Here I am again on my own, going down the road to a local vet clinic in New Malden. I spent a week there on a work experience placement in February half term, and I’m back for another taste of life as a vet.
Becoming a vet is an exciting adventure in the world of unknowns. World-leading research is at your fingertips and new discoveries are being made everyday. You can stick to being a small town clinic vet, helping the people with their poorly pets, or you can work for big time corporations in industry and in government, searching for cures for anthrax.
It’s a job of passion. Unless you’re 100% certain, you’re better off going into Biochemistry or Medicine. You can always become a vet later. Don’t waste your time if you’re not sure. A five year long degree is a big commitment to make at 18. Feel free to wait a few years and reapply when you know your heart is in it.
If you’re looking to hit the jackpot, go into banking. A vet may be well paid but they work hard for their money. When the clock strikes five, you’ll find them performing an operation or monitoring a dog on fluids or eating their lunch (too busy at noon) and preparing for a long night. They don’t pack up and go home. They don’t get days off or weekend breaks. They’re always on call because when you’re working with live patients who can’t tell you what’s wrong, anything can happen at any time.
So be prepared to give up your life and dedicate yourself to your job. It’s an emotional roller coaster. Each creature that comes through the door puts their life in your hands. And whatever you may see on TV, any complications in surgery won’t end well. Some people may believe the hardest part is an owner signing the euthanasia form. It’s not. The most difficult task is walking out of the theatre and telling the little girl in the waiting room that her best friend won’t be coming home ever.
There’ll be good days. Days when you get to watch an excitable litter of kittens explore your consulting room, when the dog recovering from surgery finally gives you a feeble lick, when the pets that you see are all happy and healthy. Just don’t expect that to be every day.
You’ll see many weird and wonderful things working as a vet. From ferret castrations to stray bunnies to injured racing pigeons. And maybe the world would keep turning without you, but you’re still making a difference to people’s lives.
I’ve met some amazing people, both vets and clients, and that’s just from a couple of weeks of work experience. I can’t wait to study hard and get qualified. Being a vet is all I’ve ever wanted to do, and now’s my chance. Vet school here I come.