POLY GRAD: THUMBS DOWN TO TEMASEK POLYTECHNIC

2 Solid Thumbs Down For a Diploma in Veterinary Technology

After completing 3 years of tertiary education, I graduated with a diploma in veterinary technology – and it is useless.

Lack of stellar grades
Without fantastic grades, I can’t get a scholarship to further my studies in the veterinary industry. Without them, there is no reason why I should continue anyway. Passion for the job is necessary, but it can’t take me all the way.

Let me put it this way: if I had good grades and I feel strongly for being a vet, I’m sure that my parents will find a way to support me going to vet school, regardless about the money issue. Passion? Check. Grades? Nope. So how can I even ask for them to finance me for vet school when I may not graduate with good grades (or even graduate at all)?

As veterinary technology is too specific, it is difficult to find universities that accept students that have the diploma and also offer exemption for certain subjects. It was hard to maintain a good GPA as well, so even if I want to switch a different industry, which local university will take me in?

The F word
Financing someone through vet school is no easy task, especially for those belonging to a middle income family. If you’re rich, (what the hell) just go ahead and go to vet school already. In Australia, vet school costs at least AUS$47,000 a year and the course of study is at least 5 years. As I’m a local in a country that have no universities offering a degree in vet science (or any vet-related courses for that matter), I would have to travel overseas to pursue a vet degree and thus, have the added burden of accommodation and other living expenses due to living away from my family.

Try out for a different course of study? With the contributing factor of my lack of good grades, I would still have to pursue an overseas degree.

Limitations
With a diploma in veterinary technology, I can actually start working immediately – as a veterinary technician (vet nurse), technical officer, in AVA….. what else? With this diploma, I can only be a vet nurse for the rest of my life and never have the opportunity to advance on to become a vet because of the lack of a vet degree.

Switch industry? What can I switch to, then?

Redundancy
I do not require this diploma to become a vet tech. With just my O Level qualifications, I can receive training at a vet clinic and become a vet tech. Therefore, this further proves my point on how useless and unnecessary this diploma is.

Course structure
Now, I’m saying specifically about Temasek Polytechnic (TP)’s Vet Tech course. Despite TP being the first local school to offer a vet-related diploma/study, the school is still making relatively big alterations to the course structure for improvements – we are all guinea pigs!

I can’t even begin to say how mind-numbingly stupid and ridiculous it was to study repeated subjects throughout my 6 semesters with TP. Studying and being tested on the exact same information, that was truly a waste of time. Of course, no one could be exempted because that was how the school had planned for it to be.

Introduction to clinic or hospital work should have been done much earlier into the course instead of exposing vet tech students only in the fourth semester. There was an extremely heavy emphasis on laboratory work in the second and third semester, which became forgotten knowledge soon after.

The great lecturers that taught me practical knowledge for realistic purposes were eventually chased away by the school. They were the ones who prepared me for my five month long internship at a vet hospital. I knew what were the skills and knowledge I needed to be armed with and the irrelevant crap that will not benefit me at all for my internship.

Cost & worth
Approximately half a million australian dollars and six years of vet school (give or take a few) later, you get a degree that allows you to practice as a vet. But is it really worth it? You don’t earn a lot as an average vet. I understand that most people have the misconception that vets earn as much as human doctors, but they are seriously mistaken. How long before you are able to earn enough money to cover the costs of your tuition fees?

Money aside, if you have a strong passion for animals and money is not much of an issue, then go ahead.

I’ve met an amazing vet in Shanghai while interning at a vet hospital. She loves animals and she devotes herself to treating and caring for them. I can say for sure that she is definitely not in it for the money. I have never seen a more dedicated and passionate vet than her. If you are like her, then in my book pursuing a vet degree is definitely worth it.

Word of advice
Be prepared for the journey if you intend to embark on it. Be completely in the know of the vet industry, because like many others, I entered TP’s vet tech misinformed. If I had known earlier, I might have gone by the Junior College route and obtain A Level qualifications instead. From there, I would have had more options to further my studies in various fields instead of being stuck as I am now.

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