Introducing Shelby Baden
My name is Shelby and I am a fourth-year veterinary student at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Although I wanted to be a veterinarian for the majority of my life, my path to veterinary school was not typical.
What Led Me to Veterinary School
Right before I graduated from high school, I experienced a major trauma in my family. To make matters worse, our country had just entered a recession. I went back and forth for some time trying to decide what career I wanted to pursue but ended up choosing to major biology with a pre-medical emphasis. It took a lot of work, both personally and professionally, to finally start to make decisions for myself.
After graduating from college, I lived France for a year and worked as an au pair (basically a nanny). Then I moved to California to work in marketing at a dental company. I think that I really needed that time off from studying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. And that realization took time.
I remember driving to work in California. It was a 56-mile commute one way along the Pacific Coast Highway. I saw whales breeching from behind my steering wheel, raptors and other wildlife along my drive. I began to volunteer at a harbor seal rookery and got more involved in animal rescue in the area.
Quickly, I realized I did not want a life spent working behind a desk. Mind you – I still love marketing, but the job not fulfill me the way working with animals did.
I took a huge risk and decided to move back to Georgia to gain experience and apply to veterinary school. My first day working at my local primary care clinic, I had a Great Pyrenees patient. I remember hugging that dog and all of my worries disintegrated as I focused on the job at hand. That was the beginning of my journey in veterinary medicine.
My Time During Veterinary School
Fast forward to my acceptance to veterinary school. The past four years have contained some of the most intense periods of personal and professional growth of my life. My favorite part has been the amazing people I have been through a mutual love of veterinary medicine.
I have created relationships that will last a lifetime, and I have been able to share my passion with so many people through social media. One of my passions is promoting mental health awareness in veterinary medicine through platforms like Instagram and blogging. I have dedicated a significant part of my life to helping others learn how to cope with stress and anxiety through both teaching yoga and writing.
What Brought Me to VEG
When I began looking for a job this summer, I knew that I wanted to work for a company whose values aligned with my own. Initially, VEG interested me due to their emphasis on mental health. This was most evident through their various initiatives such as their scholarship program for fourth year veterinary students and their outreach programs.
When I started visiting different VEG hospitals, I came to realize that every single VEG employee I met told me how happy they were. This summer, I met Laura de Armas, VEG’s first scholarship winner. I immediately felt like she was someone who would be a lifelong friend, and someone whose values aligned with my own. This has been a constant trend among all of VEG’s employees that I have met.
When I Start VEG’s EET Program
I start Early Entry Track (EET) in July of 2021, and I am expecting to work harder than I have ever worked. The truth is that I think I will grow more during my first six months of EET than in my entire four years of veterinary school.
Emergency is a fast-paced environment, and many of the skills I have acquired through clinics will constantly be put to the test. But I am ready. I know that I have developed a sense of resiliency over the course of my life that thrives in a fast-paced environment. The bonus of EET is guaranteed mentorship to give us a step ahead in emergency medicine.
We are supported during our initial months as a veterinarian, and this mentorship is something that I actively sought when looking for my first veterinary job. I could not be happier about my decision to join VEG and participate in EET.
If you are interested in this program, or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me on social media (@traveling_dogtor) or through email ([email protected]). Good luck!
VEG is a network of Emergency Veterinarians located across the country. We are dedicated to helping people and their pets when they need it most. If your pet is ever in an emergency situation, use the link below to find our nearest location so we can get your pet the help they need.