When I was a brand-new high school graduate with big dreams to become a veterinarian, my undergraduate work seemed like the most important thing to my future career. I was hyperaware of the pressure to excel and everything to be completed to secure my entry into a field where less than 10% of applicants are accepted. After lots of hard work and stress, I got into vet school only to realize everyone around me had a different background and story of how they got here. If only I had realized this three years ago.
I went to undergrad at a small Christian school with only about 1,500 students. From the moment I was accepted, I made plans for my future academic career. I chose to study environmental biology, because I was told once to study something you love enough to fall back on if you decide you don’t want to go to vet school.
I had planned to graduate as soon as possible—in three years—so I could get to vet school as fast as possible. I had my whole schedule set out for those three years, so much so that my advisor had almost no work to do when I would meet with him.
As an undergraduate, I played junior varsity volleyball, worked a leadership position, and continued to get clinical veterinary experience on my breaks. It was a lot to balance, along with getting good grades, and I felt overwhelmed a majority of the time. Applying to vet school was another beast that took up a lot of time during my final year, with essays and interviews. I ended up graduating in my planned three years, with only a few small scheduling hiccups, and even got accepted into vet school!
It wasn’t until I got to vet school and started hearing other people’s stories about how they ended up here that I realized my undergrad years could have been much less stressful. Some people took a few gap years, got a master’s degree, or even just recently decided to pursue veterinary medicine, yet they all ended up in the same place. Though our routes may be different, we all are meant to be here and we found our way. Our backgrounds are important in molding us to be who we are.
I am glad I spent undergrad how I did. It shaped me to be a better veterinary student and a better future veterinarian. My experience in environmental studies influences my path as a vet in wanting to pursue sustainability non-profit work in needed areas. I also was voted onto the Environmental and Sustainability Committee to make changes in the college while I am here.
My leadership skills improved because of my role as an undergraduate. I know how to take charge of group projects and step forward in helping another student. My planning helped me to stay organized and on track so that I am able to balance much more than I otherwise would have been able to. The many hours of clinic work I did helped me get accepted into vet school make me extra prepared to master the skills I will learn here.
Overall, I am proud of what I have done, and I wouldn’t change my path. I only say this to encourage aspiring veterinary students to stay driven and don’t compare your journey to another person’s. A plan is set out in front of you, and you will achieve it in your own time as you learn the needed skills.
Student Blog by Annie Davis (c/o 2026)