Brittany, Class of 2023
When did you decide to pursue veterinary medicine?
I have known that I wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as I can remember! However, I don’t think I truly understood the field and my passion for medicine until I was in high school. When I was sixteen, I was hired as a veterinary assistant at a small animal hospital, and that is when I really found my passion for veterinary medicine. Not only would I get to help animals, but I would also get to problem solve every day (our patients can’t tell us what is wrong!) and help pet owners make important decisions for their furry friends. When I found myself excited to go to work every single day, I knew I had found my calling!
What did you do to prepare for veterinary school?
As an undergraduate, I majored in biological sciences in order to give myself a strong background in science. I also took extra upper level science courses, such as immunology and histology, that were not required for my major. These courses ended up being some of the most useful to me after I started vet school. I also tried to get as much animal experience as I could in a variety of capacities. I worked as a veterinary assistant in two different small animal general practice clinics in order to get a feel for different practice types. I spent some time shadowing an equine surgeon. And during the school year I took care of a herd of equines that were being used for research. In addition, I learned to prioritize my mental health and find time to do things for me. In my spare time, I enjoyed hiking and going paddle boarding. I also raised three puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, which was an extremely rewarding experience.
What advice do you have for high school or college students who are interested in becoming a veterinarian?
My biggest piece of advice is to avoid comparing yourself to others or falling into the mentality that there is only one path to getting into vet school. Explore every opportunity that comes your way, even if you don’t think it will necessarily stand out on your application. You may be surprised by how much these opportunities can change your perspective and shape who you are. And this doesn’t just apply to veterinary opportunities. Take time to explore your interests outside of veterinary medicine as well. You are a whole person, not just a pre-vet student, and your interests and hobbies are important to who you are. Your journey is unique, just like you, so don’t let anyone else dictate the path you take!
Why did you choose Cornell and what do you enjoy most about the veterinary program?
Attending Cornell Vet has been a dream of mine for a long time. I live close to the university, and I grew up attending their open house and also accompanied my parents when they brought a couple horses to Cornell. After attending Cornell for my undergraduate degree, I knew I didn’t want to go anywhere else if I had the opportunity to stay. The thing I enjoy most about the veterinary program is how collaborative it is. You work very closely with your peers in tutor groups, and everyone is very willing to help their classmates out. This leads to amazing friendships that extend beyond the classroom too. The faculty and staff are also very open to helping students and connecting with them outside of the classroom. The connections I have formed with professors, clinicians, and residents are going to be extremely valuable both as I continue my education and as I enter the workforce and start my career.