Today I’m jumping across the country (virtually, anyway) to Fort Collins, Colo., home to the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and to Jessica Carie (2016). Jessie is the president-elect of the student chapter of the AVMA. She also has a special fondness for the wild things in our world.
What drew you to veterinary medicine?
I was drawn to veterinary medicine by my love of trips to the zoo. I always wanted to be the zoo veterinarian growing up and ended up getting to work in wildlife research in Alaska for seven years before going to veterinary school. My interests and focus have evolved some since I was that little girl, but I still have a passion for conservation medicine and research.
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?
Absolutely, students graduating now are facing different challenges that are largely unique to our generation and this era of veterinary medicine.
The economics are difficult, to put it lightly, and students are graduating with much higher debt-to-income ratios than ever seen by our profession. We are also graduating at a time with a lot of competition over jobs. Schools are increasing class size, new veterinary colleges are opening, and the job market is just tough right now.
There is also a different mind set with new grads and older generations. New grads and my generation want a more balanced work-life ratio than many older veterinarians had. They worked really long hours, didn’t get much family time, and prided themselves on being successful by how much they worked. Many new grads want to work more reasonable hours, 40-hour weeks, and still have a busy, vibrant family life.
That being said, everything is not grim. Veterinary medicine is still a wonderful profession, and we are also graduating at a time with endless variety and possibilities to use our veterinary degrees in ways that no one had even thought of 10 or 20 years ago. To prepare for these challenges I am trying to network and build my resume through leadership in ways I hope will help me to stand out from the crowd of applicants when I start applying for jobs as a 4th year.
I also constantly think about what’s most important to me (my values) to make sure that I am giving attention to those things, like my boyfriend, family, and friends, in addition to being a student.
Can you tell us one thing about you that would surprise your future veterinary colleagues?
I pulled a tooth out of an anesthetized polar bear on the Chukchi sea ice in Northwest Alaska.