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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think this is the right forum in which to post this. I am almost 29 years old and could never quite figure out what to do with my life. So far, I haven't even finished my bachelors and will be taking a couple classes toward my biology degree in the spring semester. (I last attended college in 1998.) I figure, since economically I have to work full time, it will take at least 2 years to finish my undergrad, and that is best case scenario while taking classes during the summer in addition to the "regular" semesters. Then I think I would like to go on to veterinary school which I know is very intense. (Becoming a vet was always my childhood dream, and I keep circling back to it after dabbling in just about everything else!
) The problem is I am almost 29 years old! Is it too late for me when it comes to trying to balance starting a family and going to school? How in the world do I fit it all in? Ideally, we'd like to have four children (biological or othewise) and so far we don't even have one!
Anyone ever gone to veterinary school in tandem with mothering babies/small children? Anyone ever got a late start with school, career, AND family? I would appreciate any advice or suggestions or reality checks. TIA!
 

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I don't have any experience trying to go to veterinary school while being a mom, but I do know that both are very intense (used to work at a vet clinic as a tech for 6 years). I would worry that it would be hard...that you wouldn't be able to give fully to either. Being a mom can be intense in both a joyful way and difficult way. YOu also don't know ahead of time what temperaments your children will have--some are easy, some are also quite difficult. Can you talk to some folks in vet school and find out what that would be like? From what I have heard about vet school it is hard for me to imagine doing both, but things could have changed since I was in that "world." I know women who work on their Ph.D's while having kids, but the only way I've heard of it working is for fairly academic careers, as opposed to the 'hands on' of vet medicine.

I know I'm not being very helpful!! I wish you luck in your decision.
 

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What a tough decision!! I recently decided to go back to school for nursing. I may have considered trying for MD but just don't think I could ever do it with a child. Right now I'm working PT and taking 2 classes at night. It's tough but doable. Some days I wonder what I'm thinking, already having a job that pays much better than nursing. But doing what I love is so important. If I didn't have to work, I'd be willing to not go back to school. But since I'm going to have to work for the rest of my life, I need to do something that I'm passionate about. I think you should seriously consider doing it.
 

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I ahve been thinking alot about htis as well. I am currently a fulltime student doing undergrad classes and hopefully i will apply to vet school when i get my bio degree. I hav been thinking about when i will have my other kids (i have a 19 month old right now) and i am scared that i will either go to school and not have any more kids or have more kids and not go to vet school. I have been able to be home most of the time with dd and i would not like to leave other kids at a daycare all day and then ahve to go home and study/cook/etc and not give them all my attention. i have no suggestoins really, since i am struggling with simlar issues. I hope you figure things out. And I really do suggest that you call and find out what vet school is like, how many hours you have to put in daily, over the weekends etc that is what i'm going to do. hopefully then yo ucan decide either way. good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Obviously, there are no easy solutions.

boricuaqueen327, we should keep in touch so we can share what we are figuring out about all of this. PM me any time. I actually have a cousin (he is quite a bit older than me, so we aren't really close or anything) who is a veterinarian in Wisconsin. I am going to be emailing him to find out what he has to say. And the wife of one of dh's past coworkers is a veterinarian also. I plan on contacting her for input, too. Her perspective might be the most valuable since she finished vet school just a couple years ago and she is a woman and potential mother.

ladybugsea, I can totally relate about choosing what you love since you are going to have to work your whole life anyway. dh and I have tried to come up with a plan where I can be a stay at home mom, but I just don't think it is going to work. Frankly, the main reason I haven't finished school yet is because I wasn't comfortable taking on school loans only to hope to find a way to stay at home for 5+ years. I thought I would just work on finishing school a class or so at a time in tandem with having babies. But I think dh and I have to face facts that we are both going to have to be working parents to make ends meet and not live paycheck to paycheck. If that is how it's going to be, I don't want to have to tear myself away from my kids every morning and drag my a$$ to a job that I don't really find fulfilling. I hope that makes sense. I better be doing what I really want to be doing if I can't stay at home, you know?

lauren, any input is helpful! Thank you so much for just taking the time to respond to my post. The intensity you mentioned is just the thing that I am concerned about. I have trouble maintaining balance in my life as it is and sometimes feel like I'm going crazy because I feel so responsible for EVERYTHING in my life with dh and our furbabies and my aging parents and my suffocating deskjob and my extended family and my in-laws and my volunteer work and our messy apartment and my own personal interests ---- and I haven't even added school into the mix yet! If I can barely handle all that, could I really be a parent and go to vet school? But do I allow "feeling frazzled" keep me from pursuing the careers I really want in life? I guess I just have to take it one class at a time right now, right? And one baby at a time for that matter!


Thanks again, mamas! Your responses mean a lot to me!
 

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Hi! I started veterinary school 6 weeks after the birth of my daughter and got through just fine. There were students in my class that were having their second children in 2nd and 3rd year, and even a resident that was having her first baby right in the middle of her residency! Everybody managed and I'm sure you can too if it is what you really want. Getting through is not nearly as intensive as getting in (which requires an average in the high 80s or low 90s, as you probably already know), but there is a huge time commitment. In retrospect I probably would have chosen to put school off for one to two years, but hindsight is always 20/20 isn't it?

One thing I would counsel is not to romanticize veterinary medicine, especially in terms of childhood dreams, as the reality is very different - you need to be prepared for biting animals and nasty clients and long hours with low, low pay. And don't even get me started on being on call by yourself at all hours...

HTH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice from the perspective of first-hand experience. It's appreciated. I don't think I am romanticizing anything, though. I have never been a rose-colored glasses kind of person, and I am certainly too old for that now. The fact that I am struggling with trying to figure out not only when to start our family but how to be a "very present" parent and also pursue my education and a career (and I haven't even addressed the issue of finances) must indicate that I am not living in a world of ideals. *SIGH*

Pragmatically speaking, how did you balance vet school and kids? A stay at home partner or spouse? Nanny? Day care? Fewer classes each quarter, but more years of school? Living with family? Did you have to move? What about your partner/spouse's job or education if moving was necessary? Did you feel like you could give your children enough focus? (And I could ask that one a thousand times over.)
 

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Hi, you've got a million questions! It's a hard decision to make, but I know many people who have made it work. I would suggest having most of your kids before vet school, because not only are you going to school F/T (8-5 five days a week), you are also studying nights and weekends and will need kid-free time then as well. I found undergrad to be a lot easier and more flexible - you can take a term off if you need to, but no dice in vet school. I would also suggest that you get PG early enough that you can go through the first trimester being sick somewhere other than class! I was PG with my first for my last quarter of undergrad and it was really hard. But then I was fine and I wish I had thought ahead and planned it a little better.

My DH stays home with our girls and my mom is 5 mins away, so I'm really lucky. Honestly, I'm not sure I would have done it without them - but everyone is different and is comfortable with different things. As for fewer hours and longer school, that won't really work in vet school, at least not for your first year. You would need to establish yourself first before attempting to ask to go part time, although I have (recently) heard that it can be done. We had already moved to a town that had a vet school and that made it so much easier - many of my classmates commute everyday and it is really rough, especially for those with kids.

My kids are 5 and almost 3, so they are doing pretty well. My 3YO is having a little harder time that my 5YO, but she has always been a little more attached to me than to my DH. But she's doing well and will be doing even better once we get her into a little preschool situation, I think. I do feel like I have enough focus for them, but it will always be a struggle. Kids are resilient as long as they have two loving parents.

As for having a little baby in vet school, I don't know! Ask me in September!
I was very surprised to find that I am PG and the babe will be only 6 weeks when I start my soph year. We're still not sure how things will work, but I'm trying to stay positive about it.

Good luck! And let me know if you have any other questions!
 
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