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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Vet school update....

And here it is....the reason I started this blog almost 2 years ago - a decent vet school admissions statement.

It goes without saying that if you are reading this, and are planning on copying it and using it as your own in some future admissions process, that I WILL track you down and use you as a kabob in my next barbecue. Normally I wouldn't publish something like this, but as you guys have been part of my "discovery" process of learning to write, I feel you should see the end product!

As a warning - if an agency or someone writes and says that by doing this I endanger my application, I will pull it, and make it available some other way.

*Drum roll please* Tada!!!!!!!!! Now may I present.....Why You Should Let Melinda Into Vet School (besides the fact I would be really really good at it):


Thirteen years ago I made two decisions-I would ride the Tevis and I would study at Davis to become a veterinarian.

Both goals were impossibly farsighted at 12 years of age-not only did I not own a horse, I didn't even know how to ride. I could count on one hand the number of times I had even met a veterinarian outside of the James Herriot books. Yet I was announcing I would ride the hardest 100 mile race in the world, and I would be a veterinarian.

I quickly learned the last thing any adult takes seriously is a young girl pronouncing their love of horses, and their intention of going to vet school. Besides, explaining the details became complicated-yes, I would ride the Tevis though I didn't have a horse or know how to ride. Yes, I would be a veterinarian, but it wasn't going to be in a typical private clinic setting. I was much more interested in public health and the food animal industry. After a number of condescending remarks and wry smiles at my pronouncements, I decided in the future, I would discuss my three year plan, since it was more believable to others than my 10 year plan.

I've always been a long-range planner. At the age of nine I decided I would attend UC Davis for my undergraduate work, and exactly one decade later I was the proud owner of my very own UCD ID card. I never know exactly how I will achieve my long term dreams, but the goal is always there, guiding my life choices in the interim.

My first steps towards completing the Tevis started in an unconventional way. While in high school I joined the California Historical Artillery Association (CHAS), a Civil War reenacting organization that uses Standardbreds off the harness-racing track, utilizing mounted riders. Thus, I learned to ride amid cannons, swords, and pistols. A member gifted me a very talented and challenging mare when I graduated from UC Davis. Though she was not ideally suited to endurance, I made a three month plan to qualify for Tevis with the mare "Minx". Three years later, after many miles of heartache and tears, lameness and rehab, successful rides and pulls, a colic and a death, and an unsuccessful Tevis attempt the year before, I earned my first buckle on an a different, but equally special mare, "Farley". My Tevis journey was not what I had imagined it would be thirteen years ago, but was incredibly rewarding. I learned I am tougher than I think, sacrifice is worth the reward, and there is always room for optimism, even when situations seem impossible.

Similar to my Tevis journey, my path to school was full of opportunities and experiences beyond what I could have imagined over a decade ago. Instead of applying and attending UC Davis my freshman year, I chose to attend a junior college closer to home and take advantage of job opportunities there. This included working in a small animal clinic, preserving the college cadavers, and accepting an internship at a wild horse sanctuary. As a result, when I transferred to Davis my junior year, I knew exactly what interested me. I wanted to study biology and physiology of animals and decided I would take advantage of anything even remotely related. I quickly learned avian science was a better fit than animal science, as I could take advantage of the major's flexible upper division work and create a focus in what interested me-biology, physiology, nutrition, and research. Some of my job choices may seem odd-laboratory work analyzing dairy air, intertidal research of mussels and seaweed at Bodega bay-but in some way, every opportunity taught me a valuable skill or expanded my subject knowledge of animal biology.

Many times I was told that accepting the job opportunity at [company name deleted] was a mistake if my plan was to attend graduate school. I would get sucked into the money, the power, and the freedom that making a good living salary creates. I looked at the opportunity differently. Five years supervising a department within a critical area of food safety and quality would focus my interest within the veterinary field, provide contacts within the industry, and give me a level of maturity that only comes from working in the field. Similar to the other unconventional opportunities in my past, accepting the quality control management position was rewarding in other ways I did not foresee. I learned I love mentoring young graduates and helping them develop as they start their careers. I learned how to compromise without losing my integrity and implement real world solutions to major problems that matter in the real world. Importantly, I confirmed that public health and food safety is my field of choice for my veterinary career.

As I take the next step in my career, the anticipation of fulfilling my 13 year old dream is exhilerating. I sought out and accepted many unconventional opportunities in the journey to become a veterinarian. Along the way, I've learned to stay flexible and make my own opportunities, making me a more mature and better qualified applicant.


BTW - I am right AT the character limit for the essay. Hope you enjoyed - I will of course keep you'all posted on the outcome of my application


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  2. Ok, here's a comment from an actual follower...

    Great job! Be sure to keep us posted on your application process.

  3. Great application essay. Keep us posted. Your readers are pulling for you.

  4. I like your angle for long-term goals and the parallel between Tevis and vet school. How could they turn down a creative applicant like that?

  5. Grrrr.....blogger just ate my comment. I HATE that.

    Thanks for all the positive feedback. So far everyone who should know, who has reviewed my applciation has told me I shouldn't worry about getting in, but of course I still do. If I don't get in, it will be my lack of recent clinic if I don't get in, my plan is to quit my job (if 5 years and having the VP (who's a vet) of the company write me a reference doesn't get me in, staying 6 years won't help) and get a part time job at a clinic, and try to complete an MBA or Master of Ed. Either would help me, vet or no vet.

    Anyways. Should be interesting no matter what and provide tons of blog material (which is the really important thing right?)

  6. Gundiva - now I TOTALLY have to keep the spam comment so that your comment remains hilarious!

  7. Love the spam. I wonder if it was attracted by keywords in your post???

    Great long do we all have to wait to find out that you've been accepted?

  8. Good luck! Once you get accepted, when do you plan to start your first semester of vet school?

  9. Yep, talk about vet school and what do you get.....a need for prescription drugs I guess!

    Interview notifications begin in February, interviews are completed by March, I find out whether I get accepted by the end of March. I will start (see me being positive!) school next September.

    My plan is to work until the beginning of July, but that will depend on what else life throws my way.

  10. As a fellow vet school applicant, I understand how hard it is to put your life dreams, struggles and goals into 5000 characters. Yours is very well written, personal and clear. And most importantly it makes you sound like a very competitive applicant :-) I came across your blog through my interest in endurance, but it's been great reading about the vet school stuff too (an knowing someone else got their application in only days before the deadline....wait, mine was hours before...oops!) Anyway, all my best wishes and good luck!

  11. Merri - you are very sweet. Any plans to be on a vet committee?????? :)

    Cat - good luck! I had such good intentions of getting the ap in before October....but my evaluators didn't get their stuff in until 2 weeks before and then I kind of dawlded. Oh well - the important thing is that it's in right????? Keep me posted on how things go for you if you don't mind....where did you apply to?

  12. Mel - I applied to a bunch of DVM/PhD programs at the major schools since they were the only ones I had even a slim chance of getting into from out-of-state. Cornell, Colorado State, Davis, NCState and Virginia Tech. Tech is the only one I really have a chance at.....I'm applying to PhD programs separately as back up. I want to do large animal research, so it's not really a bad second option, but I really want to do translational research (bench to bedside stuff) ergo pursuing the DVM as well. And you never know unless you try, right?!?? That's kind of my approach to life :-) and how I got interested in endurance even though I've got a short-strided Paint/QH mare!! Did you apply anywhere other than Davis? Although with your work experience and references, you're absolutely a shoe-in!


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