Reconsidering the Pre-Vet Track

When people hear you want to work with animals, most reply with “so you want to be a vet?”  Somehow we have been led to believe that becoming a veterinarian is the only way to work with animals as a professional. As I write this entry, I can sit back and be glad that I never hit that “send” button on my vet school application. What I am doing now is much better suited to my personality, learning style, and interests than veterinary medicine ever could be. I am a graduate student at Purdue University in Animal Behavior and Welfare, and I’m loving every minute of it!

Sunrise at the Pig Farm
Sunrise at the Pig Farm

Graduate School is a pleasant change from undergrad when it comes to classes. Undergrad classes, especially those in the sciences, have a tendency for dependence on rogue memorization and learning facts. While that may be necessary when developing knowledge on a certain topic, it was not my favorite way to learn. I prefer the analytical style of graduate school classes. I am no longer simply learning information, but analyzing what things mean and how research findings can be applied in theory and principle. For the most part, this also means less homework and tests, and more of a focus on understanding and analysis.

I also prefer the way time is split in graduate school compared to undergrad. When I applied to Purdue, I was lucky enough to get a research assistantship, meaning I spend half of my time in class and the other half doing research. In undergrad I had to spend most of my time studying, and on an awkward schedule around when I had other classes. Now, because I spend half of my time in research, I only have to take 2 classes per semester. Not only does this Continue reading

10 Tips to Improve Your Graduate School Application

Dustin standing by Koons Hall, home to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program he will attend starting this summer.
Dustin standing by Koons Hall, home to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program he will attend starting this summer.

Let’s face it…filling out an application to get into graduate school feels like high school all over again. Will I get in? What if I don’t get in? Should I fix my essay? Are my grades good enough?

After going through the entire application process, I’ve decided to highlight the most important parts of the application. My goal is to help every UConn CAHNR student looking into graduate school to use these ten tips to have a stand-out application. There is also an extended version for anyone interested in a particular topic! I used these tips in my graduate school application and it led to my acceptance into UConn’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.


  1. Boost your GPA

My tips: Research the average GPA for accepted students at the graduate programs you are thinking about applying to in the future. If you are worried about your GPA, put the effort in to improve the rest of your application (including ALL the parts of this Top 10 list). And remember, be confident…you are at UConn because you are smart enough and worked hard to get here!


  1. Search for Relevant Work Experience

My tips: Find a job that incorporates your future career. Continue reading

We Run for Fun

Endurance members on the Rocky steps after completing the Philadelphia Full and Half Marathons in 2011.
Endurance members on the Rocky steps after completing the Philadelphia Full and Half Marathons in 2011.

Going into college I thought that the most important decisions to make would surround research opportunities, internships, grades, and anything else that would allow my resume to shine next to any other recent graduate. Now as senior, I realize that joining UConn Endurance was the best decision I made in college, and will be the thing I miss the most upon graduating. UConn Endurance is a non-competitive running club on campus. Yes, we run far (mostly half and full marathons – that’s 13.1 and 26.2 miles respectively), but the club is really all about making friends from running and raising money for charity in the process. And boy did I make friends. Through UConn Endurance Continue reading

Taking the Next Step: Life after UConn

It is the spring semester, and you may have begun to notice a common trend. Seniors across campus are beginning to talk about

Flickr: Barbara Mazz
Flickr: Barbara Mazz

what their plans are when the unthinkable moment comes to leave this place after graduation. For most, this is an exciting period that comes with a sigh of relief after years of stress, but others surely sense the bittersweet note that comes with it. As a senior myself, I believe I’m somewhere in between.

This also means that it is time for juniors and those forward-thinking underclassmen to begin looking towards their future. Sometimes it is difficult to know when the right time is to take the first step in your applications, whether they be for graduate schools or jobs. My aim is to show you how important it is to start early and get ahead on the next chapter of your life with these essential tips: Continue reading

Am I Doing This Whole College Thing the “Right” Way?

Throughout my college career, I have struggled with doing what I’m expected to do, but also doing what fulfills me. For my first three years of college, I did exactly what people told me to do—I spent hours in the library and became really involved on campus. Yet amidst this busyness of trying to do what I thought was right, I found myself unhappy and empty. My grades took away little pieces of me, and I began to question just how far a perfect GPA could take me when I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I’m a senior now and am finally realizing what true satisfaction looks like in my life. Here are three things I have learned along the way and wish someone had told me before starting college.

Relaxing, Kelly Teague
Flickr: Kelly Teague

First, there is true value in rest. It is so common for us to lose ourselves in all that we do. Let’s face it— the world is competitive. It can be scary thinking about what others may be doing to get ahead that you aren’t. And while it’s important to be involved and work hard in classes, our worth does not lie in our busyness. I repeat: our worth is not measured by how much we do or how perfect our GPA is. So, I am giving you permission to rest, to go to bed early, to take a few extra minutes in the morning to sip your coffee. As a senior, I have reached the land of the burnt-out, and it’s not the prettiest place. All I want is to not be busy. So before you reach the burnout zone, take a break from the busyness and know that you will still be successful and achieve your goals by setting aside time for yourself.

The second thing I wish I had known coming into college is Continue reading