Letter to dvm360: Living the vet school dream means taking responsibility for choices

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Letter to dvm360: Living the vet school dream means taking responsibility for choices

One reader says it’s not his job to bail out a young veterinarian who makes poor financial decisions.
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Jul 25, 2017

Student debt has become a regular feature of our professional publications and has risen to a level of concern for many in our profession. This is clearly a multifaceted issue influenced by escalating costs, technological advances, declining state support and, not least, poorly thought out personal choices.

In his June 2017 commentary, “What $300,000 in student debt does to the vet school dream,” Justin Sahs asks us to share any wisdom that will help make his dreams a reality. The reality is that people need to take ownership, personal responsibility and accountability for their decisions and not pursue a dream expecting others at some future time to bail them out of those ill-advised actions.

With a degree in biology and chemistry one could secure a position in medicine, technology, or some other industry making multiple times the wages Sahs earned the last three years as a “veterinary nurse,” allowing him to save more money to pursue his dreams. Also, according to a publication from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), Sahs chose to attend an institution with one of the highest levels of out-of-state tuition. He could have spent his three years in a higher-paying job and establishing residency in a state with a veterinary school, bringing the total costs down to a manageable future.

Pursuing your dream at any cost is no better a decision than purchasing a car or house you cannot afford and thinking your fellow taxpayers should help you out. Not frequently discussed is the simple economics of these decisions for the future. As long as there are those willing to borrow money disproportionate to their income potential, universities will continue to escalate the costs. It’s Economics 101.

Robert M. Mason Jr., DVM
Kokomo, Indiana