We’re back! I’ll have some news, and in the coming months we’ll be making some changes here to better serve the veterinary community. What won’t change is our commitment to veterinary students, and with that, our first featured student of the new academic year! Chosen by Nationwide field veterinarian Dr. Tonya Sparks, meet Emily Spengler, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, class of 2022.
Will you please hare something unexpected you learned on your path into to veterinary medicine?
Like many veterinary students, I didn’t have the easiest time getting into a professional program. In our social media culture, there is a tendency to focus only on our achievements. We forget that a lot of the time there are many “no’s” that come first, and I’d argue that we don’t talk about those enough.
There were several doors that slammed in my face before I got to where I am today. Those doors led to some of the best times of my life and sparked my interest in areas of veterinary medicine I didn’t even know were options.
We all know that a career in veterinary medicine is certainly never easy, and I am grateful to have experienced some “failures” turned “opportunity” early in my career. This perspective has made me more open to the possibility of failure and has given me confidence in my ability to handle adversity.
What is your vision for the future of veterinary medicine and how does it influence the way you’re preparing?
As medical knowledge continues to expand, there is more opportunity (and more pressure) for new veterinarians to specialize. My main fear for the future of veterinary medicine is that schools are producing a lot of young veterinarians with tons of knowledge but lacking in soft skills.
For example, most of us will graduate without knowing how to market ourselves, engage well with our clients, or even run a practice. These are things that should be easier for us as our interests are more unique and specific to different customer segments than they have been in the past. While the curriculum at many schools falls short of this goal, there are so many amazing opportunities in various internship programs and clubs where students can learn and practice these skills outside of the classroom.
While I am interested in equine medicine, I have been intentional in not just limiting myself to horse-related activities. I have taken advantage of unique opportunities within the Veterinary Business Management Association and summer internship programs like the Veterinary Entrepreneurship Academy. Through these programs, veterinary students are able to work directly with innovative animal health companies so they can see the millions of ways to reach clients in action.
My school’s curriculum will definitely give me the knowledge and skills I’ll need to become a competent practitioner but these extra opportunities will mold me into a person who is more relatable, creative, and well-rounded as well.
Can you tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise your veterinary colleagues?
To be perfectly honest, I had to poll a few close friends to come up with an answer to this question! I have a very laid-back demeanor and can be pretty reserved, especially in large group settings. People who know me from a distance think these traits transfer to my personal life, but that’s not quite who I am. I’m still a very easy-going person, but people are surprised to learn that I am more outgoing than they expect.
It is important to me for people to enjoy the small moments in life, so I really do make an effort to put a smile on the faces of those around me.
That answer made us smile, Emily! Thank you for participating!