Misconceptions About Vet School

It’s been just a few short months since I received my acceptance letter to veterinary school, and already I’ve encountered quite a few misconceptions held by the people around me.  It started the very first day I receive my letter, when I brought it in to school to share the good news with my students and colleagues.  I’ve compiled several of these misconceptions below.

Does that mean you aren’t going to teach here anymore?
I proudly displayed my acceptance letter as my students entered the classroom and they responded appropriately with exuberant enthusiasm.  However, after a few minutes, the logistics started to sink in and several of them asked if I would be in veterinary school part time.  I politely withheld my uproarious laughter and explained that there was no such thing as part time vet school.  All this being said, I really can’t blame my students too badly for failing to understand that my acceptance to veterinary school meant that I would no longer be a high school teacher.  After all, they knew that I was enrolled in a master’s program while I was teaching, so why would veterinary school be any different?

I heard you got into med school…
This statement came from one of my coworkers.  Assuming that she had simply misheard the announcement, I respectfully corrected her.  She stared at me blankly, smiling awkwardly, then said, “Isn’t that the same thing?”  She then proceeded to explain that her understanding was that veterinary medicine was a specialty of human medicine and that a veterinary student didn’t declare their intention to focus on veterinary medicine until their final year of school.  While I have to chuckle at her unintentional encouragement of One Health, I also must say that this is decidedly not the case.  Although veterinary school and medical school have an incredible amount of overlap, they are distinctly different programs.

So that’s, what, a two year program?
Perhaps this comment involves confusion of a veterinary program with a veterinary technician program (which is, in fact, a two year program).  At any rate, I have been asked this question, including the assumed two year timeframe, multiple times.  The typical response to my explanation that veterinary school is a four year program is one of surprise.  When I further explain that it’s highly likely that I’ll be in school even longer than four years completing an internship, residency, and possibly a PhD program, they shake their head as though they can’t comprehend why I would want to do that to myself.  Considering how much I love being a student, it sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.

Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it.  The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” – Earl Nightingale

My dog has this condition…
This is a classic complaint among professionals of all types: random strangers find out what you do and ask for your free advice to magically solve their problem.  The first time this happened to me was about a month after I had been accepted to veterinary school – before I had even stepped foot on campus!  You wouldn’t ask a child for their thoughts on algebra because they had been enrolled in kindergarten, and asking me for advice about a dog I’ve never seen would probably yield results of similar quality.

Feel free to comment with any additional misconceptions!


2 thoughts on “Misconceptions About Vet School

  1. and then top it all off with a specialty board certification — which no one — except fellow Diplomates, will understand 😉 …..

  2. Pingback: Practical Veterinary Applicant Advice |

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