The path toward becoming a veterinarian isn’t easy. It requires dedication, hard work, studying, and sacrifice. Dedicating your life to veterinary medicine isn’t just a profession, it’s a vocation. And now that you’ve graduated, it’s time to start exploring how your veterinary career is going to take shape. Hunting for a good veterinary job can be stressful and difficult, and like all professions, the first year in your new career can be overwhelming. But never fear! We’ve put together a guide to help you survive your first year and jump start your veterinary career in 2020.
What should your first step be in jump starting your veterinary career? The first thing to do is find a mentor. Having a mentor is an invaluable source of information in assisting you in finding the right job for you, as well as a person to bounce questions off of. A mentor in the field of veterinary medicine means that they have already experienced most of the things that will arise in your new career. They will be able to give you insight and perspective into problems that might arise. A mentor is also a great source in finding the right job for you. They will be able to assist you in navigating job boards to help you find the kind of calls-to-career that will result in longtime job satisfaction, as well as offer opinions in regards to the reputation of local clinics.
Being able to share information is a great way to expand your skills and shape your professionalism. The best part about having a mentor and mentee relationship is that you can benefit by learning from one another. Your recent studies will assist your mentor in learning about the newest techniques and their experience will help you find the best way to utilize these skills in a job that you love.
The next step is to set realistic goals. Make sure that when you are envisioning your career that you are practical and organized. Think about obtaining your veterinary career as a plan and not an end goal. Wanting to be successful and get a job that pays well is great, but those aren’t concrete goals. Ask yourself detailed questions, such as: do I want to be the top canine heart surgeon in my area? When you have a detailed and concrete question about what your career aspirations are you will be able to start putting a plan in action. Such as considering what kind of education you need to achieve this and what will your initial experience need to be to start down this path? By breaking down your ultimate goal into smaller and achievable goals it will make the overall ambition more manageable. By creating a goal map you are more likely to maintain your motivation and celebrate the moments that will bring you to where you want to get to.
Prioritize your education. Do you think that since you’re done with school that the learning is completed? Veterinary medicine is a field where growth never stops. It is essential to prioritize your education and continue to stay abreast of all of the latest advancements, you never know when a new illness might start to plague the pets in your area, or if there is an improvement in a surgical technique. When considering the career map from the previous tip, think about what additional education you’ll need to get where you want to go and start considering classes, conferences, and other sources of information in order to obtain it.
It’s also important to take into consideration that during your first year you will face troubles that you never have before. Every day is different in veterinary medicine. Member during these times when frustration is inevitable to keep your cool and think of it as a learning experience. Being open to learning and exposing yourself to new experiences through problem-solving is a necessary skill in being a veterinarian, especially during your first year.
We talked about the importance of networking [link out to previous article about networking], and the next tip in our guide is to utilize this network while navigating the first year of your career. Stay in contact with your classmates and make sure they are a strong support system while you all work through the beginning of your career. The commonality of your experiences will help you when things get frustrating; and you will have people who uniquely understand your experiences to vent to when things get tough and celebrate with when things go well.
Do you have a self-care ritual? Making sure that you balance your work and personal life is an important part of avoiding the burnout that comes with being a veterinarian. Working in veterinary medicine is a stressful career that requires a lot of dedication and packs an emotional toll on lots of professionals. It is integral that you have outlets in order to help with work and ensure that you are able to shut your mind off from the difficulties that come with being a veterinarian. Spend time with your family, go for a run, read a book. Finding balance is important for both your health and your career.
With these tips you will be sure to survive your first year in veterinary medicine with ease!