From maybe to must-be: An undergrad’s journey to veterinary medicine


A recent graduate and MS student from Texas A&M University, discusses several key factors that inspired his pathway to pursuing a career in veterinary medicine

Monkey Business/

Monkey Business/

I’ve found that 4 years of undergraduate experience comes with its share of lifetime lessons. With graduation behind me, I’d like to reflect on my personal journey—both struggles and successes—as a biomedical sciences undergraduate on my way to veterinary school.

Year 1: Experience is everything

For as long as I can remember, I’ve found biology incredibly captivating. It was this intriguing topic, combined with a variety of scouting merit badges, that piqued my interest in veterinary medicine and my ultimate choice to pursue a major in biomedical sciences. However, it wasn’t until I ventured outside the classroom and into the world of veterinary practice that my passion truly ignited.

Textbooks are a crucial part of education, but they have limitations. It was through witnessing the dedication, technical skills, and emotional bond veterinarians have with their patients and clients that I saw this profession brought to life in a manner nothing else could. As Julius Caesar once said in his Commentarii de Bello Civili, “ut est rerum omnium magister usus”—experience is the teacher of all things. In my case, it proved to be the key to unlocking my true calling and this realization underscores a crucial truth: no matter where you are in your academic, professional, or personal journey, hands-on experience is paramount.

After all, the drive to learn, grow, and make a positive impact comes from a place of genuine passion. That passion is the catalyst that propels us forward even when the road becomes challenging.

Year 2: Academic rigor is a virtue

When I first selected my degree plan, I wanted to find a pathway that would challenge me within the fields of biological and medical sciences. I chose a major that was tightly integrated with the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine, exposing myself to courses such as Biology of Mammalian Cells & Tissues and Applied Biomedical Physiology. Through focusing time on advanced material, I’m hoping to better prepare myself for the high rigor I’ll face in veterinary school—and make myself a stronger veterinarian in the process.

I can’t stress seeking opportunity through embracing challenges enough. One evening, I received an email from our school’s engineering department about an upcoming biomedical innovation competition with a focus in veterinary medicine. I was originally hesitant because I hardly had any clinical experience, had not begun my second semester in biology, and I was not an engineer. I figured I’d just apply and see what happens. Next thing I knew I was surrounded by 63 students, mostly engineers, some being from as far away as Sylhet, Bangladesh. I joined a group of 4 to tackle dangerous typos within veterinary medicine. Although we ended up losing a member, our project, PawCheck Veterinary Autocorrect Keyboard, won first place! Through this event, I was exposed to exceptional mentors and the value of diverse collaboration.

In other words, harvest the rewards of stepping outside your comfort zone.

Year 3: There’s power in mentorship & networking

The most rewarding aspect from my time in undergrad was the ability to form meaningful connections with fellow students and alumni. The field of pre-veterinary medicine has in many places become notorious for the “every man for himself” philosophy of competitive admissions, but there’s always plenty of examples that don’t fit that mold. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have both friends and mentors that are eager to provide support to help me achieve my goals.

Additionally, challenge yourself to meet someone new this week. As I mentioned in year 2: don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone! Sign up for something new and find ways to connect with others who share a similar passion to yours. I can thank this philosophy for getting the opportunity to meet Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, chief veterinary officer at dvm360, at the most recent Raleigh American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association conference. I’ve been fortunate enough to have his amazing guidance and support in preparing my veterinary school application.

Year 4: The significance of personal resilience

Some of the greatest advice I’ve received was from a veterinarian mentor of mine is we all need to fail to succeed. Failure is only natural and a crucial component to success.

When I received word my application to veterinary school was rejected this past cycle, and once the initial shock and disappointment had worn out, I had never felt such a powerful wave of motivation come over me. I’ve gone from focusing on undergrad to graduation and now focusing on a masters, not losing sight of my veterinary dream. I’ll be a stronger candidate next year and have no doubt I’ll make it.

No matter the instance you might be in have faith, don’t give up if you don’t succeed the first time, and always be willing to take that risk.

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