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When do you come to terms of accepting failure or deciding to quit?

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I began college as a Animal Science major and realized it wasn't for me. I'm currently a Psychology major, but I'm hoping to still be eligible of becoming a vet student. I keep holding onto the idea that you don't have to be a traditional vet student to be qualified. I have no direction of what I want to do anymore. Currently, I'm planning my degree and I don't know if all the trouble of taking science classes is worth it. Since middle school, all I've wanted was to be a vet surgeon, and now I don't know if I'm holding on to that dream out of my own pride or genuine desire. Any advice or personal stories to get me through this emotional hurdle would be most appreciated. #veterinary #veterinarian #psychology #veterinary-medicine #college

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11 answers

Estelle’s Answer

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A psychology degree is a great way to work your way into veterinary school! You may have animals as patients, but you need to deal with their owners:)
Psychology can be a great stepping stone to lots of graduate studies. If you feel like you are losing enthusiasm for veterinary medicine then shadow a vet and see if it still seems cool to you. If you realize that it's not really what you thought it was when you were a kid, then good for you for seeing that early in your education before you invested too much time, energy and money in something you did not love.
The best advice I can give is to realize that it takes more courage to change courses than to continue down a path just because it's comfortable.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. I feel a lot better of what I need to do. The last part was very well said and I really took it to heart. Thank you again, Estelle. Carolina V. Translate
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Micaela’s Answer

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Carolina, there is no easy answer to this as only you can answer this question. I do know that failure can bring you to a decision, you may not have made otherwise had you not tried it if that makes sense. I know for myself when I was in college I had a similar experience. Things that brought me clarity about choosing a college major were the following: taking career interests and assessment surveys, participating in internships, asking my family and friends their feedback regarding my strengths, and of course my academic work (the classes I did well in as well as those that I didn't). I found my passion, which for me, was counseling psychology. And then you know what? I excelled at it! I went on to be an executive in behavioral healthcare administration. Being true to yourself is imperative, anyone can make money, but not anyone can create a successful and thriving career. If you do what you are passionate about, you can never go wrong. More often than not, good things will happen.

I hope this helps!

Mica
Thank you for the advice Mica. I am currently reflecting on your words in my perspective and feel more confident about the direction I’m headed. Thank you! Carolina V. Translate
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Avanti’s Answer

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Hey Carolina!

Firstly - no knowledge goes waste. It will always add value to you, your personality and your intelligence if I may say.
Psychology on the other hand is one area which in a way is a base for any other degree or study that you may ever do. It will always help you understand people better. Animals have feelings too, right? I'm sure you'd agree when I say understanding animals is the basic requirement of being a Vet. You can never treat them / help them if you don't understand them!

On the other hand, career change may look a little difficult to settle in and out of place but as long as you have will to learn and adapt to new things, you are good to go!
Sharing my own experience - I started as a medical student, got my graduation done in Hotel Management, masters in Human Resource Management and am currently a part of a very reputed IT company.

There are setbacks, no doubt, all I would say is never stop believing in yourself and never compare your journey with that of others. We all work at our own paces and in our own directions towards success.

And I'm sure you will become a great Vet who is a well read Psychology grad because the first thing about Psychology is learning the concept of "Empathy" and you are gonna have that :)
Thank you so much Avanti. I found great comfort in the direction I’m going with your personal journey. I appreciate it deeply knowing that there’s not one way to do something. Carolina V. Translate
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Anitha’s Answer

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You are in right direction still to achieve your interest and goal. Its just the mindset and thought process you may need to look at. Psychology can add another power to work with animals. Now a days animals are going through depression at the same rate like human beings and your psychology expertise will help to work closely with animals which is very niche area. Finding vet docs is easier over finding vet psychologists
I never thought about it from that perspective. It’s nice to see from different points of view. Thank you for your intake on my dilemma Anitha. Carolina V. Translate
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John’s Answer

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Carolina NEVER let anyone make you feel guilty for having the COURAGE to try new things.

A PERSON WHO NEVER MADE A MISTAKE NEVER TRIED ANYTHING NEW – Albert Einstein

Try something new forces us to grow. We'll never grow from taking action we have always taken. Growth requires us to take new action first, whether it is a new attitude or a new way of thinking, or literally taking new action. Thrusting yourself into new situations often forces beneficial change. A spirit of constant self-challenge keeps us humble and open to new ideas that very well may be better than the ones we currently have.

MENTALLY PREPARE YOURSELF FOR YOUR NEW GOAL – It is easy to do the research on the new journey you are embarking on, but preparing yourself mentally is a totally different story. If your fear is based on a lack of information, then get the information or knowledge you need to examine the situation based on the facts rather than speculation. If you are telling yourself “I can’t achieve my dreams”, your thoughts will create your reality and your mindset will hold you back from having the career you want.

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE, THE WORD ITSELF SAYS “I’M POSSIBLE”! – Audrey Hepburn

The word perfect shouldn’t even be in the dictionary because it’s just not attainable, and who would want it to be? How boring would the world be if it were “perfect”? Perfect doesn’t exist. The truth is, we all start off as a beginner. Instead of holding ourselves back in fear of being a rookie among the veterans, we should jump at every opportunity to learn from those who’ve been in our shoes before us.

When my dad was teaching me to ride my bike, he would hold onto the seat to help me balance as I peddled down the road – sort of like training wheels 2.0. One day, he started off holding my place like he always did, and then suddenly, he let go. I trusted myself that I could make it to the end of the street without falling, but in the back of my head, I knew that even if I did fall, it wouldn’t matter. I would directly get back up and try again.

Envision your desires and dreams and try to think of them in the frame of mind you would have as a child. If you want to hit the restart button on your dream career, do it. If your dream is to be Veterinarian Surgeon, go for it. Most veterinary schools don't have a preferred major as long as certain science courses are taken. Who cares if you’ve never done it before. Try it all. Do it all. Don’t be afraid of failing, because that’s impossible. You can’t fail when you try; you only fail when you do nothing. Embrace the power of being uncomfortable and flaunt it like a badge, because one day you’ll look back and be so glad that you did.

THE ONLY PERSON YOU ARE DESTINED TO BECOME IS THE PERSON YOU DECIDE TO BE. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

John recommends the following next steps:

  • JOIN A PRE-VETERINARY CLUB – Pre-professional clubs that focus on veterinary medicine are available at many schools. These clubs may have meetings where members discuss career topics, shadowing programs, and resources for volunteer or internship experience. Some also offer the chance to apply for scholarships that are only offered to members.
  • VETERINARY INTERNSHIPS – Volunteering or interning at veterinary clinics or other animal care facilities can give you an idea of what the job of a veterinarian is really like. Many veterinary programs require some experience working with animals, and volunteering can fulfill this requirement or make a student more competitive when applying. You can use these experiences to show dedication to the field of animal care and gain professional references.
  • GET INVOLVED IN RESEARCH PROJECTS – Some programs offer students the opportunity to be involved in research while studying for their degree. This experience may be helpful in understanding certain aspects of the veterinary field and can open up opportunities to work in research rather than a clinical setting.
  • JOIN A VETERINARY ASSOCIATION – National and state associations exist for veterinarians. Membership benefits may include access to newsletters, professional connections, published literature on the latest veterinary topic, and resources for continuing education.
I really appreciate the time you took to say this to me and others reading. Know that every word and quote was taken personally and will better help me navigate my career and outlook on life. Thank you John! Carolina V. Translate
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Katya’s Answer

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Hi Carolina, this could be bit challenging but I will just tell you how I managed this similar situation when I as in your shoes.

First, as I think back when I was feeling this way -I was just following my emotions and completely forgot about all the reasoning behind.no,w, I know that our emotions are sparkling ay to fast and our decisions need to be made on a much cooler head. With that being said, I always go by what I was told all my life by my parents-if you can’t make a decision-sleep on it and in the morning you most likely will make the right decision for yourself.

I am a firm believer -if you feel it in your gut that this is something you really want to do as a professional and you know why then you should not give up ever. Yes, the road to success is not an easy one and that’s why many give up and others move forward. But you need to know deep down in your heart that you never regret the decision you will make down the road.

If this is something you questioning now- it’s ok-you need to ask yourself why? Is it because the class is not interested and you just not liking it or it’s really not what you want to do. Trust me, after almost 16 years on being in my profession- I know it’s so important to love what you do because as you grow-you want to do something that you enjoy, make money and happy to show up to work everyday.

Do I wish I chose another career, yes absolutely but I was an immigrant, my expectations were different, I wasn’t sure what to choose, there was a language barrier, and many other obstacles but I can tell you for sure that it’s never too late to choose another phase, regardless of how old you are- the only issue is that it’s difficult to start when you already settled and other responsibilities take time and now it’s all about finding the time to move forward.

So, it’s ok that you are having all these mixed feelings- this is called soul searching-and you need to listen to you and make a decision.

Best of luck
It is a lot to process, especially when there’s expectations of knowing what you want to do and chasing your dreams because it’s not that simple. I resonated with you when you said you were an immigrant because I come from a family of immigrants. There’s a feeling and responsibility of making them proud and it adds pressure on me of having a plan and goals. Thank you Katya for the feedback truly. Carolina V. Translate
Hi Carolina, I completely understand. Just from my life experience as I grew older I realized that I can’t make everyone happy and meet their expectations. What I can do is follow my goals, work hard, become successful and help my family an that’s what matters at the end of the day for me. They do want me to have a better life that’s the reason the cake but once they saw my success and my ability to support-it all seems to be in place. Remeber-it’s your happiness and you want to be successful and love what you do because you will have a responsibility to take ownership. Katya Lev Translate
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Marina’s Answer

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Re-sharing part of Estelle's answer because it was that good: "The best advice I can give is to realize that it takes more courage to change courses than to continue down a path just because it's comfortable."

As someone who is working through my own fear of failure while also being a recovering perfectionist and overachiever, I feel the anxiety and uncertainty you may be feeling. I made the difficult decision to leave a job of 10 years after many years of unhappiness. It was scary and I thought I was letting a lot people down by quitting. Please BE KIND TO YOURSELF and know that everyone (students, professionals, etc) have these same thoughts and feelings. Change is constant and having and pursuing new dreams is apart of growth. Realizing that you no longer enjoy doing something means you are self-aware and can advocate for yourself. This is a powerful and courageous muscle to flex.

I appreciate you sharing more details in the comments. I was the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college and know the pressure from parents, family & culture to be (their version of) successful. It took me many years and a lot of personal soul-searching, but I know that they wanted to best for me and want me to be happy. Sometimes, it's that simple.


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Ravi Kiran’s Answer

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You must always think or recall that you tried your best before coming to this decision

It is not easy for anyone to make this decision so quick but it is only you have realized it may be beyond your skills, or expertise or control to handle the situation but until the best advice to keep trying with all alternative possibilities that are available from various sources (like thoughts, ideas, different approach, technique) and this may take time

Most of times we make these decisions in haste not realizing there is a way out but sometimes accepting failure is always positive sign to achieve something bigger or a valuable lesson learnt for something better tomorrow
Ravi Kiran, I very much take wholeheartedly the advice you gave. It’s reassuring to me that change is fine and you’ve released so much stress. Thank you for your words. Carolina V. Translate
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Kim’s Answer

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Carolina,

Without knowing why you are feeling this way, it's honestly difficult to address. Are you unable to get good enough grades in science classes? Do you find the material too hard? Are you truly applying yourself? Have you taken advantage of any tutoring assistance and on-line resources? When I was studying law, the professor was unable to put the material across in a way that was meaningful to me. The textbooks didn't help! I found online videos of discussions of the relevant cases, and it all started to make sense!

Perhaps instead of thinking of it as "quitting" veterinary science, you could look at it more as a transition to a different application of that specialty. What do I mean by that? There are all sorts of jobs involving people and animals! Doggy daycare, animal rescue groups, animal adoption counselors, seeeing-eye dog trainers, therapy involving animals, such as this one, which involves helping people with disabilities through a horseback riding program. http://thesaddlelightcenter.com/

I encourage you to explore other ways you can work with both people and animals!

Kim
Science ironically was never a strong ability of mine no matter how much I tried to understand. Anatomy and physiology is why I took a likening to veterinary science in the first place. I initially majored in Animal Science believing that I would interact with and learn about animals. That was not the case. Reading about the future courses I have to take to simply qualify as a candidate overwhelm and intimidate me. Although I changed majors, I made sure it was still with a science foundation (Bachelor of Science in Psychology) to accommodate the prerequisites of vet school. My entire college journey so far is dread and doubt of whether I’m making right decisions, especially as a first generation student with not much guidance. Thank you Kim for the advice, any tips are useful. Carolina V. Translate
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Anne’s Answer

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Hi Carolina,

You are not alone! I started off college as an architecture major because I loved to design and draw. I quickly learned there was a lot of math and physics involved in architecture, and had to abandon that dream. I ended up getting a BA in English with no real direction of what I wanted to do.
After college, I worked in retail while researching different jobs and defining what I wanted to do. I ended up in pharmaceutical sales and have a fortunate career that allows me to learn and grow.

I wouldn’t give up on your dream - but I would ask yourself what is it about being a Vet surgeon that interests you? Is it the technical challenge of surgery, is it working with animals, is it being able to help an animal? What is your motivation? Are there other areas in veterinary medicine that you would enjoy, if you are not able to get into vet school?

There is a world of opportunity out there! Don’t get down - you are ahead of the curve in asking yourself these types of questions. I suggest speaking with a vet or a career counselor to help you identify what your desires are in a career and then identify the skills and experience you need to get there. Good luck!
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Yasemin’s Answer

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HI Carolina! I actually relate to this a lot! I was a psych major as an undergrad; for the premed field you can be any major and apply to medical school, it's important to take the prerequisites! Since the age of 14 I wanted to become a physician but I had a lot of obstacles ahead of me, I always struggled in science and math and if someone told me when I was 10 or 12 years old I would be on this path I would probably think they were joking. But life is funny and interesting because it's the unexpected that happens; I ended being a tutor and actually regarded as a good one at my university for psych stats, chemistry and biology. I thought when I got to college my obstacles were over and I was set but I did struggle. I needed to take my MCAT two times and at one point I thought I would never get past the low scores I was getting on my practice exams. I don't think I doubted my dreams but I did think if maybe it was a sign for something else, and it actually was. I realized I had to strengthen my application and therefore I became a volunteer in the ER. I loved every minute of it and can't wait to return as soon as the situation with COVID is under control. It made me realize how much I wanted to keep pursuing my passion and that my obstacles with the MCAT were a lesson for maturity. I am so glad I had the setbacks I did because I think I matured and realized how much I loved this field and did not want to give up! Long story short I think every field has its hurdles and sometimes one can feel lost but remember to give yourself time and relax as well. Once COVID is better I would recommend to maybe volunteer in a shelter and get affiliated with the practical aspects of being a vet. Give yourself time to explore your options, and if you do find something else you love more or feel more comfortable then it isn't wrong to change your path either. I wish you the best on this journey and remember to not be so hard on yourself, sometimes life hands us things that seem difficult but actually help us much in the long run!

Best of luck!
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