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  1. #1
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    Aug. 15, 2010
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    Default Medical School? Veterinary School?

    Just wondering if anyone on here has gone to med school or vet school..... or is currently enduring the madness of either one. Any and all experiences are very much appreciated!!

    My story- I began college wanting to go to medical school; loved everything about it and couldn't imagine myself doing anything else. I am very goal oriented and focused and have always had friends tell me that they think I would be a perfect doctor. Then, I changed my mind half way through and decided I wanted to go to veterinary school. This was mostly because I wanted to be working with animals every day. Also, vet school doesn't require a residency, and I liked the idea of finishing everything up sooner and settling down to start a family (I do not currently have a BF). I still love medicine just as much as ever, whether it be for humans or animals.

    Now the twist- I was recently offered an interview to veterinary school (I did not apply to med school for this round because it was not even a thought six months ago). Now, I do not want anything to do with vet school. I am back to the stage where I feel like I should really be a doctor and can't imagine myself doing anything else.I want to decline the interview, and apply to med schools during the next application round (this will leave me out of school for a bit after I finish my undergrad). My parents think I am nuts. They see how hard I have worked, and think I am throwing away a great opportunity. I know this seems totally wishy-washy. I am a young adult, and they are expecting me to make a decision that will effect the next 5-10 years of my life. I am clueless about what to do!

    Any grad school/med or vet school experiences would be great to hear! Why did you choose that route? Would you do it all over again? Anything you would change?
    TIA!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2006
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    Minnesota
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    709

    Default

    It won't affect the next 5-10 years of your life. School will occupy the next 4 years. Then you graduate with $$$$$ in debt, and $$ salary. Veterinarians are the worst paid professionals and there is very little in terms of grants & scholarships to help poor students. It will likely take you at least 20 years to pay back the loans if you graduate with an average amount of debt. (ignore this if you're independently wealthy)

    I live with 4 veterinarians and am starting vet school next year. All 4 of the vets have impressed on me just how important it is to be 110% sure of my decision before starting. That doesn't mean you can't get emotional cold feet, it just means you need a plan on how to tackle tuition and deal with the realities of the profession. Are you okay with euthanizing 10 cats for separate reasons while you're on call over Christmas? (true story.) Can you handle clients telling you that you are forcing them to kill their animal because you (god forbid) want money to perform surgery? Do you mind living like a student even after 8+ years of education after high school?

    I am insanely jealous of my friends that want to be doctors and are starting medical school next year. If I thought that I could be happy as a doctor, I would switch instantly. But I really, really, really, really want to be a veterinarian and I could never see myself as anything else.

    I don't see any harm in attending the interview if you're indecisive, but don't attend veterinary school just because it's a certainty while medical school is a possibility.



  3. #3
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    Aug. 15, 2010
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    Default

    Thank you for the reply!

    The main reason I said it would take 5-10 years is because of the added residency for medical school. But I guess in the grand scheme of things, this will probably effect my entire life, whether it be in a large or small way.

    I should have also mentioned something about finances in my first post. My parents have greatly supported me through undergrad (I will finish with zero debt). And they will support me all the way through med/vet school so long as nothing major happens (one of them loses their job, etc.). For this, I am eternally grateful. There have been many, many sacrifices made in order for this to be able to happen.

    I also live with two vet students. And I totally agree with the statement that you have to be 110% committed.

    Lastly, I think you have given me the best advice I have heard on this matter! "Don't attend vet school just because it's a certainty while medical school is a possibility." Thank you for that!

    Any one else? If you could also please add any input on riding during grad/med/vet school, that would be great! I leased for a bit during undergrad, and now I am taking lessons at a fabulous barn. Do not currently (or have ever) own a horse.



  4. #4
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    Dec. 15, 2005
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    3,332

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    My daughter is a vet. One of her roommates was unsure about about med school versus vet school. She is happy she chose vet school. As a vet you can be a researcher or do emergency clinic work. There are lots of choices. One of the students at my daughter's school attended med school for a year before changing her mind and going to vet school.



  5. #5
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    Aug. 17, 2004
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    Rixeyville, VA
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    It's actually harder to get into vet school than med school. There are fewer vet schools and thus fewer slots.

    As for life after med or vet school -- it all depends on what kind of practice you want to have as far as work/life family balance is concerned. There are options with both careers.
    Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
    http://www.ironwood-farm.com



  6. #6
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    Sep. 18, 2011
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    18

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    So I live in a town with a reputable (read top 3) vet school. I grew up here, so I have known several vet students and I currently work as a tech at the vet school as well as for a mobile vet, that being said, you could not pay me to go to vet school! I know some people truly feel the calling, but unless you are completely sure I wouldn't spend the money on the outrageous tuition. I would definitely go to the interview though, its always good to have an ace in the hole, just in case you decide in 6 months that you were wrong and you can't live with yourself if your not a vet. Plus it will get you more comfortable with the process if you get a med school interview Also most of the Dr.s I know have way more time to spend with their horses on a daily basis then the majority of vets I know.... And for a rather humorous picture of the difference:

    http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/6868...rinarian-vs-md



  7. #7
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    TX
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    One important difference you may want to think about is, being in human medicine is a very large field, but still much the same, in offices, labs and hospitals.

    Veterinary medicine can be so much more diverse as how the rest of your life may be, if you go into small animal practice, not that much different than human medicine, or large animals, where you will have to be handling large animals and in the set up that demands, generally not just in a handy office/hospital all day, where your clients come to you.

    I would say you can be a human doctor for many reasons and get by, but for some veterinary paths, you have to also be passionate about it, to enjoy that kind of work environment.

    Which one will you be passionate for a life time of the kind of work any one will demand of you?

    As far as the earning power, I think in general, human medicine trumps veterinary medicine.



  8. #8
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    Apr. 14, 2010
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    Deep in the Heart of Texas aka Houston
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    377

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    So I'm a pharmacist that works with physicians on a daily basis - attendings, residents and interns in the intensive care units. I round with them, provide drug therapy recommendations and help them with diagnosing patients a bit. I love my job. However after seeing how hard the residents and interns work every day and every week - you could not PAY me to go to medical school. On their ICU rotations - they get 3-4 days off the entire month. They work like 100 hours per week. And residency lasts 3-4 years depending on specialty. So my advice is to make sure you really are going to love doing medicine. That way its all worth it. My $0.02.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sithly View Post
    do NOT give your 5 year old child a big bag of apples and send her out alone into a herd of 20-some horses to get mobbed. There are better ways to dispose of unwanted children.



  9. #9
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    Dec. 2, 2002
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    Berlin, Germany
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    My husband just woke up 2 hours ago to go into work as a surgical intern. It's 5:45am, so do the math. Same thing yesterday and Christmas Eve. In fact, he's been working every day for the past 11 days. He will have off on Wednesday and Thursday during the day, but will work overnight on Thursday. He makes less than $50k/year, and will barely break $60k by the time he's done with his 6 year residency.

    There are new regulations that govern work hours in hospitals, but when my husband has broken the 80 hour/week limit (for 1st year surgical interns) in the past, he's been singled out by the program director and told that he's inefficient despite glowing reviews from his direct supervisors. In talking to other interns, that's the protocol for reporting your work hours honestly- you get the old "you're not good enough" sit down. After a particularly brutal 92 hour week on a general surgery rotation, he was even cornered by a co-intern who told him he was "disrespecting the program and his coworkers by honestly reporting his hours". He says it's a lot like high school, actually.

    We recently had a discussion that centered around the question 'Did we really sign up for this?'. He's going to stick it out, but I don't know if he would do this again if given the opportunity.

    Talk to some med students (1st-4th years), talk to some interns, talk to some residents. Then think long and hard about the other dreams you have for the next 8-10 years (sometimes longer) of your life. If you still want to be a doctor, you should probably become a doctor.
    Here today, gone tomorrow...



  10. #10
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    TX
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    There is a website where medical and veterinary students post regularly.
    Have you asked them there?

    That will be, let's say, right from the horse's mouth.

    Maybe someone here will post the link for you?
    My computer keeps crashing and I lose it all regularly.

    Good luck with your choice.



  11. #11
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    Feb. 23, 2009
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    Tennessee
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Abberlaze View Post
    I don't see any harm in attending the interview if you're indecisive, but don't attend veterinary school just because it's a certainty while medical school is a possibility.
    This (and the same could be said vice versa). Current vet student here. I'd go to your interview, but if you are really on the fence, think hard. It's a really big time and financial investment and you really, really have to want it. I don't regret my decision, but I sure have thought to myself how much more I would enjoy life if I were in a different program or had picked a different job route. The veterinary profession isn't known for having good "work-life balance" and I know it will be a struggle for me to spend time with my husband, raise kids and pursue outside interests while working in this field, but it's something I'm prepared to try and balance. The trade off (and what has made it worthwhile thus far) is that I LOVE the work itself. So if you want it, go for it! But it sounds like you are very hesitant and I'd urge you to think very, very carefully before making a final decision either way. Good luck!
    If it were easy, everybody would do it.

    Equi-Sport Services



  12. #12
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    Feb. 23, 2009
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    Tennessee
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    There is a website where medical and veterinary students post regularly.
    Have you asked them there?

    That will be, let's say, right from the horse's mouth.

    Maybe someone here will post the link for you?
    My computer keeps crashing and I lose it all regularly.

    Good luck with your choice.
    I think Bluey is talking about the Student Doctor Network (SDN). They are great forums and you could probably get a lot of really good feedback from professionals and students in both fields.

    http://studentdoctor.net/
    If it were easy, everybody would do it.

    Equi-Sport Services



  13. #13
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by faybe View Post
    I think Bluey is talking about the Student Doctor Network (SDN). They are great forums and you could probably get a lot of really good feedback from professionals and students in both fields.

    http://studentdoctor.net/
    That's it, thank you for the link.



  14. #14
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    Lexington, KY
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    If you really don't know...don't choose either one right now. Go to grad school, join the Peace Corps, work as a vet tech...something else. And while you're doing something else, really, really think about what you want to do with the rest of your life.

    Your indecision will probably show through at the interview anyway.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  15. #15
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    Feb. 11, 2000
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    MD
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    huntereq,

    I think either way, you HAVE to love what you are doing. Someone said that you can "get by" in human medicine. I've been through my four years of residency, and you CANNOT "get by." If you don't love it or you will be more than miserable.

    I am now an anesthesiologist at a community hospital. I've been in the hospital for the past 27 hours with 5 more to go. I finished in the ORs at 8pm last night to be awoken at 1AM and 4AM for different reasons.

    Do I love my job? Absolutely. I cannot see myself doing anything else. Are there days I hate things about my job? Sure. Who doesn't? Do I think it was worth the torture (sleep deprivation, minimal wage, criticism) of residency? Yes. Believe it or not, the tough times make you a better doctor because they build your confidence and resilience.

    Going into medicine (human or animal) is a life-changing experience. It changes the way you see the world.

    I decided not to pursue veterinary medicine because I cannot handle irresponsible owners. That's probably why I also went into my field.

    Good luck with your choice. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
    Ride on!



  16. #16
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    Feb. 20, 2010
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    All 'round Canadia
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    I went through med school. My undergrad was in a school that has one of Canada's few vet schools, and I thought of trying to become a vet too - but I realized that I actually had zero animal experience beyond volunteering at an animal shelter, while all classmates I knew who were in the pre-vet program had gobs of large animal experience. All of my jobs/volunteering were more human med-related.

    OP, if you're in the US there seems to be a need for many hours of physician shadowing (at least that's what US colleagues tell me; that's not the case in Canada) as part of your med school application. That way the school at least knows you've explored the field and are reasonably sure of your decision. If you do shadowing with a specialty you're interested in, you'll at least know if the field appeals to you.



  17. #17
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    Sep. 11, 2011
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    1,139

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    What about dentistry? Its 4 yrs and offers a lot of potential....they take the same classes as med students. You can chose a residency (surgery, pathology, pediactrics, orofacial pain, etc) but you don't HAVE to.

    Many of my friends are doing the PhD/DDS route to incorperate research.

    Most DDS have a MUCH better work/like balance then MDs or DVMs. Some women work PT and have a family. No emerg or weekends if you are in a regular clinic.....

    Most DDS students have always been rather creative and like to work with their hands doing precise work.

    There is also a great need for outreach to poor communities and foreign countries.



  18. #18
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    Dec. 31, 2009
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    It's too bad you couldn't get like a Part Time job at a vet clinic to see how the doctors operate. Lots of times they do stay late and have an emergency come in, but I don't think it is as draining as being an MD.

    I would personally go with DVM, but that's because it's all about animals for me, and it's just fascinating some things you can see. I guess it's kind of like being an artist, you make enough money to live on, but it's more about doing what you love.

    Good luck in your endeavour!
    I LOVE my Chickens!



  19. #19
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    Feb. 18, 2010
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    Washington/Montana
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megaladon View Post
    It's too bad you couldn't get like a Part Time job at a vet clinic to see how the doctors operate. Lots of times they do stay late and have an emergency come in, but I don't think it is as draining as being an MD.

    I would personally go with DVM, but that's because it's all about animals for me, and it's just fascinating some things you can see. I guess it's kind of like being an artist, you make enough money to live on, but it's more about doing what you love.

    Good luck in your endeavour!
    Considering that she got an interview offer, I'd hazard a guess that she has either worked at a vet clinic or spent a considerable amount of time shadowing/volunteering. To even be considered, you generally need over 500 hours of VET experience.

    Eventually I plan on applying to vet school. I'm a junior in undergrad now, but I won't be applying this summer. No way. I do not have enough (really any) vet experience. My plan right now is to take a gap year to get more vet experience, hopefully getting a job at a clinic.



  20. #20
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    Aug. 15, 2010
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    Thank you all for the wonderful advice!! And I really appreciate the link to that website with med/vet forums. I think I know what I will be doing for the next few hours

    I can always count on COTH for words of wisdom when I am unsure! Lots of you brought up aspects of either side that I had not previously thought about.

    And just to clarify, I would like to do my residency in either pediatrics or family medicine. While I am sure it won't be a walk in the park, I am hoping it won't be quite as difficult as a residency in something like trauma. And I have been very passionate about pediatrics since about the beginning of high school, so this is something I don't see myself changing my mind about.

    Thanks again! Keep 'em coming!



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