June 16, 2017

“What do I want to be when I grow up?”

By Merrill Simpson

This question became my mid-vet-school-crisis. At the end of 2nd year I realized my diverse interests were muddling my post-graduation path. I became jealous of those who JUST KNOW they need to be equine internal medicine specialists, small animal general practitioners, pathologists etc. While every path is challenging in different ways, there is some solace in knowing your plan. For the first time in my life I was without a plan, and terrified. What I have learned is “what do I want to be when I grow up?” should be rephrased to “what do I want to grow into as I explore the rest of my life?” Recently, I watched a Stanford webinar about applying design thinking to career planning. The webinar advised thinking of a career as a process instead of an end-goal. Meetings this week have solidified that advice as fact when it comes to veterinary medicine.  I have had the opportunity to talk with successful veterinarians working in policy, as professors, as researchers for the NIH and current and past congressional fellows. Some of the veterinarians JUST KNEW they never wanted to work in practice, but almost all of them had some experience in practice. There are important skills to be learned in veterinary school and practice that can be applied to a variety of positions. We had the privilege of attending a boat cruise for Congressman Yoho, a veterinarian and representative of Florida’s 3rd congressional district. When I asked Congressman Yoho about this transition from practice to politics- he said the driving force was his unrest with the state of the government at that time and his desire to make changes. One of my meetings was at the Congressional baseball game. It was heartwarming to see solidarity and bipartisan fun during a contentious time in D.C.  What I took away from this week is that the possibilities are endless and explore all your interests. In this process you learn so much about yourself and the next step in career exploration.  And have fun in the meantime!

Group Picture of Boat CruiseExterns with Dr YohoCongress Baseball