It’s hard to believe that nearly a whole year has passed since I graduated from vet school and ventured out into the world.  So much has changed; I went from being a scared new doctor to having some level of confidence.  I’ve learned more than I could ever imagine I would.  At times it seems like school was a lifetime ago, while others it seems like I just stepped out yesterday.  Some memories are still strong, others have begun to fade.  I have come up with many things that I wish people would have told me that I thought I would share in case any new graduate stumbled upon this page and needed some advice.

*Internships aren’t everything.  Finding a good mentor/supervisor is everything.

*Vet school sets up unrealistic expectations.  You want to test your diagnostic superpowers?  Try doing it with $100 to cover the appointment, meds, and any tests you might be able to run afterward.

*There are other ways of doing things, and not all of them are bad/evil/wrong/malpractice.  If the two doctors teaching you surgery can’t agree on the proper way to ligate an ovarian pedicle, then chances are neither will your future employer.

*Specialists are all fine and dandy until it’s 3am and that surgery can’t wait until next Tuesday.

*The “common” diseases you hear about in school really aren’t that common.  Likewise, the ones they breezed over will be the ones you see in your first week.

*The name of the blood vessel you just cut through isn’t as important as knowing what to do next.  Look it up later if you care that much.  It’ll probably change names in a couple of years anyway.

*This video will happen on a regular basis.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ0S8UgPQYc

*You can work there for a year and still send clients into a panic when you walk into the room instead of their regular vet.  You will get asked what happened to the other vet.  And you will have clients refuse to see you for no other reason than you aren’t Dr. So-and-So.  The world will not end.  Smile and move on.

*Free advice is expected of veterinarians.  Frequently after hours.  Sometimes multiple calls in one night.

*People in the medical field can sometimes be a pain.  Sometimes they genuinely think they know more than you.  Others just want to be respected for actually knowing more than the average joe.  Treat all these people like the latter.  That way if they ignore your instructions, it’s not because you were a jerk.

*Not all breeders run puppy mills.  And no matter what, breeders are clients and real people with real animals who need real help.  Do not treat them as anything else because of your own personal beliefs.  Same with pet shops.  Unless they are making medical decisions and dispensing stockpiled meds to someone else’s pets, let it go.

*On that same note, you CAN learn things from people outside of the profession.

*No matter how much you think you know when you graduate, you will still get stumped on your first case of ringworm.

I could probably think of many more, but those are the first to come to mind.  Anyway, just some random thoughts as I approach the one-year anniversary of being expected to know everything that was taught.  Keep learning.

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