Q&A: My Hearts Not In What I’m Currently Doing, But Am I Smart Enough To Switch to Pre-Vet?

Hi there,

My name is SB and I’m a 19 year old musical theatre student in Canada. These past few months have been very hard for me as I have discovered that I want to change my career path. I have always dreamed of a career in veterinary medicine and since I have been putting so much thought into vet school this past little while, I typed ‘Pursue your veterinary dreams’ into Google, and I found your blog. First of all I just want to say thank you. Thank you so much for everything that you have dedicated your website to. I have spent hours upon hours reading nearly every post and though I am still stuck in a small but of uncertainty, I can say that you have been great help. I looked on your contact page and was delighted to find that you had offered an e-mail address that would receive comments and questions, which brings me to why I am sending you an e-mail tonight. I would greatly appreciate any advice that someone such as yourself would have to offer me.
  I graduated high school in 2010 in hopes of pursuing a career in music, I have a tremendous amount of passion for music and have been singing since I could talk. However, my compassion for animals and undeniable connection with these extraordinary creatures of the world has always been the greatest. I have always wanted to be a veterinarian (not a singer), when I was small I would say I want to be a vet when I grow up, not just because I love animals but because I want to care for them and would love nothing more than to make a difference. I want to be able to give back to them for all that they do for me. My problem is that I was never school smart enough and I will admit that it was largely due to an extreme lack of interest (I graduated with a 73 average in grade 12, which is not bad but not exactly med school material) and I was always made to feel that I was not smart enough, all through high school everyone told me I should pursue music because that’s what I was good at, not to do anything too hard, and so that’s what I did. I find myself becoming more unhappy and even less interested by the day, yet I am still convinced that I am not intelligent enough to pursue veterinary medicine, though that is where my true passion lies.
  After high school I was still very unsure of what path to take and so I enrolled in university for a semester of general studies, just taking random courses so I could say I was doing something after high school and needless to say, due to my lack of interest, I passed only 2 of 4 courses and had no desire to return for a second semester. In March of 2011 I traveled to Ontario (I live in Newfoundland) to audition for 4 musical theatre performance programs and was accepted into 3. In September, I enrolled in a conservatory-style music theatre program in Toronto thinking that this would change everything and that I would be happy and finally become interested in school. I was sadly mistaken. I am more unhappy than I have ever been and have decided that maybe I should just forget about what everyone says and follow my dream. I am still in music school though, and just finished my first semester with an average of 70 (my average would have been much higher if I had made any effort to study or hand in work, but I just had no interest) and a heart that’s torn in two. I don’t want to continue with music school, however I am worried that if I do pursue a career in vet med that after I finish my pre requisite courses and apply for the DVM program, that my previous track record with school will reflect negatively on me and will seriously hurt my chances of being accepted. There are only 4 accredited DVM programs in Canada and you must meet the residency requirements in order to attend, meaning you have to attend the university in the area where you finished high school or have lived for a year without attending school, etc. I can only apply to the University of Prince Edward Island’s DVM program as they accept students from Atlantic Canada. However, they only accept about 60 students a year and only 42 of those seats are reserved for Atlantic Canadians while the rest are reserved for international students (I believe they receive about 500 applications). This makes my chances even slimmer. I would greatly appreciate some advice from someone as accomplished and ambitious as yourself. Anything that you have to offer about my situation would be wonderful. Would finishing my second semester (1st year) at music school be the best thing to do? I know that you do not know me but based on what I have told you about my situation, what are your thoughts on whether or not vet school may be the right choice for me? It has been the only thing on my mind for such a long time and I don’t know what to do. I do know that this is what I was meant to do with my life. I just feel like I need some sort of sign because I know that what I am doing now is only to make others happy and to take the easy way out.

I really appreciate your story and the fact that you share your thoughts and experiences in your blog. I am so thankful to have come across your information and you have no idea how much some advice from you would help. Thank you for your time and I apologize for the lengthy message.




Hi SB –

Thanks for writing! I know you’re in a very tough spot right now and I was once there too, so I know how hard it is to weigh your options and figure out your next steps. The important part is that you have realized that music is just not doing it for you. If you want to be in the field of veterinary medicine, you should definitely look into it. Have you spent time shadowing vets? That would be my first step just to get an idea of what the profession involves. From there you can decide where you want to go. If you want to pursue vet school, apply! If you don’t get accepted you can improve your application and try again. If you ultimately don’t get in or don’t have time to continue applying but want to stay in the field, consider becoming a veterinary technician! They go through training that is similar to vet school and are highly skilled but don’t require the same time commitment for education (or debt!) as vets.

Good luck!

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