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Studying Medicine after Veterinary Medicine

I am approaching the end of my Veterinary degree. I've done well in exams, had many great opportunities to work with a variety of animals from hamsters to kangaroos but I've lost the drive and passion that I once had to pursue being a vet. I feel like my skills might be better suited to saving human lives one day. My plan at the moment is to graduate and work as a vet for a couple years abroad and then apply for medical school. I know some will judge and say that I should have picked medical school instead all those years ago but I really REALLY thought I wanted to be a vet. I even worked in a clinic for over a year before starting vet school so I felt like I knew what I was getting into. But I changed, I found that my passion was more for medicine rather than just specifically veterinary medicine and there are frustrations that I have with the profession that I just couldn't get over. Has anyone else felt this way? Not just vet students but other courses. Has anyone done a degree and wished they had done another?
Original post by TheAnonymousBIG
I am approaching the end of my Veterinary degree. I've done well in exams, had many great opportunities to work with a variety of animals from hamsters to kangaroos but I've lost the drive and passion that I once had to pursue being a vet. I feel like my skills might be better suited to saving human lives one day. My plan at the moment is to graduate and work as a vet for a couple years abroad and then apply for medical school. I know some will judge and say that I should have picked medical school instead all those years ago but I really REALLY thought I wanted to be a vet. I even worked in a clinic for over a year before starting vet school so I felt like I knew what I was getting into. But I changed, I found that my passion was more for medicine rather than just specifically veterinary medicine and there are frustrations that I have with the profession that I just couldn't get over. Has anyone else felt this way? Not just vet students but other courses. Has anyone done a degree and wished they had done another?

I am a 2018 Veterinary Medicine graduate, and I want you to know that you are definitely not alone in feeling this way! and thank you for starting this conversation. It's SO important for more of us (vet grads in particular) to be open about the fact that changing direction is totally ok.

I knew in third-fourth year that clinical practice was likely not for me, and indeed, I haven't worked even one day in practice since graduation. Like you I worked in a vet clinic for over 2 years before being accepted into vet school, I knew what I was getting into, but you put it perfectly: we all change and grow! (5 years is a long time after all...)
Our priorities change, what we are willing to accept (in terms of working conditions, pay, and stress) changes, and we narrow down just what exactly it is that we enjoy most in this career that we thought was for us at the start.
The guilt and fear of judgment (from peers and senior vets) is real though. And you might even have been on the receiving end of comments from mentors or staff that have made you feel that once you've chosen the "vet path" that there's no going back. Which is utter rubbish.

For me personally, I spent the year post-graduation just trying out a few different (non-vet) things. Almost by accident, I discovered online science tutoring, and over the course of the year I knew that teaching was my thing.
I realised just how much of my vet brain and skills I was using in my work as a tutor, and how valuable these skills are to teaching in a school (we're great communicators, problem solvers, adaptable, empathetic, great at managing high stress situations and remaining calm, great at explaining complex ideas simply enough so that a non-specialist can understand).
I've applied to start my PGDE in Secondary Biology this year, and I'm waiting to hear if I've been selected for interview!

I also totally understand your point about "frustrations with the vet profession" that you can't get over. I feel exactly the same. You're allowed to feel this way, the profession has a long long way still to go in many areas, before things will start to improve for vets.


Some parting thoughts re. retraining in human medicine:
Are the frustrations you have with vet medicine similar to those you might have with human medicine? because there are lots of similarities depending on which part of the world you're in (work hours/pay, stress, lack of balance, mental health, lack of support/mentorship)
If you love the clinical side of vet med (do you enjoy your rotations?) could you see yourself being happy in a hospital setting with human patients instead of animals, and dealing with lots of similar challenges?

After graduation, there's no harm in just taking a block of time out and giving yourself a chance to recover. Talk to different people, try some things out, spend a bit of time in a hospital or other medical setting and see if that's somewhere you think you could be happy. You also don't have to work as a vet (straight away, or at all) if you don't want to - your degree is there, your knowledge is there, your skills are there. You can go back to it at any time, and don't let anyone convince you that you can't! do what you need to do :smile:

Last tip: join the Vets Stay Go Diversify group on Facebook if you're not there already, it's full of vets who've done almost every career you can think of. I know there are a few on there who have retrained in human medicine - you can post anonymously for advice there too, and get in touch with vets who've done what you want to do!
(edited 4 years ago)
Original post by TheAnonymousBIG
I am approaching the end of my Veterinary degree. I've done well in exams, had many great opportunities to work with a variety of animals from hamsters to kangaroos but I've lost the drive and passion that I once had to pursue being a vet. I feel like my skills might be better suited to saving human lives one day. My plan at the moment is to graduate and work as a vet for a couple years abroad and then apply for medical school. I know some will judge and say that I should have picked medical school instead all those years ago but I really REALLY thought I wanted to be a vet. I even worked in a clinic for over a year before starting vet school so I felt like I knew what I was getting into. But I changed, I found that my passion was more for medicine rather than just specifically veterinary medicine and there are frustrations that I have with the profession that I just couldn't get over. Has anyone else felt this way? Not just vet students but other courses. Has anyone done a degree and wished they had done another?

I have stayed in clinical work but there have been time where I have seriously thought about diversifying and doing something else. As above the vet stay go diversity group on Facebook is amazing and you will realise you are not the only one!
I would say that being a vet is nothing like rotations or pre-vet school experience, so that is something to consider.

You are right that there are many frustrations in the profession. However, I do have a friend who is doctor and we often have a moan about our jobs because unfortunately a lot of frustrations are mutual! So it really depends what your frustrations are?
Original post by TheAnonymousBIG
I am approaching the end of my Veterinary degree. I've done well in exams, had many great opportunities to work with a variety of animals from hamsters to kangaroos but I've lost the drive and passion that I once had to pursue being a vet. I feel like my skills might be better suited to saving human lives one day. My plan at the moment is to graduate and work as a vet for a couple years abroad and then apply for medical school. I know some will judge and say that I should have picked medical school instead all those years ago but I really REALLY thought I wanted to be a vet. I even worked in a clinic for over a year before starting vet school so I felt like I knew what I was getting into. But I changed, I found that my passion was more for medicine rather than just specifically veterinary medicine and there are frustrations that I have with the profession that I just couldn't get over. Has anyone else felt this way? Not just vet students but other courses. Has anyone done a degree and wished they had done another?

Yes.. I also studied Vet medicine & not considering to go back to study Human medicine. And it all boils down to fulfilment. If going back to study Medicine or any other course will give you fulfilment, then why not???
Original post by TheAnonymousBIG
I am approaching the end of my Veterinary degree. I've done well in exams, had many great opportunities to work with a variety of animals from hamsters to kangaroos but I've lost the drive and passion that I once had to pursue being a vet. I feel like my skills might be better suited to saving human lives one day. My plan at the moment is to graduate and work as a vet for a couple years abroad and then apply for medical school. I know some will judge and say that I should have picked medical school instead all those years ago but I really REALLY thought I wanted to be a vet. I even worked in a clinic for over a year before starting vet school so I felt like I knew what I was getting into. But I changed, I found that my passion was more for medicine rather than just specifically veterinary medicine and there are frustrations that I have with the profession that I just couldn't get over. Has anyone else felt this way? Not just vet students but other courses. Has anyone done a degree and wished they had done another?

Hi, how are you doing?since this question you posted is from 4 years ago i wanted to ask you what path you decided to stay, started human med or stayed in vet practice? Right know im like you,finally approaching the end of the career and thinking what´s the best path after graduation, i love animal medicine but i came across with many frustrations. Hope you are doing fine!! :smile:

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