Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Reality

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a veterinarian. There was never any question in my mind. While many of my playmates, and eventually friends changed their minds several times, I could not see myself doing anything else. My family went from poor to middle class throughout my childhood. My parents showed me that hard work pays off.
Public school was easy for me so I did not have to study. I worked full time as soon as it was legal for me to while in highschool. This enabled me to save money to pay for most of my undergrad. Throughout undergrad I kept a job or two to save for vet school. I even became a resident advisor to get free rent.

When I started vet school, I quickly realized that working was not going to be an option (other than making some book money stuffing fliers in mailboxes at school). So I needed to take out loans to pay for tuition and fees. In total, I have approximately $200,000 in education debt. I call this my house I will not likely ever be able to purchase. It means that at least 1/3 of my paycheck goes to pay back loans for the next 30 years. This also means I will not likely ever have children as I cannot afford to.

Do I regret my decision? I answer that question differently everyday as I deal with ups and downs. Fortunately I love my career, because I will be working to pay for my education for a long time.


  1. This is sad. I'm so glad that at least you love your career! I love it too. For all the bitching we do, it's remarkable, isn't it?

  2. Fortunately I graduated with a lot less debt than that. I don't actually love what I do enough to be paying back that much in loans. I think if that had been my reality I would have pursued a different career. I do like being a vet, but it wasn't my life-long calling. Some days I could do without, that's for sure. But lots of days it's good and I make a difference to at least one person and their pet. I've been out almost 8 years now, work 2 part time jobs and do some shelter work. I don't know what my future holds-own a practice, find a new full time job or keep on doing "relief" work but there are lots of options. That's a good thing about this career. Feel free to check out my blog and if you like, add it to your blogroll.

  3. Thanks for posting that. Although I'm well aware of the situation and others outside of the profession may have heard just a little about it until people meet those in the situation it doesn't seem to be a reality. I know this is just an online meeting but it may help some open their eyes to the problem.
    As a business owner I know how hard it is to try to pay someone what they are worth and need and yet still have all the other bills.
    My best to you.

  4. What a huge amount of debt especially considering it didn't include your undergrad. I worked through school too and finished with about $30,000. Education is much less expensive in Canada.

  5. I want to post this in every exam room for every client who comes in and thinks we are all money grubbing SOB's who are rich and intent on becoming richer by bilking them out of cash for "unnecessary" treatments and testing. Most of our clients are better off financially than our vets are. I wish people understood. *sigh

  6. I worked through undergrad as well and am currently in vet school.. I do a live-in internship to pay rent, but that makes study-time difficult (forget personal time).. it's also the first time since I was about 10 I haven't had a paycheck (I started working before it was really legal). It's incredibly hard to not get a paycheck... and to explain to the doctor that, no, I cannot take my asthma inhaler everyday.. because it is simply to expensive to get a new one every month.. I need to save the one I have for emergencies..and breath carefully until I graduate.