Let me tell you–finding out that what I thought I wanted to do my whole life was not actually it was beyond devastating. But at the same time a huge relief! I saved myself not only tons of money, years of schooling, and a lot of effort, but time. This life only lasts so long, I need to cherish each and every moment and put it towards something for my future.
I wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as I could remember. Ever since I was a little girl it was all I dreamed about, and all I ever imagined myself doing. But lo and behold, it wasn’t actually what I wanted to do.
Now a lot of things changed my mind about the job, but the most important thing was experience. One of the most vital things you can do for your future career is experience it! I knew that there were things I wouldn’t like about being a veterinarian, every job has its own pros and cons, but for me I had never thought the cons would outweigh the pros.
Over the last few years, I have worked at four animal clinics, in order to get my 2,000 hours required to apply to vet school. After I didn’t like the first two, I figured it was just a couple bad experiences I had, and that I didn’t like the way they ran the vet hospitals. But when I was on the fourth one and although it was by far the best of them all for an intern (with how they kept me involved and learning, how I had homework between shifts, and how I was constantly shadowing and being thrown into the life of a veterinarian) I just didn’t love it. I dreaded going at times and it was difficult to stay motivated in what I was studying in school at the same time.
Right now I’m learning biomedical sciences, but its not anatomy and physiology of the body. Its the anatomy and physiology of your cells and ion channels and trust me, its really interesting but I don’t care about it. Its hard to keep seeing the big picture here. So, I had already decided that doing small animals for the veterinarian path was not for me. I was bored in the vet offices with cats and dogs coming in, and although every day was different, it also was very much the same. I wanted to work where I was excited about ever single animal that walked through that door. I wanted more.
Working at a horse and goat farm was great for me. And when I realized I would rather pick up horse poop every morning instead of giving a dog vaccines, I knew being a veterinarian probably wasn’t the right thing for me. I stuck with the idea though, because I could be a large animal vet. I thought zoo animals would be amazing–but there’s only so many zoos. What if I couldn’t get a job? I could do equine but had never really pictured it for myself. I could own a farm, but that didn’t really seem to fit what I was looking for either.
So I changed my major to wildlife biology and conservation and have never been happier about it. In fact, this summer I’m doing a program through my university in Africa! I’ll be experiencing the life of a wildlife biologist and conservationist, and I just have a feeling this is what I really want to be doing with my life. I’m not interested in saving individual animals anymore, but groups of them.
I got lucky, because all the classes I have taken so far are right on track with what I still hope to do. (Switching from Biology to Wildlife Biology is just a lot less chemistry and Biochemistry so yay me!) But, what I’m trying to say is that in order to know what you really want to do and what you truly love, you have to get into that. You need to put your name out there and look for internships, you need to find jobs or volunteer, you need to experience your career in as many different ways that you can. It will teach you a lot about the job, and about yourself, and is a priceless tool in this life.
One of the most important things you can do for your career is experience it.