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Cassie Jensen

Cassie Jensen

University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Student

DVM Candidate 2016

"Get involved in anything that interests you! If you want to join clubs, join them. If you want to do research, join a research lab. Just do something other than go to your classes. This is where I gained not only the experiences that I will remember forever and make me love Purdue so much, but also where I gained the experiences that helped me get into vet school."

What was your major/minor at Purdue and when did you graduate?

I majored in Biology and minored in Spanish. I graduated in May of 2012.

What was your most compelling class and why?

I had a lot of classes I found compelling for different reasons. Genetics was (and still is) one of the most difficult classes I’ve taken so it was really good for me to see how hard I could push myself and how dedicated I could be to learning something. I never missed a lecture and would go to Dr. Chang’s help sessions every week and in the end it paid off! I think that laid the ground work for my dedication and success throughout the rest of my college career.

What drove you to pursue your current career path?

There was a lot of self-reflection and discovery that went into me choosing veterinary school. Ultimately it was the culmination of classes I took, volunteering, and internships I had along with my preferences and future career goals that led me to apply to vet school.

Did you pursue internships/co-ops, research experiences, volunteer, or join student organizations while you attended Purdue?

I had an internship at a zoo in Minnesota for one summer, I volunteered a lot during the summers and some during the school year, and I was involved in a lot of student organizations. These extracurricular activities are what made my experience at Purdue so great and what made me a well-rounded person. I made a lot of friends in these activities and gained a lot of experience working with other people.

 At the University of Minnesota’s vet school, they perform behavioral interviews when they are interviewing applicants. These interviews usually involve questions that go something like “Tell me about a time when you…”. They expect you to have experiences you can draw from and exemplify your ability to succeed in vet school or the job you may be applying for. All of the examples I used to answer these questions came from experiences I had in my extracurricular activities so I can pretty confidently say that without them, I would not have gotten in to vet school. In classes, sometimes you have group projects or you may work with others in labs but those group projects usually don’t provided you with the teamwork experiences that help you grow and improve your ability to work with others.

What were you most afraid of when you were about to graduate? What advice would you give students who may have similar fears?

Going into the next stage after college, which for me was vet school, I was most afraid that I was not prepared or qualified for it. Honestly, I still feel that way a lot but it helps to take a step back and realize that I got into vet school because the admissions committee believed I was ready and capable, and if they believed that, who am I to question them? Also, I took on the motto of “fake it ‘til you make it”. Sometimes that motto may not be the best thing to live by (know your limitations!) but when it comes to things like me feeling like I’m not qualified to be in vet school, I fake the confidence and don’t let others see my self-doubt. And sometimes that fake confidence even turns into real confidence!

Can you think of any special accomplishments you've achieved after college that you might not have been able to do without your college experiences?

I got a job at the small animal hospital associated with my vet school in the Blood Donor Program. Basically I draw units of blood from dogs so the hospital has a supply to use for transfusions for sick patients. I think about eight people applied for the position but there were only three spots. As far as blood draw skills go, I was not qualified (which they said was okay, they would teach us on the job), but what I tried to do was use my other skills to set me apart from the other applicants. Some of the experiences I had at Purdue taught me how to work independently and communicate with others, which conveniently were necessary skills for this job. I highlighted my experience in these areas and wound up landing an awesome job!

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