Many of you are already familiar with Cindy, a fourth year student at University of Glasgow Veterinary school, as she is a regular Career forum member and poster here. Cindy emailed me recently about starting her own diary, to post what it is like as a 5th year (senior) veterinary student in Glasgow, Scotland.
Thanks for writing, Cindy, and good luck with your studies!
My name is Cindy and I've been an active member of this forum for several years now. Let me start my vet school diary by saying that I have wanted to be a veterinarian since I was about 5 years old (ever since I can remember, really) and though I have explored other career ideas throughout my life, I have always stuck with "veterinarian". I did what many people do around high school age - I looked into what was required to enter vet school and how I could best do that. I took math and science courses in high school, was a member of the 4-H club (in which I raised a guide dog puppy, one of my best life experiences), trained my dog Barbi (obedience and agility), and took horseback riding lessons.
I got my bachelor of science degree in animal science at a local university. I was able to live at home with my parents (and my pets) during that time. My first job ever was working as a specialty associate in PETsMART. That's where my interest in birds really started (though I've always enjoyed all animals, I never knew much about pet birds). After PETsMART I got a job as a veterinary assistant (we call ourselves techs at that practice though) at a 24 hour small animal hospital. This was probably the best thing that has happened to me, for my career. At first I didn't like it much, but as I learned more and was allowed to do more (given more responsibility), I really loved it. I have worked at that practice off and on over my vet school breaks, full time, to make money and get back into the grind of actually doing things. I have learned great clinical skills at that hospital and I will be forever grateful.
In spring of 2001 I started planning on applying to vet schools (for the fall 2002 entry year). I just happened to hear about some overseas schools and began to seriously think of applying to them. The experience of going abroad just intrigued me. I had not really been overseas before. I ended up applying to Murdoch, then Melbourne, and finally to Glasgow. Glasgow was just an accident! I e-mailed the admissions officer (Joyce Wason) to see how to apply, since at that time Glasgow did not go through the VMCAS application service (and the British application process was scary to me). I knew Glasgow was AVMA accredited, and I had heard about it at the American Pre-Vet Association's symposium in Ohio (spring 2001). The admissions officer responded to my e-mail, encouraging me to apply if I was serious about going over there to Scotland. She said there were 3 seats left for the class starting in 2001 (WAY earlier than I had expected) and that I had a good chance of being accepted.
I was accepted to Murdoch and Glasgow unconditionally, and conditionally at Melbourne. It was a really tough decision deciding where to go (as many of you know!). Choosing which vet school you go to is a critical decision in your life - just think about where you might be had you chosen a different school. I chose Glasgow because I heard that a "friend of a friend" went there and said the school was excellent, also (mainly) because it was AVMA accredited. I received my official acceptance letter in July 2001, and started vet school in October 2001.