While I don’t make all our veterinary school visits myself — Dr. Kristi Yee does some, and we’d started webcasting for others — I have to admit that I always like to save the visit to the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine for myself.
Yes, it’s where I earned my DVM. And yes, I love the town. I can’t help but remember stopping traffic while walking my Dobie and Greyhounds down the tree-lined streets. And of course, my time in veterinary school seems more exciting and less stressful as the years paint so many memories with a rosy hue.
I’m still very connected to the school and to my classmates, and proud of the work I’ve done on behalf of the institution, including helping to fund-raise for the building in which I lectured! I also enjoy seeing the Chiluly Chandelier on display, since I enjoyed seeing it when I was working at the ALZA Corp., which later donated it to the SVM!
But as always, my biggest pleasure is meeting veterinary students, no matter where I may find them. I enjoyed lecturing at UCD, even — or should that be especially — with Dr. Paul Pion of VIN in the audience (he gave me a personal tour afterward — thanks, Paul!). Tricia Nguyen (Class of 2019) of the UCD chapter of the VBMA was a gracious host, and I decided to make hers the penultimate student profile of this academic year.
Take it away, Tricia!
What drew you to veterinary medicine?
I find fulfillment in knowing that I can improve lives, whether they are of the human or non-human species. Veterinary medicine gives me the best of both worlds, which drew me to the profession.
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?
Student debt is proving to be a rising challenge for new graduates. With tuition hikes—for both undergraduate and graduate school education— and inflation rates, it is becoming increasingly difficult to pay off loans within the standard 10 years.
Veterinarians can potentially pay 2-3 times more than the amount they borrowed because of interest capitalization. Certainly, there is taxable loan forgiveness, but some may have to take out another loan if they don’t have the cash flow to pay it! To top it off, a veterinarian’s salary is typically lower than that of a human doctor. How are we supposed to maintain a healthy work-life balance with all of this debt?
Don’t let me get started on the wellness issue in the profession.
As president-elect of the UCD VBMA chapter, I help plan speaker series designed to educate the student body about managing personal finances. They are quite popular, since our past speakers don’t seem to have enough time to answer everyone’s questions! In the upcoming fall semester, we will partner with VIN co-founder Dr. Paul Pion and launch our debt information series.
Can you tell us one thing about you that would surprise your future veterinary colleagues?
Until my sophomore year of college, I wanted to pursue a career in pediatric medicine. I love children, but ultimately felt that veterinary medicine could give me the best of both worlds—human and non-human. People say that working with animals is similar to working with children, and I would have to agree!