Leadership in Veterinary School

July 2019

Throughout undergraduate school, I never joined a single student organization and honestly, did not understand the point of them until my first semester of veterinary school. Instead I had prioritized clinical experience and studying to be able to get accepted into veterinary school. NEWS FLASH, the competition is over! So take a breather and make the time to develop yourself as a leader.

If you don’t know, during the first month of school, all of your lunch breaks will be booked up with club introduction meetings to recruit members. After the intro meetings, I was hooked and joined several clubs first year to be able to attend Lunch & Learn meetings and participate in hands-on wetlabs.

I decided to take an additional step, though, and applied to be on the executive team for the chapter Veterinary Business Management Association. Since that first step, I have continued to be very involved in several student organizations, locally and nationally. This is something I highly recommend veterinary students look into even though it seems like you’re already overwhelmed with classes, I promise, you can do it!

There are many benefits I have noticed from my experience as a student leader, such as the one-on-one contact with local and national speakers in the veterinary industry, and often being sponsored to attend conventions to network with other leaders in the industry. None of those can top the personal development that you gain from the day-to-day work in these roles, though.

You will be developing your technical skills throughout your entire career. Your first job after graduation doesn’t expect you to instantly be confident in performing hindlimb amputations, diagnostic ultrasounds or bovine cesarean sections. BUT they will expect you to communicate efficiently with the team, express empathy to clients, and resolve conflicts as they arise. Those are the skills that MUST be mastered to be successful in your career as a veterinarian.