TMDSAS Personal Statement Sample
Vet school prompt: The personal essay asks you to describe opportunities and challenges (veterinary-related and non-veterinary-related) you have experienced and how these have helped to prepare you to enter the veterinary profession.
Being a good veterinarian means being more than just an animal lover. Vets need to have a deeper understanding of the relationship between people and animals. Working with animals my entire life has given me plenty of experience when it comes to handling veterinary patients. From a young age, I helped out my parents on the cattle ranch owned by my family in Travis County, learning the ins and outs of animal handling and business management. These early experiences became a natural second education to me, and my passion for the care of animals grew from seeing and caring for them every day.
As I became older and started participating in 4H, caring for animals moved from a family responsibility to a personal responsibility. Raising animals from infancy, being responsible for their well-being, taught me to be compassionate and patient, and to learn ways to communicate with animals who couldn’t speak back to me about what was bothering them. I learned to watch closely and listen first. Even if they couldn’t tell me what was wrong, there were always physical signs I could look for to help inform my decisions and guide me to the right one. I once had a calf I was raising break her leg. Although she tried to hide the limp, I noticed the way she dragged the toe of her hoof right away and knew she wasn’t bearing weight. She was lethargic, and her appetite was gone, both strong signs that she was in pain. After catching her for a quick physical exam, I knew the leg was broken and would need to be splinted. With the vet more than an hour away, I relied on practice and experience to create a homemade splint for the calf out of an old basket and a horse blanket. Helping my parents with the business also taught me to problem solve, be resourceful and be ready for anything. While you can enjoy a certain routine with animal care, there will always be surprises and problems to tackle, and often you have to work with whatever tools and resources you have on hand. Helping my calf with her broken leg taught me that the quick action and temporary splint made more of a difference than waiting for someone else to come in and fix the problem.
My experiences working with people have been more limited, but it has taught me about the human side of veterinary medicine. Working with my parents, I learned the importance of tackling problems together, of open communication and a common goal tending to these animals. Once I started college, I took a job as an ISP technician, which involved interacting directly with clients in their homes to fix problems and meet their needs. It was eye-opening how the habits I’d picked up caring for animals could translate to customer service. Listening, diagnosing problems and trying out solutions for the best fit often led to a positive experience for me and the client, rather than simply asking them to step aside and do what needed to be done. I remember a client who had racked up 5 technician visits trying to improve her internet connection at her home. Previous technicians kept replacing her router, looking for the quick fix, but after listening to her full story, I realized the poor connection wasn’t due to the router malfunctioning but because she had placed the router too close to a concrete wall, impeding her Wi-Fi connection. Just like with my 4H animals, there needed to be collaboration and communication of some kind to reach a solution. I needed to listen to the customer’s issues, offer a potential solution and think outside the box.
I had an opportunity to work more closely with both animals and humans again at the [Name] Vet Clinic in my hometown. With Dr. Z as my supervisor, I was able to learn what skills were needed in veterinary medicine and to watch the kind of problems they faced every day at the clinic. I was asked to assist with a case where a pregnant basset hound was having trouble delivering her puppies. As an emergency surgery, this was an all-hands situation. Being well used to crises like these at the family ranch, I was prepared to help in any way I could. Dr. Z managed to retrieve all 6 newborn puppies, while myself and the clinic staff were able to revive them and keep them warm. The experience reinforced for me how critical it is to have strong communication with the team, and that veterinary medicine is truly a collaborative effort. It affirmed for me that being a vet isn’t just about caring for animals, it’s about being able to work with people, too.
My experiences with both animals and people have shown me that I have the foundation I need to excel in veterinary medicine. It is a unique practice that requires not only skill and empathy, but the ability to work with clients and patients of every species. An appreciation for teamwork is necessary for veterinary medicine, and above all, a care for the well-being of animals. My experiences have given me that appreciation and skillset that will serve me as a future veterinarian.