From her first job working as a lodging caretaker to becoming a small and large animal veterinary assistant at Deepwood Veterinary Clinic, 10th semester Rossie, Lauren Woodworth knew veterinary medicine was the only career path worth pursuing.
“I have dreamed of becoming a veterinarian for as long as I can remember. My passion for animals began when I was ten years old and I had the opportunity to shadow a large animal vet for a day. I was so excited to have this experience that I didn’t mind getting up at 6 AM! The day was full of appointments and even some emergencies. I was especially surprised when I was able to help with an equine dental exam. Although various appointments and emergencies lasted 16 hours that day, I was completely happy to be there. In fact, there is no doubt that I fell in love with veterinary medicine that day!”
After high school, Lauren attended Penn State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. She continued to pursue veterinary certifications that would increase her professional development. During this time, she also applied to Ross Vet and when she received her acceptance letter, she was so excited, she began packing her bags immediately!
“Ross Vet was definitely the right fit for me for many reasons. The school has a diverse community with professors, clinicians, and students from all over the world. This combined perfectly with my love for travel, meeting new people, and learning new practices. Ross Vet allowed me to experience life in St. Kitts and Nevis and gain my “island family”. The school offers lots of hands-on experience through classes, clubs, and research. Clubs offered a variety of experiences around the island and being a research assistant allowed me to participate in multiple research projects.”
Now in her clinical year at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Lauren continues to enjoy being surrounded by a diverse community that has helped her to adjust to all the changes.
“My clinical year has been awesome and surreal, but COVID-19 has dampened some of my experiences so far. Regardless, attending The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and being back on campus has been amazing. I am gaining a lot of experience with a variety of animals. The clinicians have taught me how to be more confident with my knowledge and skills. When I am not at R(D)SVS. I have been exploring Scotland as much as possible. I have been hiking, visiting castles, and learning about the history of Scotland. Being able to travel and learn in a new country has been exciting and rewarding.”
Lauren’s biggest surprise living and studying abroad is loving Haggis, the national dish of Scotland.
“I never thought I would say that, but it is surprisingly good. My favorite thing is trying new food, so I have been enjoying all the Scottish cuisine including fish and chips. I love exploring and learning about Scotland while seeing all the beautiful views.”
Of all her great experiences during her time in Scotland, there is one case that Lauren is most proud of. “One day, a dog came into the clinic unable to walk. I was involved with the consultation, decision making, and then assisting in surgery and recovery. It felt so rewarding to see the dog walking again and to know that I was part of the solution. This was one of many experiences during my clinical year that solidified my passion for veterinary medicine.”
Perfectly Prepared for the Future
“The challenges of veterinary school are already hard enough, but my journey had a few extra adventures. There were two category five hurricanes during my time at Ross Vet and now I am experiencing COVID-19 during my clinical year. These obstacles made me stronger and more resilient. My family and friends have helped me stay positive and maintain my mental health during this program. Also, I have found time to read, go on walks, call my friends/family, have date nights with my husband, and explore Scotland as much as I can. Enjoying my free time really improves my positivity and mental health.”
Lauren has her heart set on working as a mixed animal veterinarian. She also plans to continue conducting research and ultimately opening her own veterinary clinic.