Saturday Jul 30, 2022

Episode 11: Future Veterinarian Eliza Burbank’s Mock Interview

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to PET | TAO FM, the PET | TAO Holistic Pet Products podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Marc Smith, 20 year practicing veterinarian and co-creator of PET | TAO Holistic Pet Products, and today is actually the second time that I've had a student on my podcast, and I want to introduce you to Eliza Burbank. Eliza, tell everybody hello.

Eliza:

 Hi, everybody.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Eliza, Let me back up. I like and I've taken a real interest in mentoring young people, just like Eliza, and Eliza, you know I've done this a lot, okay? That's why I want to have you on our show, so that you can tell people about your mentor experience with me, but also so people can get to learn about you. Correct me if I'm wrong, but on January 7th, you've got a pretty big date. Can you tell everybody about it?

Eliza:

 Yes. I'm getting interviewed to go to veterinary school, which has been my dream for the last three years.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 That is awesome, and congratulations. Eliza is a rockstar. I remember telling your mommy and daddy, your mommy came in there last year and I said… I can't remember your mom's name. What's her name?

Eliza:

 Sally.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 I said, "Sally, your daughter kicks butt and she's a rockstar." I think your mom was pretty impressed by me telling her. I know that made her feel good as a parent. That makes me feel really good when somebody tells me how nice ...

Eliza:

 Oh, she loves it.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 ... And good and all those things that my kids are. I wanted to tell your mom that and I know that made a big difference to her, Eliza.

Eliza:

 Yes.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Great to have you here. You are a rockstar. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you currently go to school?

Eliza:

 I actually don't go to school right now. I graduated from American University in Washington DC in May and I took a couple classes at MTSU in the fall, but I've already finished with those.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Okay. MTSU is Middle Tennessee State University. Eliza, you would have learned a lot more if you'd have gone to University of Tennessee. Go Vols. I never heard of American University.

Eliza:

 That's where I'm going for vet school.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 I know that, but I'm just saying, go Vols. I'm a big Vol. Why did you think you wanted to be a veterinarian for your career? What got you into it?

Eliza:

 Right. Well, I've always been interested in animals, but my mom was a doctor and so I thought that I didn't want anything to do with medicine because I saw how stressed she was all the time, so I never even considered veterinary medicine until my sophomore year of college. At the very end, I started volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center and there were vets that worked there, and that was the first time I saw that vets could work not just in a private practice, but they could work for the government or work for organizations, like this one that I was working at.

 Working with them is what made me start to consider it, and the more I worked there, and then I came for a summer with you, the more I was doing all this stuff, the more I realized, "Wow, this is actually what I want to do and it's not at all like what human doctors do."

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Right, right. It's unique about what veterinarians really do, and I think a lot of people don't really understand the important role that we and one day you will play in animal health, but also in human health. It's a pretty big deal, and since I've been doing research on my podcast to try to talk about interesting topics, even I've learned more about what veterinarians mean to pets, to people, to public health and all those things. It's pretty impressive. It's pretty impressive. I'm sure you've learned that too, as well. Do you feel like you're prepared to go to this next level, to go to school? All the people in your class are going to be A students, right?

Eliza:

 Right.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Are you prepared to do that?

Eliza:

 I think so. I'm a very hard worker, but obviously everybody that gets into vet school is a hard worker. I think the thing that sets me apart is that I'm very efficient.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 You are efficient.

Eliza:

 I do not take ...

Marc Smith, DVM:

 You learned fast in my office. I remember that.

Eliza:

 Mm-hmm (affirmative). It takes me about 10 minutes to do what takes the average person 30 minutes.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 I said that. Did I write you a recommendation to vet school?

Eliza:

 You did, yes.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Was it good?

Eliza:

 I never got to see it.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 I told you you could read it before I sent it.

Eliza:

 I had to sign a thing saying I wouldn't.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Okay. Well, anyway, I told them that you were efficient and that you could really get things done, and when you worked in my office, I knew that about you.

Eliza:

 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marc Smith, DVM:

 I knew that you were a problem solver and you could execute things and you could do it confidently and quickly and efficiently and that's a big deal. That's a big deal to being a veterinarian. You're going on to vet school. You're going to get in probably.

Eliza:

 We'll see. Fingers crossed.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Unless you botch the interview, and this is practice for the interview, okay? You're going to go on to vet school and you're going to be successful in what you do, but is there anything that I did or is there any advice you could give me during my mentorship, or when I mentored you, during that time, is there any advice you could give me to be better?

Eliza:

 To give you to be better?

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Yes.

Eliza:

 Oh.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 I'm all about getting better.

Eliza:

 I thought you were going to ask me to tell them what you taught me. Let me think.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Do that first, then. Say that first.

Eliza:

 Well, he always taught me communication.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 I did.

Eliza:

 Communication was the biggest thing that he pounded into me, that the majority of your job was not even necessarily diagnosing animals, but communicating with the owner about what was going on and communicating their options.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 There's three types of communication. Can you tell me what they are, in veterinary medicine?

Eliza:

 Oh, dear. You've told me this. Let's see, verbal.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Verbal.

Eliza:

 Body language.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Yes.

Eliza:

 Written.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Simple, straightforward. Yes. That's great. I'm glad you remembered that. If you remember that for the next 10 years of life, you'll be successful. I can tell you that, at whatever you do. That was the biggest thing you learned from me.

Eliza:

 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marc Smith, DVM:

 What is something that you could tell me that I can improve upon? Remember we talked about politics, okay? I think you got pissed off at me all the time.

Eliza:

 A couple times, yes.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Yes, but that's okay.

Eliza:

 Maybe don't talk about politics with your customers.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 We can agree to disagree. Yes, I don't talk about politics or religion with my customers, but what is one thing that you can tell me that I can do to be more impactful on people that I'm mentoring? Let's face it, Eliza, some people may call me abrasive, some people may call me intense. I'm really loving and compassionate and all that stuff.

Eliza:

 Of course.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 But, some people, that makes them nervous.

Eliza:

 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marc Smith, DVM:

 What is something I can do? I'm not sure I can change that about my personality, but I'm sure there's things that I can take from you so that I can improve.

Eliza:

 You could slouch a little bit so you're not quite so tall.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Okay, I can slouch, but what's something you can tell me to improve on? You've got to tell me something.

Eliza:

 Oh, I don't know. This is putting me on the spot.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Good. That's what you need. I'm talking about in my mentorship.

Eliza:

 In your mentorship.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Yes, not in the veterinary medicine.

Eliza:

 Well, I really liked when I first came in, you had me write a couple mini essays. I don't know that I liked it at the time, but it was helpful when I was going through to apply. I think you could do some more of that stuff to help them for the application itself, not just showing them ...

Marc Smith, DVM:

 That irritated you, and the reason why it irritated you is because you had to do some thinking and some work, right?

Eliza:

 Mm-hmm (affirmative). I didn't like it.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 I know you didn't, but lots of times, things you don't like are good for you.

Eliza:

 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Those are things you need to learn, because I've looked back on my life, and a lot of things my dad made me do or my mom made me do, I didn't like, but now I realize they're good for me, and so that's what I was trying to do with you. Actually, I've had people quit and never show up when I told them, "Look, this is what you need to do. You need to write down why you want to become a vet. Is it because you like pets? Well, everybody likes pets. Put something unique, something original."

Eliza:

 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marc Smith, DVM:

 I want to improve as a mentor. I want to be good for young people like you who are trying to search out and decide what you want to do with your life, because that's a big decision, right? I feel like I'm improving at that as time goes on. What do you envision yourself doing after you become a vet and you have a successful practice or whatever you choose, what do you envision yourself doing to give back or to help young people who are interested in veterinary medicine?

Eliza:

 Right. Well, it depends on if I end up doing what I want to do. Right now I want to be either a zoo vet or a wildlife vet, and I know that the wildlife vets that I worked with at City Wildlife made a huge impact on me, not just in deciding to become a vet, but in applying for vet school in the first place and in coaching me through writing my essays, sort of like you did. If I become a wildlife vet, I think even just working with the volunteers that come into the wildlife place and including them on the things that they got to do instead of just going off and having the veterinary things to be separate and having the volunteers ...

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Making them feel a part of the team.

Eliza:

 Yes, bringing them in on it and saying, "You can be a part of this, too." I think a lot of times in some of the other wildlife places I've volunteered at, the vets or the staff members don't have time to teach the volunteers new things.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Or they don't take the time, right?

Eliza:

 Mm-hmm (affirmative), and I would want to take the time and make sure everybody felt included, because it makes a big difference. That's why I decided to be a vet.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Right. Well, cool.

Eliza:

 Yes.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 You said wildlife. Why do you want to get into wildlife?

Eliza:

 I'm very passionate about conservation.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Okay.

Eliza:

 I went to school actually for environmental sustainability and then later decided I wanted to do vet school, but that's where I came into vet school from was from that standpoint, so working with wildlife, either native wildlife or exotic wildlife if I work at a zoo I think is a really good way to try to promote conservation and save a lot of the animals that are starting to go extinct.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Earlier, I've got a couple podcasts on, I'm sure it really irritates you, on this traditional Chinese medicine and how traditional Chinese medicine uses some of these exotic animals for their body parts and how they're killed lots of times by poachers, the rhinos and the horns. I know you're familiar with that.

Eliza:

 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Those are big deals, and unfortunately they're probably not going to stop. Hopefully people will wake up and understand that there's different ways to honor that system of medicine and it doesn't have to be so barbaric and so maybe ill-founded. There's other ways to achieve those things outside of harvesting these potentially extinct animals.

Eliza:

 Right. Well, that's where your communication things comes in is teaching people what works and what doesn't, safe ways of doing things, humane ways of doing things. There's a lot of stuff where people are just ignorant and they don't realize that what they're doing is wrong, and that's our job as vets is to teach them.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 And to help them understand that maybe there's two ways to skin a cat. You ever heard that one?

Eliza:

 Yes.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 Yes. Don't forget that, okay? All right, so Eliza, I've enjoyed having you on the show. Let me explain one more time to our listeners is that in my practice, I get calls each and every day from young people like Eliza, from elementary school kids to professional students, PhD students, veterinarians who want to come to my practice and see what I did, and I open my arms to those people, for only the reason that I feel like I need to be a good mentor and a good advisor and I need to give these kids credible advice so that they can make the right decision about whether or not to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. That's important to me. One day when you become Miss Wildlife Veterinarian, you will feel the same way. Eliza, thank you for being on.

Eliza:

 Thanks for having me.

Marc Smith, DVM:

 You're a rockstar. Good luck. You are. I mean that. Good luck with getting into vet school. You deserve every accolade that comes your way, I promise you.

Eliza:

 Thank you.

Marc Smith, DVM:

Ladies and gentlemen, if you liked what we talked about today and you enjoyed the interview with Eliza, there are other ones on the PET | TAO Podcast and if you would be kind enough to give us a rating on iTunes, I would appreciate it. Until next time, thank you very much, and we will see you soon.

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