While working to train the world’s up-and-coming veterinary technology students, I realized that it has been a long time since I was in their place. For the seasoned technicians reading this, remember when you first started, either as an RVT or as an assistant training up? Although my students will receive associate’s degrees and have their credentials, school does not equate to experience; they will be competing against seasoned technicians and assistants for jobs in this tough economy.
I interviewed Mimi Riddering, one of my students, to talk about her struggles and challenges. Mimi will remind us all of what it was like when our hands shook as we placed our first catheters, when our dosages were double-checked (and should still be!), and when we were afraid to record a fecal analysis as “negative” or “no parasites found” for fear that the patient had invisible giardiasis.
What was your main challenge entering a vet tech program?
I am an older student who chose to change careers. My main challenge was figuring out how to afford the time and money to pursue a new career path, but my support system helped immensely.
What has been your biggest struggle during your vet tech program?
The program is accelerated, so it has taken a lot of commitment to keep school as my priority and to balance the needs of the rest of my world with that commitment.
What will be your main challenge exiting the vet tech program?
It is hard to define, but there will be several. Entering a career where many in the field have experience that I do not have, even though I will have a degree and a vast amount of “book knowledge,” is intimidating. Also, our economy is of great concern because I know the veterinary field has been impacted by the recession. Will my personality, degree, and enthusiasm be enough to land me a position that will pay a comfortable salary? I don’t know, but I have hope.
Do you believe you have grown professionally and/or personally in your program?
Absolutely, I have grown. It is a gift to be able to pursue something I am interested in and absorb all of the information being offered. I have been able to use what I am learning to expand my knowledge of animals and to offer that knowledge to the world. This has been pivotal in developing professionally. Personally, taking a risk and going back to school has been challenging and has forced me to evaluate what is and isn’t important. And I have discovered a sense of pride in small victories.