by Bonnie Wakefield, C'19
During the past two summers, I have been lucky enough to have had two amazing internships. These internships have helped solidify my desire to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, boost my confidence, and focus my determination in reaching this goal. In the summer of 2016, I worked at Deer Valley Farms in Fayetteville, TN, a large Angus cattle farm. Here, I helped breed and manage high quality seed stock cattle. I helped vaccinate, pregnancy check, and perform general management of the herds both on the farm and in the office. Going into this internship, I thought I wanted to have a career in agricultural business or marketing because I was intimidated by the low acceptance rate of veterinary schools. This internship, along with a talk from a very persuasive vet, changed those plans immediately. I rediscovered my passion for animal medicine and was able to gain valuable hands-on experience working with large animals. This reinforced my interest in large animal medicine and helped me to realize that I should never compromise my goals. This past summer I had the privilege of again working with large animals at Fayetteville Animal Clinic in Fayetteville, TN. Additionally, I was also able to extend my school-year internship with All Creatures Veterinary Clinic in Monteagle, TN to their larger clinic located in Manchester, TN. At Fayetteville Animal, I gained knowledge and experience working with cattle, horses, goats, swine, and pretty much any other farm animal you can imagine. Here, I worked largely in the field, either at farms or private homes. I developed relationships with farmers and began to understand their day-to-day livestock concerns. Beyond this, I was welcomed into the farming community. Whether it was being invited to a meal during a work break, or listening to advice from farmers and livestock owners, I felt that I was welcome in this professional field. While working with large animals was a rewarding experience, I worked with small animals like dogs and cats at All Creatures Animal Clinic. Here, I helped with vaccinations, general checkups, surgeries, and other procedures. I again restored my passion for animal medicine and was surrounded by people who pushed and supported me to do my best. If the purpose of an internship is to kindle or rekindle a passion for a career, then my experiences have been successful. Sewanee’s Career and Leadership Development Office supported my career exploration in an invaluable way. Having financial support through an internship stipend made it possible for me to solely focus on making professional connections and learning the ups and downs of my desired career field rather than working a summer job to make ends meet. This allowed me to restore my original enchantment with veterinary medicine and for this reason, I look forward to the next opportunity that Sewanee provides me to chase my dream.
Do you have your own plan for an internship but lack funding? The Career Exploration Internship Fund supports student internships in all fields. Learn more about funding for unpaid internships and apply here.