No. Bad teacher or not, radiology is not a strong subject for me. It is a skill I will need in practice, a very important and valuable skill in this field. A skill I need to dedicate more time too. If I had gotten that one extra point I needed to get a 60 on that exam, I may not have realized this. I may have been okay with just passing, perhaps I would have just let the blame be on my professor and just hopped it would get better next year. Failing this exam allowed me to face the truth and work on it. I’m still not a radiology expert, but after dedicating more of my time to radiology I was able to do significantly better on our radiology final and have found some resources that will help me continue to improve that skill.  

The most important thing about failure is that you learn from it. In my opinion, if used correctly it is one of the most important learning tools we have at our disposal. It points out weaknesses in the system and allows for correction. Allows for you to learn from a mistake so your patients are better off for it. Failure is not the worst thing. 

Do not be afraid of your right to fail, to be wrong, to learn. You’ll be a better doctor for it.

Vet School Interview Advice

2017 is now here, which means vet school interview season has also arrived! 

Honestly, there is a lot of anxiety over interviews every year, which is completely understandable, because it’s a scary concept to sit down with 2-4 people and have them help make the decision if you will be accepted to this school or not. However, as someone who has major social anxiety and visibly shook during all of my interviews, I know you can do this! If you want some general tips, check out my two posts on interviews here: Vet School Interview Tips and What You Shouldn’t Say or Do in an Vet School Interview.

Overall, I think it is very important that you know that is is okay to be nervous, and it’s okay to stumble or not know the answer to everything. Try not to be too critical of your performance after your interview is finished- you never know what the interviewers will think and you might have done better than you thought!

Good luck to all of those interviewing this year, I can’t wait to see your acceptance posts and I hope to see your bright and happy posts as you matriculate to vet school in the fall! :) 


After the fastest two weeks of my life in South Africa I’m back in the Caribbean and starting the next semester of school. I went through a program called wildlifevetssa and it was the greatest experience of my life. I drew blood from wildebeests and crocodiles, monitored animals under anesthesia, and learned so much about the game industry in SA. Before I went on this trip I was against big game hunting but I didn’t know much about it. I learned there that the hunting industry is pretty much the only thing driving conservation there. There’s money in keeping these species alive so people are breeding them and keeping them healthy and they allow hunters to come and kill a few but not all obviously because then there would be no business left. The meat usually goes to the towns and the people that need it get fed. It sucks that there has to be money involved for people to actually care about helping save these species but that’s the way the world works. Ideally everyone would care about conserving no matter what but the corruption and human nature in general prevents that from happening. I never thought I would ever say this but I support big game hunting as long as it keeps preserving the African species that need our help.

What to Major in During Undergrad- How to Get Into Vet School Part 1

When I was applying to undergraduate colleges several years ago, I was under the impression that there was really only one way to get into vet school, and that was to become an Animal Science major. I loved this major, I learned a lot, and I took some classes that did a good job to prepare me for vet school. However, I’m here to tell you that you do not need to be an Animal Science major to get into vet school. Why do I say that? Well…

When you apply to vet school in the USA, you’ll have to take pre-requisites (General Biology, General Chemistry, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Humanities, Physics, etc.). These pre-reqs, while focused on the sciences, can be completed by any major. That’s right. I have several classmates who majored in Spanish, Electrical Engineering, Psychology, Botany, and several other majors that are “nontraditional.” Most (if not all) vet schools DO NOT CARE what major you decide to do, as long as you complete all of that particular school’s pre-reqs. 

So the big question: What DO you major in during undergrad? My advice is to do this: Major in something that excites you, something that you think you can excel at, and something that you would be comfortable with as a back-up career. This is a sad statistic, but out of my 400 animal science classmates, only 30 or so matriculated into vet school. I’m not saying this to scare you, I’m saying this because vet school is hard to get into, and it’s a really good idea to major in something you could really see as a career. For some people it really will be Animal Science. For others, it will be Biology. For some it will be Sociology or Chemistry or whatever. Bottom line: Do not pass-by a major that you think will be a good fit just because you think Animal Science (or similar) will “look better” on your application.

Disclaimer: As much as I love writing up these posts, please keep in mind these are only my opinions. There are many roads that can lead into vet school, and just because I offer an opinion does not make it correct, especially if your situation is different than mine was. Please don’t panic if you aren’t doing exactly what I say on here, everyone has different experiences and that is what makes them and you unique. I’m simply hoping this mini-series will be a guideline to help you begin your journey along the road to vet school.

Attention all vetblrs: I’m really excited to start this mini-series on getting into vet school, and I would love some collaboration! I encourage all vets and vet students to reblog this post and add in their own advice! Those in countries other than the U.S. who have a different system/application are also more than welcome to chime in! 

Horse person: “He’s really lame on that one leg!”

Sage old Equine Veterinarian has the horse trot off and is all like: 

Originally posted by gameraboy

And there’s always that one horse girl who looks back at the owners like: 

Originally posted by heckyeahreactiongifs

And the equine vet students are kinda like…

Originally posted by yourreactiongifs

…and everyone else on the planet is like…

Originally posted by insteadofdeath