Overcoming hurdles to land a second dream career as a vet

I’m a fourth year student at the Royal Veterinary College and am spending two weeks seeing practice at Alnorthumbria Vets.

Saturday, 3rd August 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 3rd August 2019, 5:00 pm
David Murphy helps elephant during a voluntary placement overseas.

My story starts as any other – childhood dreams of being a vet, anxiously sitting A-levels, but instead of heading to vet school, I studied philosophy, tried teaching abroad and started an IT company, which I ran for more than 15 years.

The work was enjoyable, but I didn’t feel that I was making much of a difference.

I started thinking about my childhood dreams of being a vet and whether it was possible to change career in my 30s. Friends and family were encouraging, but I had doubts if vet schools would even invite me for interview, let alone give me a place.

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In 2013 I left the company, spent a year in Romania volunteering in an emergency vet clinic and started work on my vet school application.

All was going smoothly until I learned that my application would be rejected as my A-levels had expired – apparently they have a 10-year shelf life.

So it was back to square one. I had to re-sit my A-levels (after a gap of nearly 20 years) and submit my application all over again.

I spent the next year studying for months on end – the worst year of my life, but definitely worth it. I got the grades and finally got a place at vet school.

Switching career late in life does come with its challenges, but I don’t regret it for one minute, and I can’t wait to start practising as a second career vet.