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How do i get a head start?

Hi im 15 years old and in 10th grade. I really wanna be an veterinarian and want to start on it right now. Any suggestion, tips, etc?

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Mary Jane’s Answer

Hi Nydia! Great job thinking about this early in your education! Think about your pre-vet preparation as a 3 prong approach. You'll want to focus on academics, animal/vet experiences, and people skills.

1) In terms of academics, make sure you are taking a rigorous load of science and math classes. The more exposure you get now, the better foundation you'll have for your undergrad degree. Look into AP courses and dual credit courses. Take more than the minimum science required to graduate. If you are struggling in these courses talk with your counselor about tutoring and study skills development to strengthen your skills in this area.

2) On the animal side of things, you might look into something like volunteering at an animal shelter or working at a veterinarian's office or horse stables. You could also start your own pet-sitting or dog-walking business to get more experience handling animals. You can shadow some vets in your town and ask them for suggestions for jobs or volunteer opportunities that they think would be a good opportunity to learn more about the field.

You might also search the internet for summer veterinary medicine programs for high school students -- your state's vet school might have a day camp program that you can participate in to learn more about the process of becoming a vet. If you live near a zoo, they may also have some summer camps or internships for high school students. Look around at the agencies in your town that work with animals to see what they offer and give them a call if you can't find anything on their websites. Explain who you are, that your goal is to become a vet, and that you're looking to gain more experience with animal care and behavior, then ask if they have any opportunities for high school students.

Vet schools like to see a variety of animal experiences, not just small house pets. If you have the opportunity to get some exposure to large farm or zoo animals or to wildlife, that would be a bonus. Is there a wildlife rehab center near you? Can you get involved in 4H? Who in the community is doing work that excites or interests you? You don't have to do all of this before graduating from high school -- think about the breadth of your experiences as you move through the next 6 years of education and keep your eyes open for opportunities to learn about new areas.

3) Lastly, think about activities where you can gain leadership and communication skills. Vets focus on animals but all their communication is done with humans. The more practice you get talking to people in a caring, respectful, and professional manner, the more success you'll have. From that standpoint, leading a school club or working at a restaurant or coffee shop can teach you the "people" skills you need to excel as a vet.

Good luck and have fun!
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Jacqueline’s Answer

Hi Nydia, great to hear about your career aspirations!

To pursue a career as a vet will require getting a degree in veterinary science. Here are some ways you can consider.

- For a start, you could consider having your high school education to include topics like biology, and subsequently pursuing a degree in veterinary science.

- start volunteering with animal shelters, or even dogs /cats sitting, and learning the basics for animal care and communication

- reach out to local vets or vet technicans in your neighbourhood and ask them about their journey to becoming where they are at now. Ask them for recommendations on colleges and education. If possible, volunteer your services to help or ask if you can be an intern when you reach the right age. This will give you an immersive learning experience and headstart on what it takes to fulfill your dreams.

hope these helps - and i wish you success in your future career

Jacqueline
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Danusa’s Answer

How can I get a jump start?

Firstly, it's crucial to have a deep understanding of who you are and what you're seeking. With this clarity, begin by crafting your resume. Following that, visit various job search websites. Set up filters tailored to your preferences on these sites, which will help bring up job offers that align with your interests. It's a good practice to check these portals once a week. A handy tip is to set up effective filters that consider the date the job was posted, the salary bracket, and the fields you're interested in. This will ensure you're always in the loop about relevant opportunities.
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Terry’s Answer

No matter your age be sure to give every job 110%. Trust me it will pay off big time. They aren't enough people out there that want to give it their all. Volunteer for everything at your job. Always be looking for things to do and help with.
Believe me everyone watches and will want you on their team.

Best of luck, Terry
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Nydia !

There are a couple of jobs that you can apply for as a teen to work around animals now. One would be as a caretaker in a Veterinarian's office or as a receptionist there. You would need to have a high school diploma for Caretaker/Veterinarian Assistant, though. You could also volunteer at your local ASPCA or an animal shelter. Even though it wouldn't be paid, it would give you experience working around animals that could lead to a paid position later. Many positions in this field do require education, training, experience and certification. The volunteer work or two jobs I've mentioned would give you a good start, though. Pet sitting for private people or dog walking could also be a good way to freelance and make some money.

If you contact the Humane Society in your state, you can inquire about doing volunteer work or obtaining employment with them. I have provided the link to their site below. The website Yelp lists some of the animal shelters in your area and I have left the link to that list below. It would be good to visit them in person, introduce yourself and inquire about any work that may be available.

In the meantime, while in high school, take biology for as many years as they offer it and join any clubs that are connected to animal science. Being a professional working with animals can take some time before you get where you want to be, but you have opportunities now to become familiar with it and the edge of starting this at this time while young. You will have built a strong foundation for yourself by the time your reach college and than go on to Veterinarian school.

Remember to obtain working papers at your school. You will need that in order to be employed by a company or agency/organization.

Best wishes to you !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

NEBRASKA HUMANE SOCIETY https://www.nehumanesociety.org/
ANIMAL SHELTERS NEAR OMAHA https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=animalshelters&find_loc=OMAHA,%20NE
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Cameron’s Answer

Great attitude! There are two things I would start thinking about:

1) Keep working on your passion. Where appropriate keep involving yourself with animals i.e. through volunteering. There are a lot of shelters out there that would love some help!

2) General work experience. Start thinking about looking for a 'normal' job. For example retail, while it might not be relevant to your final career goal it shows employers that you have real life work experience, working with others, speaking to customers etc. All companies love to see a good work ethic at a young age and you will get a good reference out of it.
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Pamela’s Answer

Hello Nydia
Remember to choose what you love doing and passionate of. I will be 🙏🏾praying with you God's plan for you.

That's great to hear that you're in becoming a veterinarian! Here are a few suggestions to help you get a head start on your career:

1. Focus on your academics: It's important to do well in your science courses, such as biology, chemistry, and physics. These subjects will provide a strong foundation for your future studies in veterinary medicine.

2. Volunteer at animal shelters or clinics: This will not only give you hands-on experience working with animals but also provide you with valuable insights into the daily responsibilities of a veterinarian.

3. Seek out mentorship opportunities: Reach out to local veterinarians and ask if you can shadow them or assist with their work. This will allow you to gain firsthand knowledge about the profession and make connections within the industry.

4. Participate in extracurricular activities related to animals: Join clubs or organizations that focus on animal care, such as Future Farmers of America (FFA) or 4-H. These programs often offer opportunities for students to work with animals and learn more about veterinary medicine.

5. Stay informed and up-to-date: Keep yourself updated on current topics and advancements in veterinary medicine by reading books, scientific journals, and attending conferences or workshops.

6. Plan for your education: Research and familiarize yourself with the requirements for veterinary school. Find out what courses you need to take in college and start thinking about potential universities or colleges that offer pre-veterinary programs.

Remember, it's never too early to start preparing for your future career. By taking proactive steps now, you'll have a solid foundation when it comes time to pursue your veterinary education.

Wishing you success in your career.
Best regards,
_Pamela Knight
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Emmanuel’s Answer

Dear Nydia,

It's wonderful that you're interested in becoming a veterinarian at such a young age. Here are some steps you can take now to get a head start on your dream:

Focus on Science and Math: Pay special attention to science and math subjects in school, as these are foundational for a career in veterinary medicine. Biology, chemistry, and physics are particularly important.

Volunteer or Shadow: Look for opportunities to volunteer at local animal shelters, veterinary clinics, or farms. This will give you a taste of what it's like to work with animals and in veterinary medicine.

Join Related Clubs or Groups: If your school has a science club, 4-H club, or similar groups, join them. These organizations often provide valuable learning experiences and opportunities to explore your interests.

Educational Camps or Programs: Check if there are summer camps or special programs for young people interested in veterinary science. These can be great for hands-on learning and networking.

Read and Research: Spend time reading books and articles about veterinary medicine. This will help you understand the field better and keep you informed about the latest developments.

Good Grades and Test Scores: Strive for good grades, especially in science and math, as these are important for college admissions. When the time comes, prepare well for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT.

Plan for Undergraduate Studies: Research colleges that offer strong pre-veterinary or biological sciences programs. A solid undergraduate education is crucial for vet school admission.

Explore Different Veterinary Fields: Veterinary medicine is diverse, with specializations in areas like small animal care, large animal care, research, and exotic animals. Exploring these areas can help you find your specific interest.

Build Soft Skills: Develop skills like communication, empathy, and teamwork. These are essential in veterinary medicine for interacting with pet owners and working in teams.

Stay Determined and Passionate: The path to becoming a veterinarian is challenging and requires hard work and dedication. Keep your passion alive and stay focused on your goal.

Remember, the journey to becoming a veterinarian is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time to explore and enjoy the learning process. Your early interest and dedication put you on a great path towards achieving your dream.

Best regards,
[Your Name]
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