In my quest to find out if college is worth the effort, I interviewed my friend, Bell, about her pursuit of a college education and plans after she earns her Bachelors degree. Bell is a senior at UC Davis pursuing a degree in Animal Science.
Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
Favorite Color: Light blue/black/white
Dream Job: Veterinarian!
Favorite Animal: Elephant/white tiger
1. What were your top college picks & why?
It was UC Davis, University of Illinois. University of Illinois has a vet school and I already knew from high school that I wanted to go to vet school. I was like, which one is the best and I went to the US ranking and went down from there. I wanted to go somewhere else that is not California, so I was like, University of Illinois might be a great fit. Plus I’d heard it was a good school. Also, they have good livestock.
2. Why did you choose UC Davis?
I chose UC Davis also because of the animal program. I heard that they had good animal experience programs. My high school counselor told me I wasn’t going to get in. She just told me straight up, ‘no you’re not going to get in’. She said ‘You’re SAT score is not high enough for UC Davis. You’re never going to get in’ and then I cried. I was so sad and I cried.
3. When you applied to UC Davis, did you think you’d get in?
4. What did you do in high school to prepare for college?
I didn’t prepare anything.
5. What drew you to your current career goal or field instead of others?
At first I wanted to be a human doctor. I love science, medicine, physiology and all that. At the time, my parents were wanting me to be a doctor because in Thailand it is a good job and people respect you. One day I started to [realize] I don’t see myself being a doctor. I came to the U.S. because my mom thought I wanted to be a doctor. When I was in high school I just interacted more with animals and my sister suggested [I] look into being a vet. I had never thought about that. So I said I would give it a try. I started contacting veterinarians in Thailand to see if they wanted to let me do some work for them. I got a volunteer job and it all started from there. After I started volunteering there for a while I started seeing that I wanted to do this more and more. In college I tried to confirm that I didn’t want to be a doctor by doing an emergency medicine internship at the UC Davis Medical Center. It was a horrible two months. It was a 2 quarter commitment, so I couldn’t quit. I look forward to [doing veterinary stuff] and know that I really like doing this stuff.
6. How important is happiness in your future career?
A lot. I don’t have any troubles about money, so maybe that’s why I prefer happiness more than money. I know vets don’t make a lot. In Thailand they make a normal office worker salary. It’s super low. You can’t have savings or anything. It’s that bad, but I still want to do it . It’s more for my happiness.
7. What do you expect to get out of college?
I expect it to prepare me for vet school, so give me a lot of animal experience. Actually it didn’t give me animal experience, I had to find it. It just provided me the resources. I also expect some basic knowledge about science and physiology that I have to know in order to live life and work in a professional school.
8. Before you started college, what was your vision of life after attaining a college degree and how has that vision changed?
I guess it’s more realistic now, in that I can see what exactly I want to do. Before I was like ‘Oh yeah I’m going to be a vet. I’m going to stay in Thailand and that’s it’. That’s life. Now it’s more like there are other options, I can do shelter [medicine]. I can stay in America and help out with the community. I know more options abut what I’m going to do. There are so many visions that I have for myself, but for now if I were to be a vet I can see myself working in a local clinic or mobile clinic and then also, maybe on weekends helping out at the shelter or things like that. I also want to travel with vets to underdeveloped countries where they go and help. That’s a cool thing to do.
9. What is the greatest challenge that you’ve faced in your efforts to gain an education?
Trying to get A’s. The schoolwork. Internships and research was very hard to find. You have to face a lot of rejection and people who are not nice to you and look down on you. It’s a challenge because you really need vet hours, but the technician may piss you off, but you can’t quit. It’s like one of those challenges. I worked at a vet office and the vet and I didn’t fit. Maybe I was too shy and she wanted more of a talkative person. They were very rude to me and they said “You need to learn faster,” but I only went there 4 times in a month. It was like do I learn slow or do you not have time to teach me? So it’s more like well who are you going to blame. I’m not going to blame them.
10. If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Study harder. Don’t play a lot of online games. I used to be addicted to online games. I was a hardcore gamer.
11. Has your pursuit of a higher education been worth it?
Yep. It’s worth it.
12. Do you think you would have been better off just getting a job or skipping college altogether?
No, I feel college is an experience that you can’t really skip. If you really need the money, then you can skip college. I feel it’s an experience that you should not just skip. Plus you can get connections from college, like professors. Those professors are awesome. You learn so much more than if you just stop at high school and go work right away. I feel like those people are smart, but once you go to college, it exposes you to so many things and different kinds of people and you will be better off coping with different kinds of people. Like in your work setting and things like that.
13. Are you optimistic about finding a job after college?
No! No! Hell no! I know it’s very difficult and I’ve heard a lot of bad stories about people getting kicked out of companies because of the economy. So I’m not positive at all.
As always, I hope you all enjoyed this interview and gained something from it. Stay tuned for my next interview!
I’ll keep you posted.