Abigail Finley, '12

Life as a Vet 

 What did you do to prepare for vet school?

I worked in an animal clinic in high school and all throughout undergrad. I tried to shadow the vets during appointments, surgeries, and farm calls whenever I could. I also volunteered with a hippotherapist to gain more experience with horses and I volunteered at the SPCA. I was a biology major at Ithaca and took appropriate electives to enhance knowledge for vet school including animal physiology, parasitology, and microbiology. I was involved with research and was also involved with the pre-vet society. 

 Describe your day-to-day life in vet school?

I went to Ontario Veterinary College and my schedule was different every day and included various classes, labs, surgery, and clinical skill classes. Some days were longer than others and I occasionally had days off during the week. I was involved in parasitology, pathology, small animal, and zoo, exotic, and wildlife clubs and participated in the wet labs and educational field trips. I studied most days and usually on the weekends. During the summers, I was involved with different research projects at the university. I still managed to have fun and played rugby and roller derby and hung out with my friends. 

Describe your day-to-day life as a vet?

I’m currently in a residency program for anatomic pathology. Again, my schedule is different every day and includes necropsies, histopathology, biopsies, rounds, journal club, research, teaching, and labs, and I study in my free time. I typically work 8am-5pm, but I sometimes come in early or stay late and occasionally come in on the weekends. I’m on call on the weekends once a month for any emergency necropsies. 

Is there anything that you wish you would have known before entering vet school?

Vet school is very expensive and I wish I knew more about student loan repayment options including joining the army or working in a government agency. I also wished I knew more about internships and residencies. I didn’t know anything about them or how they worked until I was in vet school. Before going to vet school, I knew I didn’t want to work in a private practice, but I knew I like diagnostics, parasitology, and lab work. I wish I knew more about various careers you could pursue with a DVM degree. 

Is there anything that you’d go back and do differently?

The only thing I would do differently in vet school would to have been more involved in pathology and go to annual pathology conferences and network. It was hard to find the time and money, but I believe it would have definitely helped me in my current position.