Djion, Class of 2023
When did you decide to pursue veterinary medicine?
I decided to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine during my freshman year of high school. I had previously wanted to go into marine biology but decided that I would have more options for work with a DVM. There wasn’t much that I knew about veterinary medicine at that time, but I was right in that there is a wide variety of opportunities and career paths available for people with DVMs.
What did you do to prepare for veterinary school?
There are a myriad of things that I did to prepare for vet school! One of my priorities was to get a wide range of experience. This started with one of my first exposures to veterinary medicine through a Cornell Extension pre-vet program during my junior year of high school. This was the gateway to my first time shadowing a small animal vet then later working in a shelter. In undergrad I gained more small animal exposure along with large animal, diagnostic, research, and public health experiences. Before I started vet school, I worked in a small animal hospital. Though all of my animal experiences before vet school seem minute now, they laid a strong foundation for the education I am experiencing now.
What advice do you have for high school or college students who are interested in becoming a veterinarian?
I would say to show consistency in your interest in veterinary medicine. The field is so broad and there are a myriad of ways to learn about it. So dip your toes in with experience! Hands-on experiences help by showing you what types of environments you like and those that you don't like. Both are important in guiding you along your journey. Comparison can be the thief of joy, so focus on doing your best!
Why did you choose Cornell and what do you enjoy most about the veterinary program?
I chose Cornell because of the beautifully designed curriculum. Problem based learning helps us develop our clinical problem solving from our first year! It also helps to place an emphasis on actually learning the material rather than basic memorization. I love how there is no competition between students. That is definitely something that I feared coming into the program. The faculty and staff have a way of building comradery amongst peers. This helps to make the learning environment more collaborative, inviting and decreases the stress of comparison.