With only 30 veterinary schools in the United States, competition is fierce amongst students seeking to attend veterinary school. Currently in the midst of applying for this 4 year program, we sat down with Biology major and 2018 Villanova University graduate, Amanda, and asked her a few questions about her pursuit.
When did you know you wanted to become a veterinarian?
When I was young, I always recorded "veterinarian" as my future ambition. However, as I matured I became scared that I wasn't cut out for such a demanding field. I decided to find out by volunteering at my local veterinary office. It was here that I made my adult decision to pursue veterinary medicine. My selection was finalized when I met a dog named Albert, a rescue who was paralyzed from the waist down. Thanks to a custom cart, his mobility was restored. Albert's joy for life was radiant, in spite of the many difficulties of his past. Veterinary medicine provided Albert with another chance at life, and the experience inadvertently provided me with clarity for my future.
What are you doing now while you apply and interview for veterinary school?
I am a veterinary assistant at WAG: Whole Animal Gym in Philadelphia. WAG is a specialty veterinary hospital for rehabilitation and pain management. We use methods such as hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and laser therapy to treat a variety of conditions and injuries, including post-operative rehabilitation, neurologic conditions, and arthritis. I have been fortunate to have innumerable meaningful experiences during my time here. One that stands out is fitting pets with custom carts to restore their mobility. Additionally, helping patients walk again after a back surgery that doctors had been unsure if they could ever recover is another. In some ways, this is where I aspired to be in my life, while in other ways it is not. I had hoped at this point I would be a student in veterinary school, but I am also successful for I am working in the field that I am passionate about. At the core, I am where I hoped to be because I am making a difference in the lives of animals. In 5 years, I hope to have completed veterinary school and be bringing my commitment to the wellbeing of animals to the next level!
What has been the most rewarding aspect of this journey thus far?
So far, the best part of my path to becoming a vet has been the connections I have made with animals. I have seen so many amazing things that no matter what happens in the future, I will be eternally thankful. I've witnessed foals be born and only moments later stand on their feet. I have helped dogs recover from paralyzing injuries and return to chasing squirrels. I watched a puppy grow from 8 weeks old to currently working alongside the TSA. This field constantly challenges me, but my commitment does not falter.
"Working with animals is not only my passion, but a core component of who I am."
Amanda's Words Of Wisdom:
My pursuit to go to veterinary school has been challenging. To stay grounded and motivated when stress threatens to overwhelm me, I recall this mantra to keep me moving forward with an open mind, "Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them." I am chasing mine and I would tell any college student to keep an open mind about their future and don't give up!
Do you have any regrets?
No. The path to reach your goals is rarely linear, but that shouldn't discourage you. There are many opportunities I would have missed if I hadn't kept an open mind and I wouldn't be where I am today without them. I am grateful for each of those experiences.