It's only December and Summer is far far away, but it's never too early to start thinking about what you might want to do with your Summer vacation. Some veterinary students are already set in their plans for the summer. Others may be just beginning to consider their options for what they might do to fill their time. For those with a long Winter break you may be able to apply some of these ideas to your extended time off. If you need something to keep your brain from turning completely to mush and to help bulk up your CV, here are a list of popular ideas to help:
Some veterinary schools will allow non-senior vet students to rotate through various clinics over the summer. This is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with clinical medicine and to actually put a bit of what you learned in the classroom to use. Besides using what you learned in class, 75% of clinical medicine involves things like taking a good history, performing physical exams, writing medical records, and interacting with clients, patients, veterinarians, staff, and other students. Taking part in clinics early on in your career will help you develop these skills as well as to help you familiarize yourself with how your hospital runs and what’s expected of you when you’re a junior or senior in clinics. If your vet school does not offer summer clinics for your grade level, try contacting other vet schools that you’d like to spend some time at. Doing externships at other vet schools is also a great way to see how medicine is practiced differently in around the country.
Work as a technician
We all know living on grants and student loans throughout vet school is tough so finding a job that pays can certainly take a little strain off your wallet. The best part is that you can still gain valuable experience while making some money. Working as a vet tech or assistant is one of the best ways to hone your technical skills. If you’ve had little experience with drawing blood, placing catheters, restraining animals, obtaining blood pressures, etc, then this may be a great way to develop these skills very quickly.
It’s never too early to start planning for the future. Externships to private practices, other vet schools, or industry companies can help you decide on where you might want to wind up after you graduate, whether it is for an internship, or for your first full time job. Most externships range from a few days to several weeks, so it would be easy to fit multiple externships into your summer, and even potentially do a few of these other listed ideas in addition to externships. Although most externships are unpaid, you will be gaining valuable experience, and more importantly, finding out what you like and don’t like about each place you visit to help shape ideas for your future. Most vet schools and private practices that have internship programs will have extern programs. You should contact the academic affairs office at your school to see if they have a list of the contact information you would need to set one up. For industry companies, you may need to contact them directly to inquire about externships.
Assisting with or starting your own research project is an excellent way to learn statistics, find out what makes a study good or bad, how to perform various lab techniques, run clinical trials, and how to write a manuscript. Although some of these things may sound daunting, you would not (or should not) be expected to do all this on your own. Besides looking good on your CV, research projects help to further knowledge in veterinary medicine, and help to show you have an interest in giving back to the veterinary community. This would be particularly beneficial for those who are considering residencies or academic positions. To get started, contact your student affairs office for a listing of the research interests for the faculty at your school and contact the faculty with whom you have shared interests. Alternatively, you can contact the residents or faculty in the department that you’re interested in to learn about their projects.
Study for the NAVLE
Those of you who are about to enter your senior year should start thinking about studying for the NAVLE. Although many people don’t need an entire 6 months to study for the test, getting a head start and organizing a plan of attack can greatly reduce your stress level as the test approaches. Online study programs like VetPrep have revolutionized the way students approach studying for the NAVLE.
Whatever you wind up filling your time with over the summer, be sure to leave some time for yourself to rest, relax, and recuperate your mind prior to starting the next academic year. A couple of weeks to unwind and relax will be just as important if not more important for your mental health as any of the above.
How to Land Your Dream Job
They say getting in is the hardest part.
“They” don’t know how challenging vet school can be.
But you are in the middle of it and you know that it is very difficult; lots of late nights studying, worrying about your patients, mountains of debt, a giant board exam to pass prior to graduation and then, oh yeah, I guess you should think about getting a job too.
We put together a list of what you should be considering when looking for that DREAM JOB:
- Know what Employers are Seeking in a Vet
- The Top Tips for Finding a Job
- Tips for the Interview
- ...and more!