Lili, Class of 2021
When did you decide to pursue veterinary medicine?
I had always been an animal as well as a science lover. However, I decided to pursue a different direction in undergrad, and ended up with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations. After a few years working in that industry, I found myself deeply unsatisfied. I wanted to do more for the world, and I craved more interaction with both people and animals in a challenging setting. With the help of my family, I was able to return to school to pursue prerequisites for Cornell as well as start working at a local veterinary hospital. The rest is history!
What did you do to prepare for veterinary school?
To gain veterinary experience, I spent three years working as an Animal Care Assistant for a local specialty and emergency hospital. I also took as many advanced science courses as I could fit into my schedule while completing my prerequisites, such as Immunology, Genetics, and Cancer Biology. Finally, I shadowed a large variety of veterinarians (some for just a few days) in order to get an idea of the large variety of jobs and roles open to me in the field.
What advice to you have for high school or college pre-vets students who are interested in becoming a veterinarian?
Remember that you are more than just a student. Good self-care begins now—getting good grades is really important, but so is knowing when to eat, sleep, exercise, and just take a break. Make time for the important people and hobbies in your life and explore lots of different ways of studying to find the one that fits you best. Finally, and most importantly, get in the habit now of defining success by something other than your grades: once in veterinary school, your only job is to become the absolute best clinician that you can possibly be for your patients, and there are many ways (outside of a 4.0 average) to be just that.