Purdue Student Features
Jamie Glick, AAS
Hometown: Cary, Illinois
Why did you choose the Purdue Veterinary Technology Distance Learning (VTDL) program?
I viewed course lists from several distance learning programs that were AVMA accredited and felt that Purdue's program offered the most detailed and organized course plan. I also was particularly interested in the help that Purdue's program offered on accomplishing mentorships that would otherwise be difficult for me to complete. For example, the large animal and lab animal workshops provided me with the opportunity to complete the necessary courses by getting the hands on experience that I would have struggled to find at the small animal general practice where I work. I was interested in getting a thorough education and was confident that a school with as strong of an academic reputation as Purdue would be able to provide me with that experience.
What was it like when you first joined the VTDL?
After earning my Bachelor's in Science with a major in Animal Science and minor in Chemistry from the University of Illinois, I anticipated the distance program to be fairly straight forward and just a matter of completing more courses before I earned another degree. I quickly learned that completing online courses required a completely different skill set and mentality. I had to become efficient in my time management and be very diligent with my coursework. I would not say I anticipated the program to be easy, but it brought on new challenges for me as a student that I was not anticipating.
What's it like to take a course?
Taking a VTDL course offers the opportunity to get an amazing education and develop important skills while continuing on with other aspects of your life. It is a truly unique program. Each course is very specific to the topic it covers, which allows you to focus in on important areas of veterinary technology. The program progresses appropriately and courses can be taken in sequential order to help build on your knowledge. With each course you must be prepared to follow the class schedule and complete assignments, projects, exams, etc. by established due dates.
What was your favorite course?
I think that one of my favorite experiences with the VTDL program was going to campus for the large animal and lab animal workshops. I was able to get the hands-on experience I needed to complete multiple courses. The days were long and we covered a lot of material, but it was one of my favorite academic experiences. It was also amazing to have the opportunity to see Purdue and its facilities. My favorite part of attending the workshops was the opportunity to meet the instructors. The staff was supportive of the students and it gave me a refreshing boost to push myself in the homestretch of my VTDL career. I was thrilled to meet the teachers and advisers that I had been working with online. It was obvious how passionate the staff was about teaching students. It was also motivating to meet other students and hear about their journeys through the VTDL program. Traveling to campus for the workshops not only helped me meet the course requirements, but it provided me with memorable experiences that I will never forget.
I enjoyed in the Understanding Animal Disease course. This course was challenging and covered a great deal of information. This comprehensive course made me reflect back on the program and apply all the detailed information I had learned in previous courses. It brought all of those small details together and presented information that was applicable in day to day practice.
Did the program's faculty and staff help you?
The faculty and staff of the VTDL program are amazing! I cannot speak highly enough of them. It has amazed me from day one that the teachers and advisers have treated me like I was part of an on campus program. They have known exactly who I am through every step of the process. They are so supportive and patient. The teachers respond quickly to my emails and help clarify any areas where I may be struggling. The advisers have always known exactly where I am at with my course completion and have motivated me and guided me in my coursework. I am truly amazed and moved by the efforts that the entire staff puts in to making me feel valued and encouraging me to perform my best throughout the duration of my academic career.
What challenges did you face as a VTDL student and how did you get through them?
As a VTDL student I think the biggest challenge is balancing a rigorous class schedule with my personal and professional life. It is completely different being an online student than being a full-time student in a campus setting. It is up to me to complete my assignments and exams by their due dates. I don't have a scheduled lecture time for each class each day, and I don't have someone reminding me at class of upcoming due dates. I work full time at an animal hospital where my hours consist of long days that often leave me very tired. I also value my time with friends and family and have to put forth effort to maintain relationships outside of my schooling. Managing my time and learning how to study more effectively have been key to my success in the VTDL program. At the start of each semester, I organize all of my syllabi and map my study plans on a calendar. This helps me focus on each class and ensures that I do not miss due dates. I also avoid doing school work on weekends so that I can designate that time for friends and family, as well as for myself. Looking back over the last five years I am amazed at the things I have accomplished in my life and academically. I got a full time job, enrolled in the VTDL program, moved out of my family's home, got married, and bought my first house with my husband. I feel so proud of the personal, professional, and academic accomplishments I have made!
If you could give one piece of advice to a prospective student, what would it be?
Stay on top of your course work! When taking multiple classes keeping track of all the due dates for assignments, projects, videos, exams, etc. can become overwhelming. While enrolled in an online program the temptation to procrastinate is ALWAYS there, but you will thank yourself in the long run if you take advantage of careful planning and forward motion in your coursework. It is easy to fall behind and you can quickly feel like you are drowning in assignments if you do not chip away at classes little by little. It is best to stay on top of things, and even turn things in early when able, to help ensure your academic success. This program can be intense at times, so you have to focus hard on your work. For me the best strategy has been to plan my study schedule for the semester by marking due dates on a calendar that I reserve just for school. Once all of the due dates have been listed I can go through and mark which days I will spend on which classes. By being extremely strict with my study schedule and planning things out ahead of time I have been able to successfully complete multiple courses in a semester.
What are two things that helped you be successful in your clinical mentorships?
Planning ahead - When I am enrolled in clinical mentorships, I like to look at all of the tasks and projects at the start of the semester and think about what I need to accomplish by certain due dates. I also go over the requirements with my mentorship supervisor to make sure that we are on the same page and that she can help me accomplish the tasks.
The ability to resubmit materials - The program staff is helpful with this process. It's obvious they want to see students succeed. I have been so grateful to have the opportunity to resubmit material on an as needed basis. It allows the teachers to look at my skill set and critique me. If any of my submissions fall short of the requirements, I have been able to resubmit them. It ensures my success in the mentorships. There are a lot of skills that can be learned on-the-job. However, with the method of being trained by co-workers, the appropriate methods can get skewed or even missed. By being evaluated by Purdue's staff and having the chance to resubmit my materials I have fine-tuned my skills. It has been helpful to have someone outside of my practice watch me and offer advice along the way.
How did you find your clinical mentorship?
When I was in high school I worked as a kennel attendant at my family's regular animal hospital. After graduating from the University of Illinois, I returned to the same hospital. A veterinary assistant position opened at the hospital's sister clinic and I began working full time. I talked with the owner of the hospital and other associate veterinarians about beginning a veterinary technician program and enrolled in Purdue's VTDL program a couple of months later. I have worked at the same practice since starting the program and have been able to complete all of my mentorships there, with the exception of the large animal and lab animal mentorships that I completed at Purdue workshops.
Any final pieces of advice?
Purdue's VTDL Program offers a unique educational option. It allows students to achieve a degree and obtain a vast amount of knowledge in veterinary technology while continuing on with their regular life. It is a very detailed program that is run by staff that is supportive and passionate about seeing the students succeed. It has been an exciting journey for me over the last five years, and I cannot wait to see how it impacts the rest of my career and my life. Being a part of Purdue's VTDL Program has been an amazing experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in pursuing a veterinary technology degree from a distance learning perspective!