I Already Volunteer...But How Can I Do More?

QUESTION:

How did you get experience before applying to Cornell? I've been volunteering at an animal shelter but I'm the only minority and I don't feel welcome by most of the people there. We have a lot of animal hospitals, so do I just ask if I could shadow a veterinarian?

 

ANSWER:

I highly recommend going to an animal hospital and asking to shadow a veterinarian. Most vets are going to be happy to tutor and mentor another future vet. How did I go about doing it? One day I was passing by an animal clinic close to my house and asked my dad to stop the car while I copied the number on the building's sign. I called the number and asked to speak to the doctor. Then I asked if I could come and volunteer to gain some experience. The doctor asked when I could start and I replied "Today if you want." He laughed and said, "See you tomorrow morning." I gained some additional experience at a different vet clinic via introduction. One of my professors in undergrad knew I wanted to go to vet school so he drove me to a clinic and introduced me to the vet. It was up to me to be proactive and follow-up. So if you have a church member or relative who already has a relationship with some vets, then ask them to introduce you to them.

All in all, the worst anyone can say is no...so go for it. When you do encounter a vet that wants to work with you, take advantage of the opportunity. Be consistent, be attentive, and be enthusiastic about learning as much as you can.

 

-- Dr. G