Deciding My Future

It’s March 8th. I have 38 days to decide where I am going to vet school. And while everyone seems to think that this is a long time to make a decision, it’s not. They’re lying.

I applied to ten schools in total: UC Davis, Cornell University, University of Missouri, Auburn University, University of Florida, University of Georgia, Virginia-Maryland Regional College, The Ohio State University, Colorado State University, and North Carolina State University. I was denied to UC Davis, U of Georgia, VMRC (after two months on a wait-list for an interview, I might add), CSU, and NCSU. I was waitlisted to Cornell, but had only applied here as my in-state school and once I toured, I knew it was not the school for me, so I removed myself from the list. I was also waitlisted to Auburn University (which was a gift because I missed my interview due to a flight cancellation and had to skype with them instead) as well as University of Florida. I’ve been accepted to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine and The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Ten schools might have been crazy, but considering my top two were UC Davis and Auburn, I’m glad that I did it. Yes, it cost over one thousand dollars and yes, my parents paid for it. They have supported my dreams all of my life, and this one has been around for a better part of it; they were prepared.

I thought that the hardest part was waiting. Day and night I was checking my email and refreshing the page hoping and praying that the message would come through (they send notifications out electronically now). The first notification I received was from the University of Missouri asking me to interview. The second was from UC Davis saying in not so many words that I just was not competitive enough for them and to try again next time. I thought that I would be devastated, but I wasn’t. After getting sick sophomore year, I wasn’t too keen on living that far away, so maybe that was why.

The invitations to interview started rolling in, interrupted by my five “unfortunately, we are not able to offer you a position in the incoming class this year”‘s. I began to panic about how much this was going to interfere with my undergrad, how much I’d have to pay for it all, etc. It worked itself out, though I only ended up attending interviews in person at the two schools that accepted me.

But the wait, it turns out, is not the hardest part. The wait is knowing that my options are before me and now I have to choose. I have to decide where I’m going to live for the next 4 years ,how much I’m going to spend, where my boyfriend will have to find a job (he’s moving with me after he graduates). It’s horrifying. And it’s all up to me.

Both Mizzou and Ohio are amazing. At Mizzou, I felt like being home. I had actually applied to the school last minute, removing Tufts from my application and adding Missouri. I didn’t know much about the program at the time, only that many kids in my undergrad program have their eye on it. The place felt like home as soon as I got there. Everyone was friendly and willing to show us around, tell us about their experiences, invite us to dinner. I’ve never been more quickly accepted into a place than I was at Missouri. Granted, that may be because I’m from upstate New York where we’re all too busy trying to keep warm to bother with friendly salutations. I was impressed with the facilities, excited to try their clubs, and in love with gas prices (did I mention I’m from New York?). Unfortunately, the biosecurity was not what I’d hoped for (that’s big to a farm girl) and I was a little concerned that the closest airport was only a one room building (St.Louis and Kansas City are an easy two hour drive away).

But Ohio. Oh Ohio! The facilities were grander, the town was larger, the people were happy to see us coming.  But it is a complete cult. Everyone there even admits it. There’s talk about how “once a buckeye, always a buckeye”, “you’ll always be able to find a fellow buckeye”. The way they said “buckeye” screamed “One of ussss”, which might feel comforting to some, but it made me nervous.

Both schools offer in-state tuition after one year and meeting residency requirements. Both costs of living are relatively the same. My greatest fear is that after my four years when I look at applying to residencies, the name of my school will influence my chances of being selected. Mizzou is known for being hands-on, but Ohio State is KNOWN. Will OSU have more pull over Mizzou because it’s a bigger name? Does the “bigger” scare me?

Or does vet school scare me? After 11 years, is this not what I want to do? Can I not decide because deep down, I don’t want to go? I could use my degree (B.S. Animal Science; specialization in Livestock Science and Management) to work in a lab handling the large animals that now occupy them. I could manage a farm, work for a seedstock producer, work for a nutrition company. The options are endless. The options are easy in comparison – is that what I’m afraid of? Emotionally, everything is getting harder and harder as I keep pushing myself and expecting more and more – am I going to ruin myself? Will I do that no matter where I am?

It’s past midnight – 37 days left to choose.

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