Becoming a CSU Vet Student

I’m excited to share this guest post with you from Haven, blogger at the Domesticates. Haven is a first year veterinary student at CSU, new to Fort Collins and embarking on a rewarding journey, helping people and animals. I’m looking forward to reading more about her experience as a vet student!

Facing my fears

The responses of strangers varied from cringing and raised eyebrows to guarded well-wishing when I mentioned my plans to go to vet school. Many told stories of people they knew who had applied numerous times, to no avail. It was probably those reactions that gave me apprehension when I applied this past fall. I made plans for how I would spend a year off if I didn’t get in (gestation), and started counseling when I realized how terrified I was to try for something with a very real chance of failure.

It was the responses of my friends and family that gave me hope. Well, that, and my first A in chemistry. My path to vet school wasn’t a straight one. I was applying at 27 years – the age at which a good number of vet students graduate. I had a degree in German with a minor in French. What I also had was years of animal experience as a wrangler, packer, 4-H member, recreational dog musher, shelter volunteer, and a genuine, life-long affection for animals.

People will tell you how competitive it is to get into vet school – and it is. But there is a formula. As a pre-veterinary student, you know the GPA required, the GRE, and the number of veterinary hours. Some of the best advice I got was that those numbers put you in a certain pile when it comes to acceptance – it’s the personal statement and letters of recommendation that will move you between the piles.

So I wrote 13 drafts of my personal statement, and had 12 people read it over (here’s to you Jon, Dr. Mattix, Mom, and Stan!). I tried to explain how my background in the humanities could be an asset. The people I requested letters of recommendation from, I knew to be strong, persuasive writers, as well as people with whom I had meaningful relationships.

And then I pressed “submit.”

Embracing kismet

A little less than a year later, I’m procrastinating packing for my move to Fort Collins by writing this post. On Monday, Jon, Cao and I will drive 9 hours from Montana to Colorado. 1 week later, I’ll be headed off into the mountains with 145 colleagues, where we’ll do some trust falls, talk about our aspirations and professionalism, and inevitably solve most of the world’s ills.

“Kismet” seems somewhat effusive, but so far, everything to do with Fort Collins has fallen together in a way that affirms both my choice to go to vet school, and to choose Colorado State as the place to do it. I’m excited to learn from veterinary ethicist, Dr. Bernard Rollin, to walk my dog, Cao, on the Poudre River Trail Corridor and up near Horsetooth Reservoir, to live with a house rabbit, to eat banana bread french toast at the Rainbow Cafe, and to learn to help animals live the healthiest lives possible.

During vet school and beyond, I will be updating my blog, the Domesticates, regularly with insights on companion animal health and care. When you see Cao and I out and about in Fort Collins, please feel free to stop us to say “hi!”

haven & cao

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