Whew! I just got back early last week from a vacation in the Caribbean where I was stung by a jellyfish while diving (bad), and given a tour of the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (good). (You can see pictures from my Ross visit on my Facebook page, and thanks to Associate Dean Dr. Guy St. Jean for the tour.)
I’m still in a veterinary student state of mind, which is why I’m happy to have another feature on one our next generation of veterinarians. This time it’s Miranda de la Vega of the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine (Class of 2017). She’s president of Oregon State VBMA chapter, and make sure you read to the end for her surprising disclosure — wow!
What drew you to veterinary medicine?
I wasn’t one of those kids who always knew what she wanted to do. It was really by chance that I happened upon an amazing pre-veterinary program at the community college down the street from me. At the beginning, I had a very shortsighted view of the profession. I mean, who wouldn’t want to surround themselves with dogs and cats all day? Yet as I learned more, I realized that veterinary medicine offers so much variability and flexibility, not only in what kind of work you can do but also in your everyday practice. I wanted a career that would be stimulating and challenging, and I found both of those things and more in veterinary medicine.
Do you think new veterinarians will face different challenges than in previous generations and if so, what are you doing now to meet those challenges?
A lot of students dread the debt that will follow us when we graduate. Surely this will be a huge challenge to overcome, but I like to look on the brighter side of things. For instance, by the time I graduate, more and more Baby Boomers will be retiring. With this comes an increased spending on pets as Baby Boomers look to fill their empty nests with a companion animal (or several), and the numbers look promising. There’s an estimated $60.59 billion to be spent in 2015 in the U.S. pet industry with $15.73 billion of that total going towards veterinary care, and that figure is predicted to keep rising as the economy recovers and people spend more on their pets. As a new graduate, I see this as an opportunity to educate these potential clients about the importance of veterinary care. Some of the challenges will be to utilize new methods of marketing like social media and to personalize our health care using things like specific wellness plans for diabetic cats or hypothyroid dogs.
Can you tell us one thing about you that would surprise your future veterinary colleagues?
I will be 22 years old when I graduate veterinary school.